I won’t lie. I didn’t ever think this sort of thing would be an option for me. I didn’t know much about the surgery, but I’ll admit I always assumed it was for people who were much heavier than myself. My whole life I’ve struggled with my weight. Lots of back and forth. What’s crazy is, there were definitely times where I looked healthy and thin, but of course I never felt “thin enough.”
Of all the people I know, I feel like I was the healthiest, but I never seemed to see any progress! I was at the gym busting my ass, I was eating healthy almost always. I didn’t touch pop, sweets, or juice. Haven’t for years – it was easy for me. It was just simply off limits in my head. I was making ALL these sacrifices only for my body to basically say “GFY.” I never understood it! My siblings all ate way more than me, and junk food on top of it, and yet I was the big sibling. The part that makes no sense to me: I’m probably the one that cares most for what I look like! Funny how life works sometimes.
Anyways let’s get to the story. So I was at my annual check up with my PCP and we were discussing my weight. I expressed that I was just so incredibly sick of putting in all this effort and seeing absolutely no pay off. I was at a loss. I mentioned some interest in trying out a weight loss medication. She gave me a piece of paper with a number on it titled, “Weight Loss Program.” I was somewhere between excited and hopeful, yet hopeless at the same time.
The next day I called the number and I’m not going to lie, it was confusing. Basically they said that there weren’t any appointments available for another month or two. I didn’t understand. Annoyed and confused, I had them put me down and I sort of just forgot about it.
Then one day it all happened. I got the call unexpectedly, next thing I know I’m talking to some lady about my health, my habits, my height and weight. I don’t remember every detail, but I remember this much: she said I qualified for weight loss surgery! WHAT!? Not only was I confused because I was initially only calling for some pills, but I also QUALIFY for SURGERY!? I was mind blown. Maybe even in shock. This surgery fell into my lap and I went along with it!
It started with a bunch of appointments scheduled months out in advance with nutritionists and the psychological doctor, both of which needed to clear me before I could get the surgery. I also had a checklist of things I had to do before surgery. Things like getting back on birth control, quitting vaping, getting a nicotine screening after quitting, doing some labs (blood tests), etc.
One thing I won’t forget however, is the fact that I was in an appointment one day with the nutritionist and I said to her, what if I don’t want the surgery? Can you help me with my nutrition in general? She basically said we’ll get there, but this specific appointment is for the surgery and we’re going over everything for that. I was confused because it felt like they were pushing the surgery on me? To this day, the program confuses me. We never did talk about helping me outside of surgery. I’ll forever think it’s a little odd.
Moving past that initial confusion, through all the appointments and changes I was making in my life, I still wasn’t sure if I was making the right decision or if I should go through with it. It’s such a HUGE life altering decision, and an elective one at that. Another thing that kept stopping me from being sure, is for months at this point I had been changing the way I do things regarding my diet. Instead of fasting every morning like I did for years, I started having a HIGH protein breakfast each morning within an hour of waking up. Not only did I feel better, but I started noticing the scale going down a bit.
This of course made me wonder, WOW! Maybe I can and should do this on my own? I’ve always heard that high protein was good for us, but I always assumed it meant just having a protein shake each day. Boy, was I way off. I started buying all these protein drinks from Amazon, all these high protein snacks and foods. I basically transformed not only what was in my kitchen, but the way I went about my diet. I was getting somewhere between 60-90 grams of protein each day, if not more. I was doing good and for ONCE… seeing a difference.
Now, this is the difficult part. I contemplated over and over again whether or not I should stick with this and leave surgery off the table, after all it comes with risks whereas I could potentially do this naturally, risk FREE. The other option, get the surgery to use as a TOOL for the rest of my life, and continue to implement these changes into my new diet. Let me just say it was one of the biggest, and toughest decisions I’ve ever been forced to make.
Still not knowing if I for sure wanted the surgery or not, I continued on with all my appointments, and continued to check off my to-do list. Slowly but surely the nutritionist and the psych doctor both signed off and approved me. VERY exciting news! Then I had an appointment with the surgeon, this is where things started to get REAL! We went over the procedure, what to expect, and of course all the risks. Honestly? I loved my doctor! He was so amazing from beginning to end. So professional and yet, comforting, funny, kind and down to earth. He made me feel SAFE and that was really important to me.
The next step was getting approved by insurance. I knew this could take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. I was pretty anxious by this point, even irritable. I remember sitting there on the couch thinking I should call my Surgical Coordinator just to check in… and MOMENTS later he called. I couldn’t believe it. MY INSURANCE APPROVED ME! I remember getting goosebumps and shedding some tears of happiness. Wow. This is really happening isn’t it?
If I’m 100% honest, yes I absolutely still had my doubts. I still went back and forth with myself. I opened up to a couple friends who didn’t exactly know much about the surgery, but they knew someone who had a horror story, needless to say they talked me out of it. I decided I was going to put off the surgery another month and try to do it naturally. It was emotional. This was months and months of prep in the works. I felt hopeless, sad, confused, you name it.
Well, I continued to talk to the girls in the support groups I was in on Facebook. Thank God for technology. Just hearing how much I related to them and their struggles… hearing them say their only regret was not doing it sooner… I was back onboard. I understand my friends were just looking out for me and they only knew so much. I knew I had to make this decision for me and only me, not to mention FUTURE me.
…after all was said and done, I’m doing it! I’m getting the surgery!