Eclectic fatblr/fitblr/mumblr. 41 y.o., happily married, polyamorous momma to 3 spirited children. I am also a Doula, Massage Therapist, and Reiki Practitioner. I have a degree in Psychology, a minor in Sociology and a related field in Women's Studies. I underwent Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass on August 27, 2013 with Dr. Joshua Long at Parker-Adventist Hospital in Colorado. My starting weight was 297, my current weight is 215, and my ultimate goal weight is 147.
I am currently in the process of qualifying for WLS all over again with a second surgeon. I am hugely relieved to be doing this! I feel in every cell of my body that I am on a better path this time, even though I have been warned that I will have doubts on the journey. I do believe that will happen as I have a tendency to overthink everything and second-guess my decisions.
So I have already gone through the entire process to get qualified for weight loss surgery with a different surgeon, all the way up to scheduling the surgery, where I stalled and then took an unexpected medical detour. It took me about six months to jump through every single hoop the first time:
¤ I met with the Physician first, mostly discussed gastric banding, and was told I was a good candidate for banding because I’m a former athlete and I have a good track record of keeping weight off for years (just not taking it off!)
¤ I met with the Nutritionist, who had me record what I ate for two weeks. Then she told me I actually wasn’t eating enough so I was my keeping my metabolism in starvation/ storage mode. She didn’t give me any kind of meal plan other than “Stay within 2,000 calories a day, and quit sugar.”
¤ I met with the Psychologist, was completely and totally honest about my past history (which includes child abuse, drug use and emotional eating), was thoroughly tested, and was deemed to be mentally fit for weight loss surgery.
¤ I attended a five-hour class that covered all three of the procedures that the surgeon performed: gastric banding, gastric bypass or the roux-en-y procedure, and the “new” gastric sleeve. The sleeve gastrectomy was briefly discussed but not covered in any depth.
¤ I had four years worth of my medical records from both my Primary Care Physician and my Rheumatologist faxed to the surgeon’s office. My rheumatologist this kind enough to give me my own copy, free of charge, and I sat and cried my eyes out when I saw a lot of the notes about my health issues including the diagnoses of Metabolic Syndrome and Morbid Obesity (although I realize now that these diagnoses were favors from my physicians that would help me to qualify for weight loss surgery being covered by my insurance).
AND THEN… I had a ” concerning” pap smear, an endometrial biopsy, an abdominal ultrasound, *two* vaginal ultrasounds, a hysteroscopy, an endometrial biopsy, and eventually endometrial ablation. There was at least a month where I was terrified that I had uterine cancer. The biopsy had showed pre-cancer, or cancer “in situ” which means that the conditions are right (or wrong, really) for cancer to develop. When the Obstetrician went in to remove what she thought was a tumor the size of her thumb, she found several smaller tumors, which she removed. They were all found to be benign or non-cancerous! Unfortunately, the procedure called Novasure (which is the endometrial ablation) was complicated by uterine fibroids, so the surgery was not completely successful, and six months later I am already back to having heavy periods again. The resultant diagnoses are Endometriosis and possible PCOS. All of that to say: my gynecological issues put weight loss surgery on the back burner; and in the meantime, all of the work that I had done to get qualified for weight loss surgery became “out of date”.
When I was told I would have to repeat the class ($150 cash OOP), meet with the Nutritionist again ($50 OOP), meet with a Lifestyle Weight Management Consultant three times, ($90 + $60 x 2 = $210 OOP) AND have the psychological testing redone ($50 OOP), I decided that I was going to check out my other options. As long as I have to start all over again, I thought it might be a good idea to consult with a different Surgeon. In retrospect, this was a very easy decision to make because I did have some concerns and there were red flags that I had kind of pushed down so that I could go ahead and have the surgery because I was so desperate for something to help with weight loss.
Now that I am starting all over again with another Surgeon, I have a much more open mind which I think is mostly because all of the information is not as foreign to me. I feel more aware of the risks and educated about the different procedures available to me. The office is extremely well-organized and located in the best hospital in the area. The folder I received at the first informational seminar contained more information than I ever received during the entire process of qualification with the other surgeon. The surgeon and his staff all work together as a team, and they have a very holistic and inter-disciplinary approach. There also seems to be a good amount of post-operative professional, social, and even spiritual support. So not only do I feel more informed about and prepared for the process, but I know that they have the staff on hand to deal with any issues that might (and probably will) come up for me, so I won’t just be referred to somewhere else.
The other thing that has changed is that I am now leaning heavily towards the gastric sleeve procedure or sleeve gastrectomy. Ultimately, the decision about which surgery is right for me is up to my Physician but it is also made in conjunction with my needs. When one is going to have surgery that will dramatically alter your body and change your life, I think it’s very important to work with a Physician who is confident enough to strongly recommend a specific procedure for you rather than just leaving it up to “whatever you think is best really”. My new Surgeon is confident and kind, and he has personally assured me that he and his entire staff are going to TAKE GOOD CARE of me. That kind of health *care* is what I have been looking for, and I don’t regret a single step of my journey so far.
Sure, I would much rather have had the surgery a year ago, and maybe be close to my goal weight right now, but I’m still only 40 years old, and I guess I like to believe that there’s still a lot of great years left in my life. Right now, one of the thoughts that keeps me going strong is knowing that I’m going to be in great shape when my grandchildren come along (which hopefully won’t be for about ten years since my kids are 10, 8, and 5).