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Sunday, May 31, 2020

It is a beautiful, hot and sunny day here is Hawaii Nei. I am sitting here, savoring what will be my last cup of coffee for a while, writing my thoughts, feelings, and anxieties down.

Bariatric Surgery. It comes in different procedures, and there are varying results. Some people look at it as a cop-out, some as a last hope. It is a very personal choice, and one that should not be made without looking at all the options. I have been “curvy” or “thick” or “pleasantly plump” for most of my adult life. I think the lowest weight I achieved was 145 lbs. in my early 20’s, before I became pregnant with my second son. I gained 50 lbs. with my first pregnancy, and almost 60 lbs. my second. It was a lot harder to lose the weight after number two. I found Spark people in 2008, while I was participating in a weight loss challenge at work, one of those “chip in $$ and the winner takes all” things. I started cycling regularly, following SP meal plans, or at least modifying them, and sticking to the calorie range. I lost about 25 lbs. in 12 weeks and took the prize. I was feeling good, but I eventually stopped Sparking. I started up again, and it was an off and on journey. My 40’s were a trying time. I was going through perimenopause, I changed professions and eventually work locations, and I became the caretaker for my dad as his health declined. Not physically, but managing his medications, arranging his medical appointments, and transportation. (we did not own a vehicle until 2016). I struggled, and SP was no longer helping. I made an appointment with the Queen’s Comprehensive Weight Management Program in 2018, not for surgical intervention, but for guidance. I had my Resting Metabolic Rate analyzed (I highly recommend anyone who is struggling take this step. SP is wonderful, but their calorie ranges are based on an average and does not work for everyone. See my blog “I DECIDED I NEEDED HELP” for details). I initially saw some progress, about 20 lbs. down, but I started to struggle once again as I went into full menopause. I had a sleep study done, because I was complaining of not feeling like I was getting enough rest, and I do have sleep apnea. A c-pap machine has helped, and I was trying to increase my activity level when my knee went out. I wanted to cry. I felt like as soon as I was making some progress, another thing was knocking me back. I really could not eat any less, and even riding my bike was just too painful. I have arthritis in both of my knees, and I had torn the meniscus in the right knee. It took months before I could have it surgically taken care of, because insurance makes you try conservative treatments first. In the meantime, my weight slowly crept up, making the situation worse. I get the meniscus taken care of, then I tear my MCL. That is not treated surgically, but with external support (bracing), anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. I had an appointment with my bariatric doctor right after the MCL injury, and I broke down crying. My 50th birthday was approaching, and I was the heaviest weight I had ever been in my life. He asked me if I would consider a surgical approach. I said that I did not think that I was heavy enough for it to be covered by my insurance. Because I have sleep apnea and the ongoing knee issues affecting my mobility, I am considered a candidate. For me, it was my last hope.

I will present myself to the surgical center at 5 am tomorrow morning. I am nervous, because it is a procedure that is done under general anesthesia, and there are inherent risks. I am nervous, because I am about to alter the structure and function of a part of my anatomy. I am anxious, because I will have to stay overnight in the hospital, and my family will not be able to come and see me. I am anxious, because I do not handle pain well, and I did have a bad experience with one opiate pain reliver. I am relived, I will have a tool that will finally allow me to reach my weight goals. You heard me, a tool. I know that this will not be a “magic cure” for my obesity, and I will still have to work at maintain a healthy lifestyle. I applaud those of you who have met your goals strictly through diet and exercise. That is so awesome, and I am glad for you. You worked hard and got results. Some of us need more.

So for today, I am going to take my doggo to the beach, play with my cat, and know that I am getting ready for a new phase in my life.

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