Weight Loss Surgery - Needing to Lose Weight Before Surgery

05-25-2005, 12:41 PM
I weigh 368 lbs, down from 394 (6 months ago). I have arthritis, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, a suspected but undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, and symptoms of hypothyroid (but no diagnosis), severe sinus/allergy problems, and metabolic syndrome.

I have been on countless diets since the age of 5, and have been morbidly obese most of my life. I finally quit my job when my husband found work in Wisconsin (even though it was less than I was making) where the cost of living was much lower and I could dedicate myself to getting better. We're barely getting by, but it's been worth it. I am getting better, and have recently found that eliminating white flour, white rice, and sugar (but eating whole grains - not an extreme Atkins type diet) is allowing me to lose weight.

My dilemma is that I am at even higher risk for surgery than the norm. I seem to get staph infections very easily (ever since a car accident ten years ago or so, where a little bit of denim got into a scratch and infected badly). I will need blood tests before surgery to make sure I do not have a potassium deficiency (which I've had twice, and can be very dangerous during surgery). I tend to bleed excessively during surgery, even when my arthritis meds were stopped 10 days before surgery (ibuprofen and similar meds thin the blood - Ten days without my arthritis meds were unbearable), and I am an extremely compulsive eater and am afraid I would eventually sabotage myself.

When I was in Illiniois (6 months ago) my doctors, my husband and I decided that surgery was too risky for me at the time because of my breathing difficulties and other risk factors. I've been told that if my health improves and I can get under 350 lbs I can have laproscopic surgery, whch might be slightly less risky for me, but it seems that if I can get to 350, I can get to my goal weight.

I'm just so discouraged because all my searches online of morbid obesity seem to end in surgery. I have found very few stories of people my size losing weight without surgery and none of people needing to lose weight before surgery. It still seems to be such a paradox, I need to lose weight on my own in order to have a surgery that is for people who cannot lose weight on their own.


05-25-2005, 01:00 PM
Hi there!

I just wanted to pipe up and say that it IS possible to lose weight -- a lot of it -- without surgery. That's not to downplay the helpfulness of surgery for some people, I know it is a godsend for some. But, my weight / diet history is similar to yours, although I don't have the medical issues you have. I started Jenny Craig in Sept of 2001 weighing 349. I now weigh 171 and am still going strong. I did it with Jenny Craig and a LOT of other resources such as a few books. I realize that JC may not be possible for you given your finances, but it's simply a balanced plan that follows the USDA recommendations.

I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to continue to lose weight without surgery, making surgery the last resort. Everyone here will tell you that surgery is by no means easy, that you have to do all the same mental and spiritual work as someone who doesn't have it. So, if you feel that you are on the road to doing that type of work, and you can keep going below 350, then by all means do so.

05-25-2005, 01:17 PM
Thanks funniegrrl, I just needed to hear it. I've lost 8 lbs in the last 10 days (which is a record week in the last three years), and I was initially overjoyed, but now I'm starting to panic because I'm thinking about long term when I shouldn't. This is a hormonal week, so I may be overreacting. I also know that the weight loss is mostly water, because I am still eating between 1500 and 2200 calories a day. I'm not overdoing the protein or the fat, just trying to eliminate or limit processed foods. I made tacos the other night for dinner, and I added garbanzo beans (microwaved with a little dry rance dressing mix) to my tacos. Usually I add a little tvp (dry soy granules from the health food store rehydratred with hot water) to my lean ground beef (1/4 to 1/3 tvp in relation to hamburger). My husband won't eat pure tvp, but he will eat ground beef "diluted" in this way.

My husband is supportive, but he works night shifts, so I'm usually up while he sleeps, so it's a little like being single during the week.

My motivation is each bit of health I will be able to reclaim, just a bit anxious I guess that I'll fail again (hormones again I think).

05-25-2005, 01:32 PM
oh honey - i really feel for you. how about if we just don't think about the 'how much i have to lose right now' issue and stick with the 'day by day, meal by meal' part? and let's just not even think about the surgery for right now.

i'm a little surprised that you mention sleep apnea, but not the CPAP machine that goes along with it. do you have one? are you using it?

any weight loss will help the apnea, but the flip side of it is that the CPAP will help the weight loss!!! that's how i lost 97 pounds BEFORE the surgery.

you are gradually - step by step - reclaiming your life. and you're doing a fabulous job of it.

the surgical route will be there if you decide that it's the right thing for you, but funniegrl is so right about needing to do all the same things that someone who loses the old fashioned way does.

so, hang out with us!!! and by the way, none of the issues you listed will PREVENT you from having the surgery. they're things that modern medicine can control, but it does make any surgery you would have more 'interesting.' whatever you do beforehand will make it less 'interesting,'

good for you!!!!

05-25-2005, 04:58 PM
Thanks jiffypop, your post helps alot. I am definitely tired of life being interesting! Never thought I'd say that, being a bit of a mental adventurer, but I've had enough adventure in the last five years to last a lifetime. (Career turn around, meeting my husband, marrying my husband, a breast cancer scare, breast surgery to remove a benign tumor, tons of medical tests and only a few answers, two sinus surgeries, new drugs, my husband losing his job, a bankrupty due to medical expenses and the job loss, problems at work due to my illness and absences, quitting, a broken foot that the doctors said wasn't broken, moving to Wisconsin, finding out the foot was broken, filing for disability, being denied disability, trying to decide whether to appeal...)

It's been a rollercoaster, and I can still say that I'm much less stressed than I was six months ago.

