September 9, 2020
...as I mentioned, I'm 50 and have struggled with my weight my entire adult life. I managed to find some success in my 40s when I took up running. I LOVED running. I still can't believe I'm saying that... but I did. I was about 30# thinner than I am now when I met a woman who lost 100lbs in a year and took up running. She inspired me to try it. And I LOVED it. That's when I felt my best. I looked my best. I got down to my lowest weight (183) during that time but even more importantly, I felt like a different person. I had energy, I slept well, I was eating so healthy with no desire for anything unhealthy. I look back on that person and can't even believe it was me... 10 years ago. UGH. My doctor at the time was so blown away by my progress that he even decided to take up running himself. My labs were PERFECT ("Your numbers are those of an athlete") and my depression was under control with no anxiety at all. Exercise is a miracle, y'all. I swear... it made such a HUGE difference in my life. I met my husband around that time and he and I both had a history of being overweight and we both were avid exercisers. He was a swimmer so while I went running, he'd go to the pool and swim laps....
And then... I got comfortable. We both did.
Fast forward... (we just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary and our 9 year together anniversary) and he and I are BOTH in need of an overhaul. Truth be told, he's still very good about being active. He walks at least 10,000 steps a day and he's always looking for opportunities to get moving. I, on the other hand, have discovered that while there are many benefits to working from home (I've been a remote worker for the better part of 7-8 years) I have fallen into the habit of a VERY sedentary life. I do get out and walk but definitely not as frequently as I'd like. My husband and I ride our bikes... occasionally... but for the most part — I NEED HELP!! I want to run again so badly. At the advice of my doctors, I've been trying to shed about 25 pounds so that I don't blow out my knees and ankles trying to run at this weight. I'm 50... FIFTY. I can't even believe how different our bodies respond as we get older. So... yes, aside from being very unhappy with my physical appearance, I'm even more unhappy with my physical condition! I am in desperate need of some help to get in gear.
My husband is 7 years younger than me. I'm thinking about retirement and thinking by the time he retires, I don't want to be in such bad shape or in such poor health that I can't do anything anymore but sit around and eat and watch TV. I want to travel and be healthy enough to enjoy my years with him. I watched my father in law die as a result of his obesity. He was 62 and didn't even get to enjoy any of his retirement. I've seen many of my loved ones suffer from heart problems, diabetes, cancer... all stemming from being overweight. I'm fortunate, for the time being, that my body still works normally. I'm relatively healthy... but I can already see that this is changing rapidly. At my physical this year, I learned a lot. I'm watching my BP closely because it's been higher than I'd like for the past few months. This has NEVER been an issue for me before. Even when I was heavier I didn't have a problem. My glucose levels were higher than I'd like. Again- NEVER a problem till now. My cholesterol is high. WHAT?! this is all so new to me. And it scares the shit out of me... enough so that I began looking at my options a little more closely.
I've done Keto, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Intermittent Fasting, Slim Fast, Cabbage diet... and sure- I've been successful to some degree with each of these attempts. But sustainability... that's where I fail. I gain it back and I can't seem to find something that works for me long-term. And as I get older it gets WORSE. Again... UGH.
So a couple of years ago I decided to look into Bariatric surgery a little more closely. I just wanted information. It still seemed a bit too drastic for me but I was curious. I researched myself to death until I finally came to the decision to do this... not to be cute... but to be HEALTHY and to RUN again. I contacted a well-known surgeon in the area and scheduled my first appointment with him in February.
I've chosen bypass over sleeve for several reasons.
1. I need the restriction and the physical consequences for eating more than I should or stuff that I shouldn't.
2. As I mentioned, I have horrible acid reflux. The idea of this condition getting worse for me is unimaginable as it already interferes with my life now. I have a hard time sleeping and it's really quite painful at times. This is a family curse. My mom and aunts suffered from this as well. If I were to go with the vertical sleeve (VSG) instead of bypass, there is a good chance my condition would get worse. Say no more... I'm not going anywhere near that.
3. I have a very good friend who had bypass about 15 years ago and she's been tremendously successful. I've leaned on her for advice and guidance and her success is another reason I'm inclined to do what she's done.
4. From the research I've done, there is a high rate of revision surgery required with VSG (Sleeve). I don't want to risk that.
5. The rate of weight loss is a bit faster with bypass. And from what I understand, the restriction factor contributes to a slightly higher success rate in some patients.
And... after many discussions with my surgeon and physician, they are in agreement that this option is likely the best for me in my situation. So... there you have it. I'm in for the bypass.
I think the sleeve is an excellent option for some patients and I've seen plenty of long-term success stories. One of the most important things I've learned in all of my research is that there is no right answer. Each of us is wired differently and we all have circumstances that come into play when making this decision. For me, the bypass seemed like my best option. And I we'll go from there and see where this road takes me.
Next time I'll talk a little bit about some of the challenges with bypass and what I'm planning to mitigate some of these risks. I suffer from depression. It's under control now (with medication) but that was a factor for consideration. I'll get more into that in the next entry. That's plenty for now.