Jun 11, 2014
I'm a bit late with this but wanted to make sure I document where I'm at today because it's a bit different from my last blog that was just one month ago. I had the VSG on May 24, 2013, in Omaha, NE with Dr. Brad Winterstein at Methodist Hospital. What's funny is that 6 months ago I changed jobs and now I actually work for the same health care system that performed my surgery :-)
Thinking back over the enormity of all the changes in the last 12 months overwhelms me a bit. Here's some of them:
- I've gone from weighing 218 lbs. the day of surgery to weighing 132.2 lbs. this morning.
- I was wearing a size 20 back then and now wear a size 8 and could probably get into a size 6.
- I was immediately removed from all my diabetes medication post-op. My last A1c was 5.4; my blood pressure is perfect; my iron level has gone up to normal, which allowed me to donate blood for the first time in over 10 years.
- I don't spill over the seats at the movies or theaters; I can cross my legs; I fit into any and all restaurant booths
- I can sit down and get up from the floor without holding onto something
- I am working out and pushing my body to get more fit
- I can run up stairs without getting winded and can chase my nephews and niece around without getting tired
- I never have to shop in a plus size store again; clothes shopping is ENJOYABLE!
- People call me "skinny" and tell me how healthy and fit I look
- I'm smaller than both my adult daughters
- Airplane travel is no longer torturous
- I am brave enough to wear a swimsuit for the first time in decades!
- I don't snore anymore and have much better sleep
- I have come out of the "closet" about my surgery and can speak with pride and honesty about my journey to WLS and my struggles since getting surgery
That's just a sampling and the list grows every day. Perhaps the biggest NSV is that my husband saw my transformation and finally started believing that this surgery thing could work. He got VSG two months ago today - so we are a two sleeve family. He's lost almost 40 lbs. in those two months and is off his b/p meds and no longer needs his CPAP machine.
I'm still working on reducing my overall body fat and will go to my local college next week for another round of underwater body fat testing. I am completing a 10-week intensive exercise program this week and will be interested to see the results. I haven't lost much weight in these 10 weeks, in fact I actually went up at the 5-week mark and have come back down. But then again, I didn't need to lose a lot. My doctor is thrilled with where I'm at now. Personally, I'd like to get to 125 and then stay in the 125-129 range, but we'll see. If I never lose another pound I am thrilled with my results! I've also decided to sign up for a one year program with this gym I'm going to - I really want to see how much I can change my body in the next year by really working hard.
So those are a lot of positive but there are always negatives too, right? And I would be sugar-coating things (ha! ironic term) if I didn't talk about the struggles and difficulties. Here they are:
- gastric reflux and excess acid issues - STILL a problem and STILL taking medication. Trying to wean off it now.
- hair loss - ugh! My hair guy says I've lost at least half my hair and I didn't have much to start with :-( For me it was a multitude of factors including genetics, my age, surgery, etc. My doctor has me on a medication now to help slow down the loss and I'm using Rogaine. The hair guy thinks it's starting to come back a bit - I guess only time will tell how much I can regrow.
- my sugar addiction is still alive and well and I battle it almost every single day. I continue to go to Overeaters Anonymous because it provides me some great tools for dealing with this crazy addiction that "normal" people just don't understand. Everyone looks at me and sees a thin woman and thinks nothing of me eating a cookie or piece of cake. But that one bite or piece of something is ALWAYS going to turn into more...and more...and more. I could have easily been at 125 lbs. if I hadn't messed around with trying to be "normal" and eat in "moderation" like normal people do these last 6 months. I can't...ever...end of story.
- excess skin and face issues: well, we knew there would be extra skin, right? I just didn't realize how much it would bother me. And at my age I really can't afford to spend the amount that I would on a new car and put myself in deep debt for all the surgeries I think I need (upper body lift, lower body lift, necklift). So I'm just going to focus on the neck for now because that's the part I see every day. Now that I feel healthier and younger I don't like looking older and tired, which is what happens when you're 52 and lose a lot of weight!
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, even with the reflux and hair issues. I truly believe I've extended my life by 10 years by dropping the pounds and getting rid of my co-morbidities. I've certainly increased my enjoyment of life. I'm much more willing to try new things and put myself out there than I was a year ago. Sometimes it makes me sad to think of how much I've missed through the isolating I did as an obese person. But I look forward to a lot more years of living a healthy, vibrant life; living the life I was meant to have.