Saturday, August 23, 2008

A retrospective look back at all the reasons I am glad I had my WLS...

** Being that I am now just over 4 years post-op from my Open RNY, I can look back and put a lot of things into perspective on the reasons of why I did take the "drastic measure" of having WLS. I know I definitely didn't take an easy way out ((as so many people have tried to say))... It's never been a quick fix, it's been a complete lifestyle change and it continues to be so each and every day. Here are just a few of "highlights" ((LoL)) of the last 4 years... some good, some bad... each a lesson learned. Everything I've been through can be an inspiration to someone who wishes to go on the same journey. **

  • I remember the first time I was referred to as "obese"... I was so insulted! I thought it was the biggest slap in the face ever. At the time, I was 5'6 1/2" and about 252 lbs. It was noted in my medical chart that I was obese. That was about 2 1/2 to 3 years prior to my WLS and that is the point where my "dieting" got more aggressive than ever and I began looking into alternatives to weight loss. I stumbled across gastric bypass surgery one night on the internet, but the thought of "stapling my stomach" scared the crap out of me. Lord knows, that wouldn't be the last time I thought about it.
  • In retrospect, I love Dr. Neely. He was the PCP I had in 2004 who finally told me that something had to be done about my weight. I had a laundry list of medical problems, not to mention the self-esteem from hell. I was infertile. I just had issues beyond belief and I was unhappy with life. I looked at him and said what do you suggest. He said gastric bypass surgery... I said I've thought about it on and off for years so what do I have to lose. He sent me to support group, which ironically was being held that day, so I could hear stories, and told me to come back to his office at 1PM to tell him yes or no. I was so impressed with the stories and they were so real and truthful, that I came back at 1 and told him to put in the referral. I was 297 lbs at this time. He put in the referral and, within a week, Tricare called me to set up an appointment with Dr. Kenneth Warnock in Wichita Falls, Texas. Little did I know, I was being led to an angel.
  • Now Dr Warnock and I have not always seen eye to eye, but he saw someone who was determined. It didn't take long for everything to get submitted for me to have my WLS on August 3, 2004. I weighed 275 lbs on the day of surgery.
  • From the moment I got home from the hospital, I knew my life had changed. I had friends that still wanted to go to restaurants. I remember walking into McDonald's with my ex-husband about 2 weeks post-op and literally having to walk right out because the smell made me sick. I remember my first attempt at Chinese food about 5 weeks post-op. I ate about 5 bites of different meats and I was so full I could have burst. I remember how I was scared of bread and, at 5 mos out, Dr Warnock told me I could eat it. I was still afraid I would get it stuck. To this day, I'm careful with it, but I eat it in small quantities. I see how every surgeon/nutritionist is different in telling patients no bread/pasta/rice ever. I can eat all of those and have been able to for a while... I just don't eat large quantities of them. The way the different surgeons/nutritionists do things has peaked my interest even more on going into the field of nutrition to work with obese and WLS patients. I want to help people monitor their "diets". I feel that I have maintained my weight for 3 1/2 years and through 2 pregnancies... I am living proof that it can be done.
  • I still remember my friends helping me go shopping the first time I REALLY went shopping after my WLS. They were trying to get me to break out of my "plus size" comfort zone and I was so scared, I guess you could say. I kept trying to buy sizes that were too big for me. Now, it's such a completely opposite ball game, let me tell you. Shopping is my sport of choice and most of my friends don't want to go with me because they will be exhausted by the end of the day lol. When I was at my highest weight, I was a 26/28... Surgery day, I wore a 24. Today, I am 4/6 ((5/7 in juniors))/medium in shirts. My maternity clothes are all small/medium. It's a huge difference, let me tell you and I have turned into a total fashionista! I don't know if I want to get any smaller ((say a size 2)), but I am very happy where I am.
  • Before my WLS, I had Type 2 Diabetes ((Obesity related)), GERD, high blood pressure, weight-bearing joint arthritis, asthma ((still have that)), depression ((still have that, as well, but much more controlled)), sleep apnea, PCOS ((in remission)) and infertility ((obviously gone as I am about to have baby #2)), and hypothyroidism ((now I have the opposite problem with an overactive thyroid)). I took so many pills, hell, I lost count. I hardly take anything now... so many things have changed and I am so much healthier! I had tried every "diet" and weight loss drug known to man... prescription, doctor supervised, and over the counter. I had been on some kind of "diet" since I was 12 years old.
  • The biggest change of all has been my self-confidence level. It has been phenominal! I learned that I no longer had to put up with abusive relationships and I could stand on my own 2 feet. I learned that I was more than just the "fat friend" and I learned who my real friends were and got rid of those who were not my friends. It's been a lot of changing for me... Some people have been supportive, others haven't been, but that's on them. I went through divorce post-WLS. I have since remarried. I am extremely happy now... I have my beautiful daughter and I have a son who will be here very soon. I know that I would not have my babies had I not lost the weight.
  • I know that my journey is not over... I am only 4 years into it. I have the rest of my life to maintain my weight and keep up my nutrition and exercise. I intend to stay a success story forever and always be an inspiration for others, especially my children... They are most important and I never want to set a bad example for them!

To anyone out there thinking about WLS, I say you should go for it~ It's been life changing for me, as you can see! If you are trying to lose the weight on your own and want support in doing that, I am here for you as well on that. I want to help anyone on any type of weight loss journey... nutrition is important to me, as you can tell.