I thought long and hard about my decision to share what I am about to share and have come to the conclusion that I want to have complete transparency throughout the journey that I have just embarked upon. I came upon this decision for several reasons. First, I want to be completely honest with my friends and family. Second, I want (dare I say.. I will need) support from anyone and everyone that is willing to give it to me. Third, I hope that my journey will inspire, assist and give hope to those that may find themselves in a similar situation. So here goes….
A little history….
In 2008 i was having low back problems. They had come and gone for a very long time, but this time it was really bad. I found out that I have arthritis and degeneration of the disks in my lower back. I was in physical therapy for over a year with very little relief. I was in chronic pain which made it very difficult for me to be very active, not to mention the doctors’ orders were to do no more physical activity than walking from point a to point b until we could get it under control. The lack of activity, due to the chronic pain, and frankly bad eating habits caused me to gain a significant amount of weight. At my highest (in 2009) I was just shy of 300lbs (OMG! Did I really just tell the world that? Well I guess when I said full transparency….I meant it!). I was 290lbs to be exact. At the suggestion of my doctor I decided to have the gastric band surgery. Some people refer to this as the lap band surgery.
In September of 2010 I had gastric banding surgery. For those who may be unfamiliar with this surgery they basically put a band around the top of your stomach so that there is a restriction on how much food you can eat. This by no means is a miracle surgery or an answer to all your problems. It is simply a tool that when used correctly will assist in weight loss. Believe me, I know several people who have had the surgery and have not been successful because they don’t follow the “rules”. There are many “rules”. No carbonation, eat small portions, eat very slowly and small bites, no drinking any liquids during meals or for at least 60 minutes after meals are just a few. To be clear, this surgery is by no means a cop out. It is a serious commitment. A lifelong commitment. A commitment to eat healthier (I went through nutrition classes as part of my pre-surgery requirements) and to stay active. It is a commitment to change your entire lifestyle to become a healthier person. I made that commitment and I had great success with it!
After surgery, at my lowest I was down to 174. I had lost 116 lbs. I felt FANTASTIC! I was back to my high school weight! I had great energy and there were little things, like being able to cross my legs that I came to appreciate on a different level. If you have never been heavy, this may be a hard concept for you to grasp, but for someone who had not been able to cross her legs for several years, it was an AH HA moment for me!
When Brandon and I decided to have a baby, I had a difficult time with the thought of gaining a bunch of weight knowing that i had just gotten rid of it. I had several conversations with my general practitioner, my OB/GYN and my bariatric surgeon. They all assured me that they had experience with women who have gotten pregnant after the lap band and that there were not any additional risks. My surgeon said that the fact I had lost so much weight would actually make it easier for us to get pregnant. Brandon and I were both committed, so we decided to proceed and got pregnant at the end of April 2012. At that time I was about 180lbs. I was down to a size 12 and still felt fantastic!
The first two trimesters were pretty good. Other than being tired, which is to be expected, I really didn’t have any problems. Then came my third trimester. That was an entirely different story. In September 2012 we decided to take a babymoon to the Bahamas. One last trip before the baby came. We had a great time…until we were headed home. At the airport, I started vomiting and there was blood in my vomit (I did say full transparency right?). When we landed back at home, we went straight to the ER. At that point there wasn’t extreme concern as they diagnosed that I had vomited so harshly that I had busted blood vessels in my esophagus. That was where the blood was coming from. This however was only the beginning.
I continued to vomit on and off for the next few weeks and then there came a point were I was unable to hold any food down at all. At my check up with my OB they started to become very concerned that my fundal height was below where it should be. Next came a whirlwind of tests. Ultrasounds (yes plural), non stress tests etc. I was petrified to say the least. The decision was finally made to insert a picc line and feed me intravenously until it was time for me to deliver. It was very complicated. At the time they couldn’t tell if it was as a result of the lap band prolapsing since they couldn’t use the x-ray machine to look since I was pregnant. I had to learn to prepare and change my own IV bags. I had to have a home health nurse see me weekly at home to change my dressings. My regular OB gave up. I had become too high risk for them. They transferred my care to the University of Chicago to a maternal fetal doctor. I was going to U of C once a week from November until the time that I delivered.
On January 15, 2013, Brandon and I welcomed our AMAZING baby boy Asa Gideon into this world. He was perfect…a little small, but perfect. Three days after I delivered I went to see my surgeon. Sure enough I had a slip of my lap band. Now we had to get it out immediately so that I could get the nutrition I needed in order to breastfeed. A week after I delivered Asa I was back in an operating room having my lap band removed. I really struggled with this. It was a part of me. That might sound silly to some, but i had come to depend on it to tell me “when” to stop eating. It gave me the trigger I needed to tell me to stop eating. Now that trigger was gone. I no longer had any restriction.
Now back to the present and the big reveal…..
I have gained a ridiculous amount of weight over the last 7 months. I was back up to 244 lbs (I’m starting to question this full transparency stuff! Joking!). My lower back pain has been rearing its ugly head lately and I am back to being in chronic pain. I met again with my Bariatric surgeon to discuss my options. We decided that I should give the Gastric sleeve a try. The gastric sleeve is a little more invasive than the lap band but not nearly as invasive as Gastric bypass. I will be having surgery this coming Tuesday, August 13th. I have been put on a pre-surgical diet and am happy to report that I have lost 14 lbs since last Tuesday! So why then would I need the surgery? Why don’t I just stay on this diet? It is not something that anyone could sustain for a lifetime. Here is what I get to eat in a day:
Breakfast: Protein shake
Lunch: Protein shake
Dinner: 4oz lean protein and 1/2 cup non starchy vegetables
I am also allowed 2 servings of sugar free jello, 2 servings of sugar free popsicles and 2 servings of soup broth
I also have to consume a minimum of 64 oz of water
That is not sustainable. I will however be following a very strict diet for the next year. My doctor literally tells you what you can and can’t eat and how much for the next 12 months.
I have set myself the goal of 165 lbs which means that from today, I have 65lbs more to go. I CAN DO THIS!
I have committed myself. I have committed to weight loss. I have committed to eating healthier. I have committed to a new lifestyle. I have committed to being an overall healthier person for myself and my family.
So there it is. I have put it out there for the entire world to see. Complete and full transparency. I will be dropping weight fast and I choose to be honest and forthcoming about my process. I hope to continue to “blog” about my journey as it unfolds.
Critics take heed. I DO NOT WANT OR NEED YOUR CRITICISM OR YOUR NEGATIVE ENERGY. This is my decision and my decision only. Unless you have walked in my shoes you can’t possibly understand the thought and contemplation that went into making this difficult and life changing decision.
Supporters be vocal. I DO NEED AND WILL APPRECIATE ALL SUPPORT. Please feel free to post comments!
Here we go again! I can honestly say…..
I’M EXCITED FOR WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR ME!