It’s Fall of 2012. I have no hope (see previous post). I will be overweight (and not just a little, but severely… FOREVER). And then…
I read an article somewhere that stated that only 5% of those who lose a significant amount of weight (more than 50 lbs maybe?) are able to keep the weight off, long-term, on their own. FIVE PERCENT!!! NINETY-FIVE PERCENT gain it all back, and usually more. It went on to explain that the yo-yo dieting is actually worse on your body than just being overweight.
So what did facing this reality do for me? Well, I can tell you what it DIDN’T do. It didn’t make me happy. It did confirm that I really would likely be overweight forever. It didn’t make me content to just stay overweight, even if in the end, that was healthier (relatively speaking, obviously). It did make me feel even more desperate, because I have diabetes in my family and very young son who I’d like to be around for. It didn’t make me feel better knowing I wasn’t alone in not being able to keep the weight off, although it did explain why I was unsuccessful, over and over again.
In the end, it made me realize that I had to find something to help me. Because did you catch the end of the key sentence up there? …on their own. They don’t keep the weight off on their own. So what exactly did that mean?
Well, I happened to have a friend who had undergone bariatric surgery about 6 months earlier. She had what is called a “mini bypass”. Now, I don’t know what the exact difference is between that and a full-on gastric bypass, but I did know that I wouldn’t be a candidate for either of those surgeries because I am already anemic due to a inherited blood disorder (thalassemia), so anything that altered the digestive track and led to malabsorption was a bad idea for me.
That being said, seeing how amazing she looked and being fairly envious of her success, I decided to do some half-hearted research to see if it actually would work for me. Of course, my suspicions were quickly confirmed and in fact, it stated that any surgeon worth his salt likely wouldn’t even approve me for the surgery.
BUT!! While googling and searching, I did come across a different procedure that I had never heard of before. It didn’t alter the digestive track, so no malabsorption: the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric sleeve. This procedure involves the removal of a large part of the stomach. The new, smaller stomach is about the size of a banana and it permanently limits the amount of food you can eat. Say what?
I admit I was highly intrigued. 1) No altering of the digestive track, so I would continue to benefit from the nutrients in the foods eaten! I might qualify for this!!! What’s that spark I’m feeling? Hope? 2) The “stretchy” part of the stomach is removed, meaning no more massive overeating and stretching it back out (that is not to say you can’t stretch it back out… more on that later). 3) The procedure limits the amount of ghrelin (hunger hormone) production, which is mainly produced in the portion of the stomach that would be removed. Are you kidding me? Could that hope being gaining momentum? 💖 4) The surgery is done laparoscopically, which has a much quicker recovery time and is much less invasive.
Of course, there were drawbacks. One, the surgery is irreversible. Now, I honestly don’t know how much of a drawback that really is, because I don’t know why one would want to reverse it, but either way, there it is. It’s considered a drawback. Two, patients generally lose less (around 60% of their excess weight) than with a gastric bypass. Three, I was not considered morbidly obese (though I felt it), so insurance would not cover it. I would have to pay on my own for the procedure.
But interestingly, I’ve always been fairly anti-weight loss surgery. I really don’t even know why!! Probably because of the stigma I’ve heard about people taking “the easy way out”, etc. But other than that, I can’t pinpoint a single reason I was against it.
And the more I continued to research, I was convinced this was the way to go for me. I realized just how low my chances of actually succeeding without it were. I had researched the best doctors, not only in the country, but in the WORLD, at performing the procedure and it was actually low risk, as far as surgeries go.
I made the decision to go for it!! After all, what did I have to lose other than weight?
To be continued…