My last several posts have been about the kids. And that’s all good! I mean, they are the reason I started blogging in the first place. But several of these posts have been about my dread or concerns. So, I decided that the time has come to write a post about ME (and Dad)!
In May, 2017, Dad and I went to see a surgeon who specializes in weight loss surgery. We had both been (separately) to information sessions where he presented the types of surgery he performs and what is involved and we both decided we were ready to take the next step and learn what was involved in having weight loss surgery as we were both SEVERELY overweight and seeing health consequences associated with obesity. At this point, we were mainly information-seeking, but the truth is that, since we were seeing the surgeon, it was probably more committed than just that.
Well, as you would probably have surmised by what I just said, we both decided (independently) that this is something that we needed to do. We started putting the pieces together to make the surgery happen. We met with psychologists. We saw a nutritionist and an exercise specialist. We had sleep studies done. We went to a cardiologist and a gastroenterologist to determine if there was any reason why we should NOT have the surgery. We went to support groups. And we went to fight with the insurance company (who decided it was an “exclusion” on Dad’s policy). In the end, Dad had gastric sleeve surgery performed on October 4, 2017 and I followed 6 weeks later on November 15, 2017.
Fast forward about 9 months (for Dad) and 8 months (for me). He has lost about 220 pounds, I have lost nearly 170 pounds. And both of us feel GREAT!!!!!! We have more energy than we ever remember having! And if we have a day where we don’t exercise, we feel MISERABLE! For me, the majority of the exercise is walking (even if it means pacing the house for hours at a time when I can’t leave) and Dad goes to a gym Monday through Friday that is available in his office building (and he walks on weekends).
Our lives have completely changed. It’s such a nice feeling to walk into a store and be know I can find clothes that FIT!!!!! And Dad has been able to fill in his wardrobe from Walmart or Target rather than having to shop at Big and Tall shops which cost 3 times as much for far poorer quality garments! Neither of us are buying any clothing that we expect to last — our sizes are still dropping fairly rapidly and our clothes only last for so long before they find their way into a donation pile.
Just a couple months ago, Dad arrived at a school picnic where I was helping by grilling hamburgers. He saw someone standing there but he didn’t recognize that it was me! And we have been married for just about 20 years!
I know a lot of this is about my vanity. But for the first time in, well, as long as I can remember, I’m not repulsed when I look at myself in a mirror. I’m no longer shying away from having my picture taken (although I’m still a terrible shot). There are many times where I truly don’t recognize my own reflection.
This process isn’t really about losing weight (although that is, in many respects, the end result). It’s truly a journey in understanding how to live your life and how we each control our own health in many respects. I don’t think I fully understood that 14 months ago when I had my first visit with Dr. Greene (even though I was told this by several people who had been through this surgery), and even if I did “understand” this, I certainly didn’t believe it.
I still have about 45 pounds to go to hit my target, and Dad would like to lose about 30 more as well. But even if we don’t lose another ounce, this would be considered successful (as long as we can maintain the habits and weight). I can honestly say that we are no longer quite the same people we were when we started.