I have been using the CPAP for a year now, and it has literally saved my life. I've only been without it for three or four nights. One because both nostrils were plugged (I use the nose pillow headgear) and three because my headgear broke and I was waiting for a replacement in the mail. Before being diagnosed, I was awake only for work (and barely then). I was sleeping about 15 hours a day, and wanting to sleep the other 9. I would fall asleep on the way to work, and on the way back (luckily my husband was driving). I haven't driven more than a couple times (less than a mile each time) in about a year and a half. I still don't trust myself because of the drowsiness and distraction that I still sometimes have.

I still have a bit of a sleep disorder (sort of part and parcel of the fibro) and tend to wake every few hours. Also a biproduct of the weight, as pain often wakes me from lying on an arm until it has fallen asleep, but it is nice not to feel sleepy every moment of the day.

I am trying to keep this about the present. These diet changes make each day better. The lower carb increases my energy and decreases my pain. Reason enough to keep it up whether I lose weight or not. Portion control prevents "food coma," and I feel better. If I eat to maintain my daily well-being, weight loss is going to be a side effect, so I really don't have to worry about it directly. I have to fight my urge to overanalyze and "borrow trouble." The support here really is a lifeline.

05-25-2005, 05:07 PM
I am trying to keep this about the present. These diet changes make each day better. The lower carb increases my energy and decreases my pain. Reason enough to keep it up whether I lose weight or not. Portion control prevents "food coma," and I feel better. If I eat to maintain my daily well-being, weight loss is going to be a side effect, so I really don't have to worry about it directly.

Every person trying to lose weight should have this engraved on their forehead.

I've said it many many times, in almost exactly those words: Losing weight (and maintaining) is a side effect of leading a healthy life -- physically, mentally, spiritually. The goal is the LIFE, not the weight. Do what you need to do because it's the right thing to do -- the weight loss will take care of itself. Focus not on the pounds and the scale and the inches and the timetables, but the act of living.

05-25-2005, 05:29 PM
oh funniegrrll. too bad there's no more room in my sig - 'focus not on the poiunds and the scale and the inches and the timetable, but the act of living.'

absolute brilliant wisdom!!!!

kaplods... you are a hero. it's that simple. after all you've endured, and all you've done, it's time to breathe, literally. give yourself that time. it's a much-needed gift.

and it'll pay off. i was bedridden and on oxygen before the surgery, and now, i'm here to tell you that the wild blueberry bushes, the wild blackberries, and the wild raspberries are all in bloom right now. i know because i saw them. while hiking. along with wild turkeys, a bear, several hawks, a few fauns, and a pileated woodpecker.

05-25-2005, 10:04 PM
Oh you both are so right. My husband and I were working to support our incomes. The more we earned, the more we spent (and still weren't living lavishly). Since we could afford everything we needed, we never even thought about what could happen if one or both of us lost our job. The bankruptcy was both the worst and best thing that ever happened to us. We are living a very simple life now. We don't have money for many extras, with almost 25% of my husband's take home pay going to our medical expenses (untaxed thankfully due to a great medical savings account program at his work). If it weren't for his medical insurance and the savings account, we couldn't afford our medications let alone doctors visits, supplies, and treatments. We've even switched to two TracPhones (pay for minutes in advance at about .03 per minute no matter where you call).

Still, our lives are better than they ever have been. We live in a beautiful part of the country, and there are so many adventures available free (or nearly, even with today's gas prices). Our stress levels have plummeted, and we feel optimistic about the future.

I've even found many options for physical play (sounds and feels better than the hated word exercise). In the past, swimming was the only exercise that I enjoyed, but when the arthritis and fibromyalgia worsened, I couldn't even enjoy the water anymore. There's a warm water therapy pool near our new home, and it is wonderful. A referal from the doctor and only $3.00 a visit ($3.50 for my husband and I to go together). It is like a mini spa vacation. We've also taken up geocaching (www.geocaching.com explains it all). My husband was given a GPS (tracking) devise for his birthday and we go into the wooded areas (or sometimes even city parks) near our home and look for little treasures other geocachers have hidden (usually a logbook and a few trinkets for trade -- we leave plastic frogs).

I am loving my life. I've never been one to believe that my life will begin when I'm thin or when I've saved a certain amount of money... I know better. But I do know how when you're stressed physically or mentally, it is very easy to give up everything you enjoy just to maintain your hope for a life someday.

06-04-2005, 07:44 AM
Hi Kaplods

You've done an amazing job so far :bravo:

My hightest weight was over 300 lbs, I never really knew how high exactly. At one point in my life I got down to 150 lbs. I managed to keep the weight off for over 10+ years. I too have struggled since I was about 8 years old with being over weight, I was the heaviest one in my school growing up. I had a major set back which I've gained about 80 lbs back :( . I too have arthritis and just recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure (b/c of higher weight). I have DDD in the spine and bone spirs. Exercising is a real chore for me at this weight.

My sister who was over 425 lbs is losing weight. She is now about 280 lbs and still going strong. She is eating healthy and exercising more by going on slow walks and just moving around the house. She looks WONDERFUL and I am so proud of her. I never thought I'd have my sister back (God is Good) :)

This is a wonderful site and I have no doubt that the ladies here can help you on your journey.


06-10-2005, 06:46 PM
I recently picked up the book (which you could likely find at your local library) Body for Life for Women. I am finding it to be an excellent resource for how to LIVE...not diet. Eat several small, balanced meals a day (every 2-3 hours), drink plenty of water, take your vitamins & exercise. I am finding it very rewarding...especially the energy I have from the exercise & mini meals, which I suspect aren't much different than post WSL way of eating (lots of small meals all day long). You are right on target regarding eliminating the "white stuff" from your diet...way to go!!!! Keep up the whole grains, veggies, lean protein, and fruit. Good luck! :)