My Decision Stages to Weight Loss Surgery

Denial My to do list for the last 34 years has started off with “Lose Weight”. In November 2007 my doctor suggested that I have weight loss surgery. At the time I weighed 321 pounds. I resisted, I thought WLS was the easy way out, and reserved for a last resort. I wasn’t desperate enough to do that. Yet. I felt so horrible because I just didn’t have the will power to stick to a diet. Maybe if I could just find the right diet or the right supplement all would be well.

Avoidance I joined Weight Watchers. This was actually great for me, because of the weekly accountability.  It took me a long time to learn to track my points and add in some light exercise.

Guilt So for a year I lost the same 20 pounds, over and over again. Looking back I can see that I just wasn’t consistent in anything I did. Despite the hysterectomy I had in 2006 that cured my Polycystic Ovarian Sydrome and my endometriosis I still suffered from what I now call “head hunger”. I felt like I was always starving and the minute I said something was off limits, that’s what I couldn’t live without. I had horrible habits and didn’t really exercise as much as I thought I did.

Depression I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. In fall of 2007 I went into a deep depression. I got laid off from my job. I wasn’t eating right, exercising or taking care of myself in any way at all. I lied to myself a lot and took Zoloft and Prozac.

Curiousity I started to look at articles on the internet about weight loss surgery. Two people close to me had it and I watched what they went through after lap band surgery. One did well, one did not. I didn’t like the odds, so I started researching gastric bypass. I talked to people who had had it. I read. I researched. I did the math and figured out that if I could 70% of my excess fat, which is average, I could get within 50 pounds of my goal weight.

Acceptance I booked an appointment with Dr. Charles (Rick) Finley at the Emory University Hospital Midtown Atlanta for January 6, 2008.  I thought, maybe I’m not so bad and I won’t qualify or it won’t be right for me. If not, I’ll move on and try something else. At the time, I weighed 306 pounds, wore a size 3x/28 and had a BMI over 40. I EASILY qualified for weight loss surgery. And although Dr. Finley agreed that lap band was not a good option for me, he recommended the vertical sleeve, which appealed to me because it had less risk of long term vitamin deficiencies.

Procrastination So months passed. I continued with Weight Watchers. I bought some sneakers and walking shoes and got fitted for orthopedics. I bought compression stockings because I was diabetic and having swelling in my legs even after walking for a few minutes. I started attending weight loss classes with the nutritionist at my doctor’s office. I gained and lost. Gained and lost. But mostly lost.

Shock Then I fell down in Singapore and made the life changing decision to go forward with the insurance approval and have the surgery.

Bargaining Then my husband told me that he wanted to quit his job and home school our son. Oh God! This was it – without his health care insurance, I wouldn’t be able to have the surgery. So we made a deal: get the cars and credit cards paid off, save some cash for a cushion and get me through my surgery, then quit the job.

Hope I had my surgery on August 26, 2009.

Success I make progress most days and slide some. If I look at my overall progress, it has been astonishing. Today I weigh 187 pounds and wear a size 14 and my BMI is 31. I’m not at goal, but I’m starting to realize that my goals aren’t about my weight anymore. They are about living my life. So that’s why I’m writing this blog. To share my story, but to also help me answer the question: What’s on my life’s to do list now?

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