Saturday, November 9, 2013

Change is afoot

I had a very busy week of doctor's visits.  On Wednesday, I went to see both the Physical Medicine doctor and then my therapist.  It was early Wednesday morning, I mean really early so I was still trying to wake up a little bit.  I was in the room waiting to be seen by her so I decided to go on my phone to make the time pass.  As I looked around the room to check out my surroundings, I happened to notice a full length mirror on the side.  I glanced into it caught an image of myself sitting in the chair so I decided to take a selfie to share with all of you and keep for myself.

And, in that moment, my world shifted.  I am posting a big image of this pic because I don't ever want to forget how I felt in the moment.  How did I get back here?  It's true that I haven't gained all my weight back from my Optifast adventure, but I'm knocking on the door.  The doctor finally came in and we talked about the issue with my leg.  She believes it's bursitis in my hip, so she had me change into a gown, lay on my side and she proceeded to give me a cortisone shot right into my hip.  Painful, yes, but it paled in comparison to what I was feeling internally about my image in the mirror.  After discussing physical therapy options with me for my leg, she proceeded to talk to me about weight loss options.  I have been doing the Jenny Craig program and expressed how everything had been going there.  I have been experiencing digestive issues (although this goes back some time) and the fact that Jenny and the Weight Watchers program before that don't deal very well with the emotional issues that come with being obese and trying to lose the weight.  After my last visit to my primary care doctor, she was really urging me to stop Jenny because of some medical issues I had been having.  The Physical Medicine doctor I was seeing gave me a handout of options available.  One was a full-food program at the same center where I did the Optifast program.  That looked encouraging since they deal with whole foods and group counseling.  Besides, it was less expensive than Jenny.  So I thought I'd at least check into it.

The next appointment, that same day, was with my therapist.  I discussed the program I just described to her and she agreed it would be something to look into, especially when they have a focus on the reasons why we pick up food, not just what type of food we pick up.  Yet, in conversations with a couple of friends and the thinking I was doing with myself, it felt like something was still missing.  Would I be just jumping from one diet program to another?  Would I be happy with this decision or perhaps looking for more?  I did manage to call my Jenny consultant and told her what was going on with all the digestive issues I have been having and that I would be stopping for a bit to see if my system does better without that food.  [By the way, it is a few days later and, in fact, I am having some digestive improvement.]  Since I started doing this blog, I have gone through Optifast, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and now ... well, what's next?

So I talked some more with a friend and I ended up calling the clinic where I did Optifast to ask about the full-food program.  In the meantime, I went home that night and did a lot of praying for God to show me the right direction.  You're never going to believe what came out of that ... I ended up sending an e-mail to my primary care doctor and asked her if I would be a good candidate for bariatric surgery.  Yup, you read that right.  Several years before I went on Optifast, I had actually contacted the clinic to get some information on surgical options, but I chickened out at the time.  I just wasn't ready.  I remember discussing it with my dad and he was dead-set against me doing it.  Of course, I am an adult and can make my own decisions but his opinion does really mean a lot to me.  As I was praying about the right thing to do for me, I realized that possibly going through surgery is not out of the realm of possibility.  In fact, I had discussed that very thing with my friend earlier in the day.  My doctor did get back to me and told me what the parameters are for me to participate in the surgery through Kaiser, should I choose to do so.  The first thing I would need to do is contact the clinic to get started.

That night, which still Wednesday, I started doing a lot of research online.  When I do research, I immerse myself in whatever information I'm trying to gather and that's what I did that night.  I was particularly interested in people's experiences having their surgery through Kaiser since, if I do it, that is where I will get it done.  I couldn't really sleep that night, just thinking about so many different things.  The next day, I did call to get a packet of information sent out to me.  I then continued my conversation with my friend and then went in to see another friend at work who actually has had a weight loss surgery.  We had had a conversation years before about weight loss surgery, but I just don't think I was ready at that time.  There is some fear, but not necessarily even about the surgery itself.  It's about my feeling like a part of my body will be missing (which technically will be gone), it's feeling like I've "failed" at other weight loss attempts and will I fail at this, too?  I really appreciated her insight and sharing very personal things with me about her own experience.  I know other people who have had the surgery, too, and will be talking to them.

The thing with all of this is that it doesn't feel absolutely ridiculous to me.  Instead, even though I am feeling a bit scared, there's also peace there for me.  I know people will judge me, I know that will happen, but right now I'm not caring about that.  Even my dad, who will be very upset should I go down this road, is not a factor here.  This is my decision and my health is at stake.  My friend made a very good suggestion to me, which was to make a pro and con list about my reasoning for this course of action.  So, some of my pros are:

  • Most diabetic people who have the gastric bypass have the condition reversed - that is absolutely huge to me because I do worry about losing limbs or my eyesight
  • It will help with cholesterol that has become high again, blood pressure that is creeping up again and putting me in a generally healthier place
  • With weight off my body, I will have less aches and pains that I experience now
  • I really feel like I'll get some confidence back instead of usually being the biggest person in the room wherever I go
  • It is a very serious surgery and there are serious risks that I cannot overlook - some people develop complications or even die
  • It is not a quick and easy process (although this is becoming a pro), taking at least six months before I can even have the surgery let alone the time it takes to lose the weight after that
I know there are more pros and cons, but this is just the beginning part for me.  The truth is that, for me, the benefits outweigh the cons because at my current weight, this becomes a quality of life issue.  I feel like I'm trapped in a body that betrays me at every turn right now.  I know that surgery is not going to "save" me ... it is a tool.  I am in a dangerous place with my health and I need more support than I have now.  My clothes don't fit me, I am breathing heavier, sweating more frequently and am just fighting to lose the weight using my current methods.  I'm classified as super morbidly obese, even though I don't feel that on the inside, and I just want to be healthier.  This is not about the size of my jeans.  It's about my life.  

So, I received the packet from the clinic today.  It talks about the different surgical options, the stages of the program leading up to the surgery and where to go from here.  I'm still reading the information and digesting as much as possible.  Next week, after Veteran's Day, I'll call the clinic to schedule an orientation session.  I have to remember, just like everything else in life, that I need to take baby steps.  All I know is that, for right now, this feels right for me.


Post a Comment