Weight Loss Surgery - My intro ... (a bit long ... sorry)




VeggyMom
11-30-2005, 11:12 PM
My name is Carole and I've registered here before (but can't remember my login and my email address has changed so I re-registered).

I am a 36 year-old wife and stay-at-home/homeschooling mom to one amazingly great daughter Bree (9) and wife to Tom for 11 years.

I am quite happy and love my life ... except for one minor problem. I weight 300 pounds. I'm 5'7" and I have a BMI of 47. Okay, so it isn't such a minor problem. I've tried WW and treatment by a bariatric physician that included appetite suppressants and a very caloric restricted diet. I've also done Nutrisystem, SlimFast and over the counter appetite suppresants with ephedra.

All I've ever managed to do is get fatter.

My GYN and my parents have long been asking me to consider weight loss surgery of some sort. My long standing answer has been, "No way!" The idea of surgery scared me silly and I kept thinking I could do it on my own. Not that there was anythign wrong with surgical options but I just wasn't willing to even think about it until it was clear that there was no other way.

I have a wonderful dear friend who recently had the duodenal switch surgery last month. That got me thinking about surgery again. I am ready to admit that I don't think I can do this on my own. I've made some very good changes to my diet (healthier foods, more whole foods less junk foods) and I've lost some weight (about 10 pounds in the last month and a half) but I find that I am still eating too much - even the best foods eaten in excess will cause weight gain.

I'm starting to think that I might need some extra help. I'm starting to think that surgery might be the additional nudge I need.

As I read more about the various types of surgery there is really only one that doesn't scare me stupid and that is the adjustable gastric banding (Lap-Band).

My husband and parents also feel most comfortable with the banding procedure.

I'll be making an appointment for a seminar for a local bariatric surgeon (who has had the Lap-Band surgery himself) for next month.

I hope to learn more by reading your posts and getting to know you all.

Nice to meet you,

Carole


DancingAngel
12-01-2005, 02:51 PM
Hi, Carole! I'm glad you are proceeding cautiously as you consider surgical options. Obviously it's not for everybody, but it is a life saver for some!

I had gastric stapling many years ago. I was 305 pounds and at 5'1" very morbidly obese. For me, the surgery was ultimately successful, but it took many years to arrive at my current weight. I did have some complications. I would do it again, but the road was long and hard! I do believe that successful long-term weight loss is a tough journey, no matter how it is acheived. Today I enjoy far better health than I deserve, having put my body through many years of abuse by stuffing it with too many calories.

My only caution to you is, as you see this surgeon, please don't let him "talk you into" anything! There is a segment of the WLS industry that is a bit hard-sell! Apparently, it is a lucrative field and there is much money to be made from the hopes and dreams of those afflicted by obesity! I say this because you have expressed healthy reservations about having the surgery, and you are just now dipping your toe into the waters. So go with an open mind, but keep those reservations and continue to be ruled by your own common sense. It sounds like you have plenty going for you.

Welcome, and I hope you'll keep us up-to-date on your journey, whichever path you choose.

Chickadee
12-01-2005, 04:08 PM
Hi Carole,

I'm one of the resident bandsters at 3FC. I love my band. It has changed my life. I was at the point in my life where I knew if I was ever going to get healthy, I needed help. The band has been a wonderful answer to my problems.

That being said, there are still moments where I hate the damn thing, but they are few and far between. There have been a few times where I wished I had had bypass surgery instead because my weight loss is pretty slow and frankly, the quicker loss that RNY patients experience is enticing. But, when I stand back and look at how much my life has changed, I'm thrilled.

I haven't been on a scale lately, but at last count I was down 87 pounds. More importantly, I am in really, really great shape because I work out almost every day. I haven't dieted, but have tried to make healthy choices. Trust me, it doesn't always happen! I am probably going to do some sort of diet to kick start my weight loss soon, but definitely don't have my panties in a wad over it either.

I am happy to help with any band questions you may have. Make sure you go to Obesity Help and read all the posts on the Lap Band forum. I learned a lot there when I was researching. I'll bet the seminar will really educational too.

Good luck and let us know how it goes,
Chickadee


jiffypop
12-01-2005, 10:35 PM
great post, veggy!!!!! you're doing the research, and asking questions, and thinking about how surgery will affect your life - you're doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS to make the right decision FOR YOU. as everyone says, we've had our battles, but we're ok. some aren't so lucky. unfortunately.

soooo, we're glad to see you - and we're with you all the way, no matter what you decide..

