For those who know me personally know that I have been overweight for several years. As much as I hate to admit it, I was considered by the medical field to be morbidly obese. Being more than 100 pounds heavier than I should be, I was having several health issues because of it. The excess weight was causing issues with my joints (I have arthritis) and my back (degenerative disc disease), as well as my having problems with water retention and having sleep apnea, just to name a few of my health issues.
In 1985 I took prescription diet pills and did a lot of walking which helped me lose 54 pounds. Then I got pregnant with my daughter and shamefully let myself gain all that weight back plus a huge amount more. A few years ago my husband and I discussed my having either the adjustable gastric banding (aka lapband) or gastric bypass surgery done, but that's as far as it went.
In May 2017 my daughter told my husband and me about a couple of people she had met at work who had lost over 100 pounds after having sleeve gastrectomy (aka known as gastric sleeve). Since I had been overweight all her life, she asked me to look into this type of weight loss surgery to see if I would be a candidate.
After doing research on the gastric sleeve procedure, I found a weight loss surgeon who was located in the next county, who also held free monthly seminars on the different types of surgery he offers. At the end of the seminar the husband and I attended, I filled out a form asking for more information. When they called me, an appointment was made for me to have a one-on-one with the doctor.
My husband and I agreed that I should go for the gastric sleeve. Over the next several months, I had to have several tests done, as well as a 6-months monitored weight loss program with my general practitioner. The tests I had to have included a psychiatric evaluation, heart echo and stress test, and an endoscope, which were all done by the end of October.
The earliest date for surgery I could get was January 3rd of this year. Prior to surgery, I had to do a 2-week liquid diet which was to help shrink my liver. My surgeon said the liver shrinkage would help in accessing my stomach. I was definitely worried that my liver hadn't shrunk enough for him to do the surgery, but my husband said the doctor was really pleased with the way surgery went.
I will be the first to admit that the lifestyle after having weight loss surgery isn't easy. However, it is so well worth it. I wanted to be healthy, and as long as I was as fat as I was, being healthy wasn't gonna happen. I also did it for my family. I have 2 small grandsons I want to be able to have more fun with. My weight and the pain it was causing in my back and legs prevented me from being able to run and play with them like I wanted to.
If you are considering weight loss surgery but are afraid, please go for it. My doctor's program includes monthly support group meetings which consists of patients who have already had surgery and a nutritionist who are more than happy to answer any questions people who are considering the procedure may have. If your potential surgeon doesn't offer this, ask and/or look around for one. There may be family and friends in your life who may try to talk you out of having surgery, but do this for yourself.
I'm lucky in that I have had a great support system throughout this journey. I do not regret for one second having this surgery. Having been addicted to food/eating, it is hard mentally knowing I can't have a lot of the foods I ate before surgery but I can handle it. I started this journey knowing that I would have to make a drastic change in my lifestyle. As I said previously, I'm glad I started this journey and I'm grateful to my daughter for telling me about the gastric sleeve. I probably would never have done anything if she hadn't encouraged me.
NOTE: As of yesterday I have lost 51 pounds. This is weight I would not have been able to lose without the surgery.
The lapband surgery is uses an inflatable, adjustable ring to create a smaller gastric pouch, limiting the amount of food it will hold at any time. That means you’ll feel comfortably full with less and maintain that fullness for several hours, reducing the urge to eat between meals. Adjustable gastric banding is the least invasive weight loss procedure. Due to complications, the adjustable gastric banding is being phased out by some doctors.
Sleeve gastrectomy decreases stomach size by about 80%. You’re left with a tube the size of a banana, which limits the amount of food you can hold and promotes a longer-lasting feeling of fullness.