I write sometimes for thinking…trying to sort something out, find the answer, get to the bottom of what I’m feeling. This has been coming to the front of my brain for a while and I started it this weekend, then finished it this morning. I think I’ll post it on my blog but thought I would share it here, too, in case anybody else has similar feelings. Thanks to Donna for the powerful testimonials that triggered the rest of the story!
On August 8, 2008 I made the decision to change my life by having weight loss surgery through the Mayo Clinic bariatric program. It will be two years on April 6th since I had a Roux En Y gastric bypass operation. I feel like I’m moving into a new phase of post-WLS thinking and I want to explore that a little.
In the last few months, I have been fascinated with the research about WLS and long-term maintenance. I read a lot before my surgery and felt prepared and knowledgeable. I am not, nor was I ever overly fearful of regain, but now I want to know more about the causes of obesity and the research about how folks who have had surgery prevent weight gain for the long haul.
There are blogs I read daily (http://www.refusetoregain.com/refusetoregain/), journals I check out every chance I get, books I have ordered and read: (Refuse to Regain by Barbara Berkeley and Why We Get Fat and What We Can Do about It by Gary Taubes).
I have gone back to the Bariatric Eating online support group. I turned away from that support group for a while and for several reasons. Now that I’m back, I love the daily encouragement to eat healthy food and to exercise. I love the idea of providing support for someone just beginning this journey. I love the camaraderie I feel with the folks who are further out and dealing with the reality of life as it is and the battle against obesity.
This morning, Donna posted on the message board a link to testimonials by patients who had surgery at Bon Secour in
. They’re here if you are interested: [http://richmond.bonsecours.com/our-services-surgical-weight-loss-patient-testimonials.html]. I could only watch a couple without weeping. To see the incredible change in the lives of these folks is miraculous and poignant. Richmond, Virginia
I know most people are not interested in this radical surgery for themselves and even people who know me have only a passing interest, but to me it’s fascinating. My weight problem, something that caused me years of misery and social anguish, could be cured this easily? All the ensuing medical issues, the borderline high blood pressure, the high blood sugar, the aching joints, the sleeping problems could all be nearly erased by this surgery? It’s really nothing short of a miracle to me.
I remember once I compared it to giving birth. After I experienced giving birth to my son, I felt a bond with other mothers and with the doctors and nurses who delivered my child. I wanted to talk about the birth process with anyone else who had experienced its miracle. When we adopted our beautiful daughter, Tiffany, I was also overwhelmed with gratitude and a sense of shared humanity. The two experiences are similar to my surgery in some ways.
I feel overwhelming gratitude for the doctors who developed this surgical procedure and to the team of medical professionals at Mayo who took care of me. After watching the video testimonials and thinking about my reasons for rejoining the online support group, I realize it is that sense of shared humanity. When these folks in the videos and on the message board talk about the pain and shame because of obesity, the lack of mobility, the health problems, the desire to be normal, it is heart rending, really, and I can relate.
Anybody who thinks obesity is a simple problem or that the surgical solution is the easy way out, ought to walk around these resources for a day. There are amazing stories of pain and anguish and incredible stories of recovery and success.
For now, I feel wonderful. I feel strong and healthy and like I am finally living the life I was meant to lead. I can lift weights and jump and do squats and hell, I ran a half marathon last fall! I won’t say every day is easy because it takes a lot of menu planning to eat right and it takes a lot of fortitude to get up at 4 a.m. to work out every day when the temperature is below zero. The obesity battle is not won easily but I am doing it for now. Finally, and for now, I am doing it and I love it.