VeggyMom
12-02-2005, 07:50 PM
Thanks everyone. I am a bit overwhelmed by all of the information that there is to absorb. And of course now that I am reading it from the "I think this surgery may be what I need" point of view and not the "gee I'm curious but it isn't for me" point of view it is all so much more meaningful and somewhat scary.

There are small parts of me that balk at the changes that I know I will have to make. For instance I keep reading about people having trouble eating bread (especially dense chewy breads) after the Lap-Band surgery. The mental image of giving up bread is hard for me since my husband is a world-class artisan bread baker. On some level the idea being unable to eat his handiwork ... or worse yet asking him to give up a much love hobby to avoid tempting me with what I may be unable to have ... seems really hard.

I'm also contemplating the difficulty of post-surgical dietary restrictions as an ethical vegan. I can't eat sugar-free gelatin because I don't eat gelatin at all. Broths and soups that are made from animals are out.

And most of my protein comes from the wonderful but fiber filled beans and whole grains that some people have warned me might be tough to eat.

All of these considerations never really weighed in with me before because my knowledge of the surgeries was all academic. Now it is something to be viewed as a potential reality.

At times I am willing to say, "I'll do anything!" but at other times I am simply scared. Which to my friends and family makes me sound completely off my rocker but hopefully to those who are making or have made similar decisions it sounds more normal than it feels.

Thank you all again for your warm welcome.

jiffypop
12-02-2005, 10:29 PM
protein supplements!!!!! many are soy based. tofu is a great thing. it's just that many people don't like it. i have to emphasize that many of these issues are TEMPORARY. you will have to avoid certain things for awhile, but chances are you will get them back. there's no rule that you MUST eat gelatin. it's just that we need to have a soft/liquid diet right after surgery and gelatin is one of those things that fit in.

you will have to be EXTRA careful to get in the protein you need without the carb load, however. there are ways to do it, but you'll have to be alert and pay attention and read labels carefully.

and you will have to experiment with what works for YOU. let's talk about bread. it might be difficult at first. and frankly, even almost 4 years out, i have trouble with soft spongy breads. that doughy-iness just gets stuck.

but i love CRUST. and breads with TEXTURE on the inside work fine, especially toasted.

bottom line, after a certain amount of time - a year, maybe a little more, depending on your situation - what works best for all of us is: a little extra protein, veggies, unprocessed grains, and supplements.

the question is: can you accept the temporary restrictions? will you view this as deprivation or opportunity? attitude counts for a lot.

sooooooooo. i'm delighted to see your questions, and to read your concerns. KEEP THEM COMING!!!! you're on the way to making the right decision for yourself....

VeggyMom
12-03-2005, 09:56 AM
Jiffypop -

Thank you!

I was writing in my journal last night and thinking about my post and it hit me - an epiphany of sorts I suppose.

Yes there will be changes. But those changes are not so different from those I would have to make to loose weight without surgery. I mean I have 150 pounds to loose. That isn't the type of weight you loose by eating salads for a week and adding an extra 15 minutes on the treadmill.

This is a drastic situation and I will have to take some drastic steps toward change if I am going to win this battle.

To try and convince myself otherwise is to act like a petulant child.

I worry about not being able to enjoy eating after surgery.

I suppose what I should be asking myself is which would I rather have:

Unrestrained enjoyment in eating? Or unrestrained enjoyment in living?

Leenie
12-03-2005, 10:06 AM
Hi Carole, its nice to meet you.

There's not much I can really say because the others have already said it all :lol3:

One thing you have to realize is, every one is different, so if some can't tollerate bread, you might be able to. If and when you go for the band, the surgeon will send you to a nutritionalist and you can talk to them about your concerns of getting the proper protein, so don't let this worry you, not until you have all the info you need. Don't worry about eating, you will enjoy it again after surgery. It just takes a few weeks to let your innards heal.

I'm really happy to hear you are researching the heck out of this but remember, do whats right for you and don't let anyone pressure you into doing something your not ready for.

Hugs and kisses to you, and good luck with your decision.

VeggyMom
12-03-2005, 10:38 AM
Leenie,

You are right, of course. And when I'm being logical and rational I know you, and Jiffy and everyone else who is sane, are right. I just start getting emotional - especiall about eating - and then I stop being logical and I freak myself out.

This is my normal pattern for every decision I make, from buying cars to choosing shoes. So I guess I should not expect deciding on WLS to be any different. :D

Leenie
12-03-2005, 06:28 PM
LOL, I'm the same way and when your ready you'll know it.