Five years ago today I made a very important decision and had weight loss surgery. Some people knew but I tried to keep my weight loss a secret because I was embarrassed. When people asked how I lost all my weight, I’d simply smile and say “Oh, I watch what I eat and work out a bit.” But it was so much more than that. I knew that people have a preconceived notion about weight loss surgery and might think, “Oh, she took the easy way out.” The truth is, this was the hardest decision to make. And sometimes I felt like I HAD to do this.
I know what you’re saying, I could have just dieted and worked out and lost the weight. Wrong; I tried that. I’d lose weight and gain it right back plus more. It’s not like I just gained some weight after college or had a baby and gained a few pounds. I was a chubby kid, a fat teenager and an obese adult. I can’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t heavy. It’s not that I sat around eating Twinkies all day (I actually can’t stand them), but no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t lose weight. I remember being like 10 years old and dieting – I couldn’t just grab whatever I wanted, I actually had to watch what I ate. I was also pretty athletic (OK, who am I kidding? I was a tomboy) and I was always playing sports. I was pretty down on myself because I tried really hard to lose weight (or even just NOT gain it). I felt like a failure when I couldn’t lose the weight. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough, but when you’re young it’s not as easy. As a kid, everyone thought my chubbiness was so adorable and told me it was just “baby fat.” They said that as I got older, I’d get taller and lose the weight; that never happened.
In high school, I was over 200lbs. These are the years when everyone was at their skinniest; not me, I was probably at my heaviest. In college, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and some of the side effects are weight gain and obesity. It all seemed to make sense now. This is why I had so much trouble losing weight growing up; it all became more clear.
When I turned 18, I began looking into weight loss surgery. I met with my surgeon, Dr. Trivedi and LOVED him. It was set. I met all the requirements because of my preexisting medical conditions and it was approved by the insurance. I was all set for surgery and then two days before, I had a really horrible migraine, but my friends took me out to eat at Hooters for my last meal. On the way home, my migraine got so violent I began sweating and we had to pull onto the highway so I could vomit. WE called my surgeon and he cancelled my surgery and told me I needed to be cleared by a neurologist before he would operate on me. I met with the neurologist and got full neurological exams including CAT scans, MRI — the whole nine yards. He found that I suffer from migraines and put me on a medication called Topamax. College started and I began taking the medication so I didn’t get any more violent migraines. The Topamax had very crazy side effects on me — I barely ate or slept and all I did was work out. I went days without eating and I didn’t even realize it — not even purposely either. I dropped about 80lbs in like 2 months and I did not look well at all. I gained it all back plus more in about a year.
When I was 21, just got my degree and and was still on my parent’s insurance that I knew would approve me for weight loss surgery, I decided to give it another shot. My “Last Supper” meal? My best friends brought over A Rueben sandwich from Harold’s Deli — my FAVORITE! This time, there was no turning back.
One of my biggest reasons for having the surgery was for health reason. I was pre-diabetic (and there’s a history of Diabetes in my family) and my PCOS was a big issue. Do you know what it’s like having a doctor tell you that you’ll never be able to have kids? I felt like less of a woman; useless even. I used to joke that I didn’t want children when I was younger, but more because I was scared. After the doctor told me I was infertile, I blamed my stupid jokes for my health. I swear I’ll never say I don’t want kids ever again.
Although the Lap-Band is reversible, it is still a life altering decision. I’m going to be totally honest and say that I wasn’t the most active person after my weight loss surgery (which may be the reason it took me 4 years to reach my goal weight set). I didn’t go to the gym (I was very self conscious about working out in front of people – I still do but I’ve gotten much better recently). However, I still had to watch what I ate and couldn’t sit around eating ice cream all day (maybe just at night?). It wasn’t the easiest decision to make having weight loss surgery, but for me, the benefits outweighed the rights. This is STILL the best decision I ever made and I wish I could have done it sooner.
The night before my surgery my sisters took pictures of me in my underwear so I can always remember how I once looked. They said soon enough I wouldn’t recognize those pictures but we should keep them to compare. I found those pictures recently and I wish I had enough guts to post them. I can’t believe I looked like that. One day I’ll get the balls to show them – promise.
So on August 30, 2007 I weighed 238lbs and today I am 147lbs…not bad huh?