Sunday, November 17, 2013

Determining whether or not this is life-saving

I was watching the news this morning and they had a story of a man who was trying hard to have a kidney transplant.  He was scheduled for surgery at UC San Diego, but then the nurses went on strike so it had to be canceled.  This man has been on dialysis nine hours each day and had found a donor coming from out of state.  Because his insurance didn't cover a person not within the state, he had to pay the added expenses.  He shared his plight with local media and then, lo and behold, was rescheduled for surgery (funny how things shifted so quickly when he went on the news...hmm).  I watched his story and saw the joy in his face as he knew he was about to undergo life-saving surgery.  So this made me think about me and the feelings I am going through as I embark on the journey of weight loss surgery, particularly a gastric bypass in my situation.

I wondered, having just watched that story, is the surgery for me in the same category as life-
saving?  Don't get me wrong, I don't have any doubts it is the right avenue for me.  However, I am very introspective and I really need to honor any time I have feelings or emotions pop up, especially when it comes to something like surgery.  This decision is the most difficult and serious one I have ever had to make in my life.  Yes, I have had other surgeries before, one of which was certainly life-saving, but being in the super obesity category forces me to look at this with deeper consideration, especially when there are emotions connected with food.  Can gastric bypass surgery be in the same category as other life-saving surgeries?  For me, I have to think of it with a visual reference to help talk myself through any questions that might pop up in my mind.  If I fell off a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and someone was able to throw me a tool of survival, such as a life preserver, wouldn't I reach for it if I honestly have tried every other effort to save myself?  If it's between grabbing it and having it help me reach safety versus continuing to drown because I'm feeling too proud by saying that I can do it on my own, wouldn't I want to reach for it?  Of course I would!

I have been reading a lot of blogs of other people's experiences with having had the bypass.  I am so grateful they have taken the time to describe the entire process and, especially, talk about the emotions they have gone through.  I realize complications do pop up for people and there might even be physical pain that comes along with the surgery for a few weeks or even a couple of months.  One of the interesting things I noticed is that a lot of people have been talking about fear of excess skin.  I suppose I have a unique perspective because I did have excess skin when I got down to my lowest weight while doing the Optifast program.  If you look on the right side of my blog, you'll see a side by side picture of me at my highest weight and then my lowest weight.  At that smaller weight, the picture looks pretty good but it did hide skin under my clothes.  However, having been there compared to being here at 355 pounds today, I can say for sure that I would take the excess skin in a freaking heartbeat.  In a heartbeat!

For me, and I can only speak for myself, this is absolutely a life-saving surgery.  My health is in just as serious a condition as the man awaiting his kidney transplant.  People die daily from the effects of obesity.  Whether that is a heart attack, diabetes or something else, it is something to never take lightly.  I'm 41 years old and there is huge potential that things can get worse for me.  I'm certainly not saying this to be morbid.  That is not my intention at all.  Rather, it's my way of working through my process.  I have the great potential of being relieved of most, if not all, of the pain I live with constantly.  Both my diabetes and sleep apnea will likely be reversed.  My high blood pressure and high cholesterol will be lowered.  I will significantly decrease the chances of a heart-attack.  Instead of approaching the surgery with the mind-set that I have failed at other attempts to lose the weight and so now I'm "resorting" to the bypass surgery, I think of it as I have the great opportunity to turn things around to live a healthy life.  Forget the excess skin; this is so much bigger than that.  I feel there is such great potential with this road I am now traveling.  I am not approaching this in a negative way at all.  I am thanking God for this blessing and the people who have had the courage to talk to me about this with love and sincerity in their hearts.  You know who you are and I can't tell you with words how much your love for me has deeply touched me.  On Thursday, I will be taking the next step on this journey when I attend the orientation session for bariatric surgery and I'm looking forward that.


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