Sunday, February 16, 2014

Telling my parents about the surgery

Deciding to proceed with the gastric bypass surgery was a very difficult decision for me.  It's one thing to say, "Yeah, it's time for me to have the surgery," but it's quite another to actually move forward with it.  There are so many emotions to go through - Could I have tried another diet?  Is this really necessary?  Am I really so far gone that I actually need a surgery to lose the weight?  I go through so much with this, but then I forget how much it impacts other people.

I really learned that on the day I told my mom back in November.  She cried and I cried with her.  She was so very afraid that something bad was going to happen to me during the surgery or that maybe I wouldn't wake up after the surgery.

Then there is my dad.  The person I have stressed over and worried about the most when telling the news of the surgery is my dad.  Of course I'm an adult and of course I can make my own decisions regarding this.  It's just that I want my parents to be supportive.  Maybe we don't always see eye to eye on everything, but having their support is important. When I brought up the idea of having surgery 6-7 years ago, he was so adamant about me not doing it.

My dad is visiting me for a few days right now, so I decided it was the right time to tell him.  I wanted to tell him in person with none of the other family around, just a discussion between father and daughter.  I gathered up the courage and told him that I have decided to have the gastric bypass surgery done.  His response?

"That's fine, but you should just know that it only works for one in five people."

There you go.  The judgement I knew he would have was there.  He sat across from me with his arms crossed, an internal decision made.  So I asked him where he got his statistics from.  He went on to tell me about the friend that he knows that got the surgery that was unsuccessful.  This one person represented all people.  I asked if that person was compliant with the rules laid before him.  He admitted he had not been compliant.  Of course that person won't be successful if he's going to do it that way.  I asked what kind of research he has done and he admitted he hadn't done any.

I went on to have a conversation with my dad that was as full of as much courage as I could possibly possess.  I said, "Dad, you know I have struggled with weight my entire life.  You know I have tried so many different programs and diets.  You know how devastating it was for me after gaining weight back when I stopped doing Optifast.  My decision to have this surgery is about health, pure and simple."  My dad recently had two knee replacements done and I asked him why he had those done.  He did reply that it was to feel better and be out of pain.  I looked at him and told him that's exactly why I'm having this done.  I have diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, bad knees, back pain and the list goes on and on.  This procedure will help, if not reverse, most of these conditions.

As my dad thought about all of these points, he brought up the past and told me he wasn't a very good example of what healthy eating should look like.  I reminded him that my mom had those issues as well.  Besides, we all make our own decisions.  I stressed to him that I'm not placing blame, that I just want to live without pain.  It's clear to my dad that I've done a lot of research and have answers for every counter-point of his.  I even looked up current stats to see what the success rate is.  For those that are curious, the current numbers show that eighty percent of those who have the surgery are successful.  That's a pretty good outcome, especially for a guy who is math-oriented.

Now we're at the point where my dad has done a complete 180 turnaround about this.  He told me that he is proud of me for making this decision for my health and he's hopeful it will work.  He even told me he will be here to take care of me afterwards if I need it.  It was more than I could have imagined.  The stress that I had been feeling has now left me.  In fact, I was able to get an amazing four hours of sleep on my CPAP machine last night.  That doesn't sound like a lot, but I find it no coincidence that this happened right after I told my dad about the surgery.  Releasing stress is such an important thing to do.

Now both my parents know and they are supportive.  That's what I have wanted - their support.  This is a scary decision for me and I just need my family at my side.  I'm so glad I'm free of that worry and can keep moving forward.

Water Challenge Day 33:  Drank 150 of 185 ounces


happyinca said...

I'm so happy for you Kathy. I think it's important for us not to give up on ourselves. We are worth it - and who better to recognize this than our parents, who love us most of all.

Caitlin R said...

I'm so happy for you too! You are very brave. It's wonderful that you had put so much thought into that conversation and were able to calmly explain everything to him so well that he did that 180. Sounds like you have a wonderful father. I am so glad you have his support.

And I'm so happy you're getting a bit more sleep on the CPAP! Very positive day! :-)

Kathy said...

Thanks friends! I do have a great dad who is always supportive, even when he disagrees. Thankfully he understood my reasoning and has come around. Having the support of family is so important.

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