Adjustments.

I used to say that I intended to go out of this life with the same stuff God gave me coming in: I still had tonsils, appendix, gall bladder, adenoids and reproductive organs.  Well, I still have all of those, but I exchanged my hips a few years back for a new, aftermarket set made of gleaming titanium.  So I guess I can’t say that anymore.  And in another week, I’ll give away something else: most of my stomach.

Next week, I’ll undergo the procedure known as a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG), or ‘sleeve,’ in which a large portion of my stomach will be laparoscopically removed.

Image: Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
http://www.virginiamason.org/SleeveGastrectomy

The decision was a long time in coming.  Despite a lifetime of being overweight and dieting, I had never considered surgery as a way to lose weight before a few years ago.  At that time, I had only considered restrictive gastric banding.  More recently, several friends and family members underwent bariatric surgery, and as I saw their results and spoke with them more, I began thinking it might be my best hope to return to a healthy weight.  Mr. Stuck had already been working toward his own surgery and healthy weight goal, so I had the added benefit of involvement with his process, too.

I did my ‘due diligence’ and read up on the types of surgeries available; who would benefit from what type; what co-morbidities would likely improve after surgery; risks and benefits; and long-term results.  I joined an online chat group to read real stories and questions.  I spoke with my doctor, who was enthusiastically supportive.  And so I made the decision to work my way through the prerequisites for surgery.

To have this surgery, I have had a psychological examination, sleep study, blood work, EKG, barium swallow, and 6 months of dietary oversight by a nutritionist (in which I lost 30 lbs).  I found out that I am an otherwise healthy obese person who has sleep apnea, but I don’t have elevated blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol.  Contrary to popular belief, I am psychologically normal (who knew?).  I have a hiatal hernia, which means my stomach bulges up through my diaphragm, but I’ve never had more than mild symptoms from it.  Right now I am in the pre-surgery diet phase of two protein shakes and one light meal per day.  The day before the procedure will be full liquids.

Although I am healthy now, there are no guarantees I will remain so, especially given a familial history of cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure; and really, obesity increases my risk of everything.  I need to lose the weight to decrease that risk.  But I also hope that losing the amount of weight that I need to will also improve my health by improving my quality of life issues like arthritis, sleep problems, and general aches and pains.

There will be a lot of adjustments to make following the surgery, but I am committed.  Where I used to think that surgery was the ‘easy way out’ for weight loss as opposed to the blood, sweat and tears of dieting, exercise and discipline, I now know that it’s not ‘either-or.’  I will have the surgery and I will also diet, exercise, and discipline myself to change my relationship with food.  But I will have the tool of surgery to help me.

You could say that life is basically a series of adjustments, from the womb to the outside world; from a child to an adult; and from a single person to a couple or family, perhaps.  Some adjustments are easy, some are voluntary, and some are life-changing.  This one is has a little of all of that, and more.  I will be adjusting from obesity to health.

I don’t intend to bore you all with “I lost 3 more lbs!” posts.  I will write about it, yes, but maybe just to tell you about my flying-squirrel arm flaps or my hair falling out.  I may crow a bit when I’ve reached a milestone, and I may whine when I mourn for the Bubba Burgers of my past (I confess, I am addicted to cheeseburgers), but I won’t subject you to much of it, I promise.  And I won’t use the terms ‘fat shaming’ or ‘body shaming’ because I detest them.  But I will share with you some of the lessons I’m learning on my way to a healthy life.

I will never be thin, but I do hope to cross my legs again someday.
And sit on the floor and get back up again.
And sit comfortably on a plane.
And wear Spandex to Walmart.

juuust kidding.

 

 

 photo credit thenext28days and MotiveWeight

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StuckonZero

StuckonZero

Aging like a fine wine. ;-)

16 thoughts on “Adjustments.”

  1. That’s the same surgery that Hillary/Allison had! I haven’t been “in the loop” as far as family matters are… and I was surprised to learn you had decided to do this, and that it is just days away! Alli keeps trying to talk me into this surgery, since the first one didn’t really work- due, in part, to my lack of teeth… This is a big step in the right direction, Beck! Before you know it you will be smaller than Val! <3 <3 <3 Love you, li'l sis!
    Terry

    1. Yes, it is the same surgery; in fact, talking to her helped me decide to do it, when she said she’d do it again in a heartbeat. It has worked out so well for her; I don’t expect the same results, as I am so much older, but I do hope that my surgery will be as complication-free as hers was. And as far as the loop — I haven’t said much to anyone while I’ve been doing all of the preliminary stuff.
      Thank you for your support! I really appreciate it. I am going to start 2014 off on the right foot! Love you right back! xoxoB

  2. You can do it. I’ve yet to meet you face-to-face, but I am in awe of how you quit smoking, how insightful and tolerant your word choices are in your blogs and facebook posts, and of your relationship with your family. I know a woman in Port Orchard who had this surgery, a complete success story. I admire you for getting healthy. I also admire your candor — the sharing and the withholding. Good work, Becky! And good luck. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Christi! I’ve had to make a lot of changes over the years as I realize that I won’t live forever. The smoking thing was huge. Ear glasses (hearing aids) are huge. Quality of life is a big deal for me; I don’t want to be old and sick, and since my risk is already high with the family history, the rest is up to me. I’ve got a long way to go, but I have been bowled over by the support from my circle of friends and family.
      Thank you so much for your kind words; I am flattered and humbled, all at the same time. I am glad to be able to share these things when the time is right.
      Onward and upward!

  3. I relish the idea of a healthy, happy AND ache-free/pain-free Becky. What a decision to make! The discipline it took to research and the commitment to follow through indicate success in all aspects of the aftermath.
    Good on you. You need to be around for a long and high quality life! Big love to you, always.

    1. Thank you so much! It has been a struggle back and forth in my head for a long time, but I made the right decision. Life just keeps getting better, and I want to be neck-deep in the mix! xoxoB

      1. You have always amazed me! I love how elegantly you write, I love your beautiful smile, I love your giving nature, & love the way you concur what life throws at you… You are an inspiration to me & many others…. I’m so happy for you!

        1. Thank you so much, Kay — how sweet and humbling your words are, and I truly appreciate them — and you!. I hope that I can remain an inspiration to myself as well as anyone else. It’s an exciting step to take! Stay tuned for more!

  4. I admire your courage to take on this new challenge. I’m excited for you Becky! Whatever I can do to support you – just let me know. Change to improve one’s health is always a good thing. And yes I love your blogs. Your writing touches me so… I laugh out loud, just smile, or cry real tears… You have such a gift. Keep it up – I love to ‘feel’ what you write.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m so glad you are enjoying my writing. That is very encouraging, and it gives me great satisfaction that it touches your heart. I’m flattered.
      I agree — improving our health is a great thing; we can all make better choices, right? Keep checking in on me — I’ll try to keep you entertained!

  5. I’m cheering for you Becky! It sounds like the hardest part is over – the decision to commit to your health!! Best of Luck!

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