A New Choice A New Direction

I have struggled with my weight all of my life.  The struggle began long before I was overweight.  In grade school and high school I was not fat, but I felt that I was.  Worst of all, many of the people in my life told me that I was, just reinforced my already out-of-wack self perspective.  When I look back at my childhood pictures, I wonder not only why I felt that way, but why anyone would tell me something that was so patently untrue.

Throughout my teen years, my weight fluctuated between 120-135.  When I went to college, I think I weighed about 130.  When I left college, I weighed 160-180.  By my mid-twenties I was over 200.  

Recently, I weighed in at 298.  Wow.  I have tried losing weight, oh I don’t know…every day of my life?  Yeah, that sounds about right.  Part of me thinks that if I had never been so weight obsessed that I never would have gained as much as I did.  

Now I am beginning to feel some of he negative effects of being obese more than I ever have before.  I have high blood pressure, asthma, food allergies, and back problems.  Walking is difficult, standing in one place is excruciating, and I am very concerned about overall health in general.

I have spent the past two years really struggling to get my weight and health under control, I do not seem to be making much headway.  

November of last year, my sister came to me to tell me about a girl she works with.  This girl experienced extreme weight loss over the course of a year or so.  My sister finally asked her co-worker how she did it.  Her friend was surprisingly open about what she did.  

Apparently, she had something called a lap-band procedure done.  She had a small band placed around part of her stomach and part of her stomach removed.  And she exercised like a madwoman.  My sister wanted me to have this done.  I was wary, but with the health problems I had been having, I was pretty open to nearly any idea.  I talked to this girl and went to her doctor.  

I made the mistake of going to this doctor by myself.  I should have waited until my sister, a friend, or someone else could go with me.  But, I did not wait.  The people at the office were very nice.  But I left there feeling somewhat uncomfortable.  I was excited about the thought of doing something to help with my weight problem, but I did not really connect with the doctors at this office.  I felt as if they were more interested in selling me a particular program, and not so much interested in finding the right solution for me.  I felt as if I was being pushed into choosing the most expensive, most invasive, least healthy procedure they offered.

Now, I know several people who have either had a gastric by-pass or a lap band procedure done.  All of them are very happy they made the decision and say that they have no regrets.  One of the women even tried gently nudging me in that direction a few years ago, but I was not ready to consider it as an option.

After leaving that first office, I went to my primary care doctor.  I set up an appointment with her specifically to discuss my options.  She made a couple of recommendations of doctors nearby that I could talk to.  I still had concerns thought.  You see, they were connected to the hospital in my neighborhood.  I had a bad experience there recently and really did not want to go back there for any reason, especially an invasive, life changing surgery.  I’m sure the doctors she recommended were just fine, but I was wary.

Over the next few days, I thought about my options  I was sitting in my bosses office one day when a girl from a different department walked into his office and sat next to me.  I had been thinking of her recently because I knew she had the gastric by-pass surgery.  She now worked from home and came into the office very rarely, so I hadn’t had a chance to talk to her.

I don’t know how she felt inside, but I know that outside, she looked great.  She had lost a lot of weight, which was part of it.  But honestly, now she had a happy glow about her.  So, when she sat down, I stopped what I was saying to my boss and turned to her and said, “I’m glad you’re here.  I need to talk to you.  It’s kind of personal, so feel free to tell me to shut up if you don’t want to talk about it.”

Obviously, she knew what I was talking about right away with that kind of an intro and she just looked at me and said, “Ask me anything.  Nothing’s personal anymore.”

So, I told her everything I had been through recently and my thoughts and reservations and I asked what she had done.  She told me what procedure she had done, who was her doctor, and how she felt.  She gave me the name and number of her doctor and told me that I must go see him.  She loves him and everyone in his office.  She said they are the nicest people and absolutely changed her life.  She had no regrets and would do it again.  She was also honest about some of the problems she had experienced after the surgery and how she managed.

I went to see her doctor and my experience was exactly as she described hers.  They were very friendly and basically held my hand through all of the options and helped me pick what they feel would be the best procedure.  Of course, its the procedure this particular doctor specializes in, but I didn’t feel the hard-sell like I did at the other office.  But I also feel as if I would have chosen this procedure over any other because it negated many of the concerns I have about gastric by-pass surgery.  It is invasive, but less drastic than several of the other procedures I have looked at and, best of all, if I have serious complications, it is reversible.  

So, I have come to a decision.  I decided to have the gastric by-pass procedure done.  This was not an easy choice.  Nor is it an easy process.  What I have been going through is nothing like I thought it would be.  You don’t just meet with the doctor one week and prep for surgery the next. There are many steps and it is rather complicated.

I have decided to blog about my experience to help me explore some of the feelings I am having and to basically discuss the process I am going through.  I have not had the surgery yet, and probably won’t until closer to the end of the year.  In the mean time, I have a lot of preparation that I did not expect to have to do.  It is going to be a long journey from where I am now to surgery, weight-loss, and good health.  I hope you will join me.


4 responses to “A New Choice A New Direction

  1. Well… I’m a bit late to the party but… wow! I am so proud of you for being so open and honest about your feelings and making a decision that is right for you. If you’ve read my post about body image issues, then you know I’ve struggled with my body perception… so I can understand where you’re coming from.

    Finding the right doctor, and right procedure is tough, and I’m so glad you were able to find someone that makes you feel comfortable and welcome.

    I’ve had a friend who had a similar surgery, and her transformation was incredible. I can’t wait to watch you on your journey, and feel free to reach out any time.

    I’m here for you. 😉

  2. Colleen, I’m also late to the party, but I’m moved by the thoughtfulness and honesty you’ve put into these posts. Your decision-making seems so wise and thorough, and you’ve been recording it so well. Let me know if you need anything – I’m close by!

    • I really appreciate it! I’m doing good right now. After the surgery, I will spend probably a month at my sister’s place where I will her her whole family there and my brother and his wife nearby. I’m sure I will need help eventually though!

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