Something I’ve had many people ask me is, “Why surgery?”
Well, the short answer is: I feel that I need it.
The long answer is a little more complicated. I’m not afraid of the surgery, which seems to be a main concern of many. It makes me a little nervous, but not much. I’ve been following the surgeon’s protocols for getting my body ready for surgery and I’m confident in his abilities. I have a lot of trust in modern medicine and the thought of being cut and stapled doesn’t scare me (though if I saw it I’d get queasy.) This is way less traumatic than the two C-sections I had. With those I was split open and gutted like a trout. The weight loss surgery is done laparoscopically which means there are just 4 tiny incisions that they put the tools and camera through to do the job without having to open you up. From what I hear, it’s a pretty quick recovery.
“OK, but it’s still surgery, right? So why not just eat right and exercise?”
One reason is simply that I have so dang much to lose. There was a time in my life when losing 20 pounds would have put me down 2 dress sizes and had me thrilled beyond compare. But now it’s a drop in the bucket. I’ve lost 20 pounds and I don’t look or feel any different at all. And that is the most frustrating thing EVER! Because it’s still really hard to lose that 20 pounds and it feels like I’ll never be able to lose a whole 159.
Yes, it CAN be done. I’ve lost 40 pounds at a time here and there. But I always gained it back. Over and over and over again. It’s incredibly demoralizing to have a ton of success, slip up, downward spiral and be heavier than when you started. After years and years of doing that, while swimming against the current with health problems I’ve had, weight gain causing medications I’ve had to take, and six pregnancies (five babies and a miscarriage), at some point I realized I had given up. I had stopped caring and stopped trying because it was just too dang hard.
And that scared the crap out of me.
I don’t want to give up. I don’t want my health to continue to deteriorate. I have sleep apnea. I’m pre-diabetic. I have a high risk of hypertension. I struggle to carry my toddler up the stairs for nap. I am miserable in my body. And I berate myself incessantly for those reasons not being enough to get me off my butt and exercising and eating right.
I’ve tried making small changes, but they aren’t enough when you have 159 pounds to lose. I’ve tried making dramatic changes, but I can’t maintain them long enough to get results.
After about 3 years of research and classes and being evaluated for surgery, you’d think I’d have buckled down and lost some weight, but I hadn’t. In fact, I had gained 60 more pounds. I think there’s something wrong with me because I don’t feel like I overeat that much.
I think the bottom line is that I am always hungry.
Seriously, like ALWAYS. I’m never full. I often get the munchies, but more than that, I usually feel like I’m starving. Whether it’s genetics, upbringing, trauma or my own weak character, that hunger is always there. And I know that if I could just NOT be hungry I could be successful at eating right. If I was able to get started on losing weight, it would hurt less to exercise and I would do it more. Maybe these sound like more excuses or wishful thinking. But I know myself. I can make a goal and stick to it. I can overcome some pretty daunting obstacles. But this I have not been able to do on my own but I’m not ready to give up completely. This surgery, when followed up by exercise and eating right, is very successful.
I’ve talked to my doctor and talked to a specialist and they believe I am a good candidate for surgery and will be successful with it. So that’s one way I know I’m on the right track here. Another way is that I have friends who have had this surgery and been extremely successful and would do it again in a heartbeat. I went to a support group and about 20 of the people there had undergone the surgery with my surgeon. They were all healthy, felt amazing, looked incredible and said they only wish they’d done it earlier.
Maybe it’s admitting defeat. I can’t do this on my own. I’ve failed. But you know what? When you’re drowning and someone throws you a rope, you don’t deny it and say you can get to shore by yourself.
I prayed every day and fasted every month for 6 years for the Lord to help me with this. He never took away my hunger and he never made losing weight easier. But he put people and programs in my life that would lead me to the option of surgery.
It’s a safe procedure. It’s effective. And I’m willing to stick to the protocols necessary to make it successful. The benefits outweigh the risks. I’ve considered the options, and for me, surgery just makes sense.