- Birthday 02/10/1976
Why I got the Lap Band....
It has been a journey for sure....
I've had a weight problem since Junior High School, though I thought I had a weight problem my entire life because I have a twin sister who has always been smaller than myself. I was a healthy 7 lb baby, she was only 3 lbs. So my family always always called me the chubby one. In truth, we were malnourished as children and starved. Severely starved, and at the age of 3 looked little ethiopian children. That history and discussion has helped me learn a lot about myself and my eating habits.
I've always been a fairly interdependent person, a go getter, and not ashamed of my size. Everyone around me said, "You don't act or move like a fat person'. I took jobs that were extremely strenuous without many difficulties.
I haven't had good health throughout my life. Severe depression since young adulthood. Then Graves disease (hyper-thyroidism) at age 18, which was not recognized or treated until I was 20. My eyes were bulging out of my head, I nearly lost my son because of the effects it can have on pregnancy, and my heart pounding out of my chest. I suffered from this for 2 years before anyone figured it out.
Most of the issues I've had healthwise I have had to solve for myself.
I started growing a beard as a teenager, and not until I was 24 did I get diagnosed and treated for polycystic ovarian syndrome, because I had researched it, and a sister in law had been diagnosed. I even had to educate doctors and pharmacists on the alternative to hormone treatment. I found I cannot take hormones (birth control). I did however start taking diabetes medication which helped it some. No one ever talked about insulin resistance, no one ever talked about diet. These things I now know and am educating others, and the young women in our family.
I followed doctors orders on my thyroid condition and had it radiated (killed). If I could go back and undo that I would. Likewise I have taken anti-depressants for years, 1 of which caused me to gain 50lbs.... TWICE. So by 30 I am weighing 300 lbs. and am having more health issues. I was initially interested in bypass surgery, scheduled an appointment, took time off from work to travel to the appt. and then learned they wanted $300. I cancelled the appointment and it was out of the picture, though always in my mind.
I broke my leg at work in 2006 and it started me down the road to the worst place I've ever been in life.
2 years and 5 surgeries later, I was sitting close to 350lbs. I struggled and began water aerobics, I went to therapy, and I could lose 15-20 pounds, and then the doctor would say, your thyroid is too low. You just can't continue to lose weight when your thyroid is out of whack all the time, not to mention how terrible it makes you feel.
After my final leg surgery I thought... OK, let's get back in the game despite the loss of stamina and strength. But I suddenly became VERY ILL. Stomach pain so bad I laid in bed for days at a time, diahreah so bad I couldn't leave my home, couldn't keep going to water aerobics. I became a shut in, suffering psychologically as well as physically.
At it's worst I was in the bathroom 30 times a day, if my stomach was empty I would literally fall to the floor as if every ounce of energy and strength left my body, like a freight train had hit me in the stomach, but every time I ate, even one bite I would run for the bathroom. I clocked my GI tract and found it took most foods 45 minutes to go from my mouth to my anus. Having no insurance made it impossible to find out what the problem was.
Then the doctors told me I was diabetic. For 2 1/2 years I struggled with the stomach cramping, the diahrea, the pain, and horrific migraine headaches. Then finally a colonscopy and a doctor with no time told me I have a rare condition called Eosinophilic Colitis. He said there was nothing he could do for me, try not to eat dairy products, good luck.
I'll never see him again. So although I now knew what the problem was, I really had no help in deciding how to deal with it. Every single day was agony, having to eat, being sick from not eating, being sick from eating. It became something like when you put your hand on a hot stove. You only do that once or twice before you learn your lesson. The problem being, I couldn't NOT eat. I learned through so much trial and error that I am allergic to so much food. Chicken, eggs, they cause me the most trouble out of everything. My husband went away to work out of town, and the kids said they were sick of chicken. So for 3 weeks we didn't have chicken, and one day I woke and had a normal bowel movement. Something I hadn't had for 2 years. I was confounded at first, and then it happened again and again. Then I realized I was having fewer headaches. Not headaches that lasted 6 weeks at a time. I tested myself, and yes... Chicken is not my friend in any way.
It was during this terrible time that I began considering the Lap Band. While taking 20 pills a day and feeling so sick, I knew I had to find a solution. Over the last year I've learned many things that make my life easier. I cannot eat all the foods everyone else does. I am totally allergic to most things. It was difficult to get to this point, so many times my doctor brushed me off, and it was horribly difficult to get approval from the insurance company. I waited nearly a year for all this to finally happen.
But I did it FINALLY!!! I look forward to the Lap Band making it less necessary for me to consume food. I am fine and happy with 1 bite of something amazing as opposed to an entire pot of mac n cheese. I learned to avoid the most common American foods as they have so little flavor and are so very unhealthy.
However, I couldn't give up eating before. Damned if I did, damned if I didn't. So getting this Lap Band is really more than just a weight loss tool for me. It is a means to manage an incurable disease, and get off much of the meds required by my obesity.
After 2 weeks on the liquid diet, being completely honest with myself in removing all sugars, I was able to drop 7 diabetes pills and I no longer take insulin. Just that feat in itself has been a GREAT boost. I know that I will feel better when I am thinner, I will live longer, I will enjoy my life actively instead of passively, and I will manage my colitis much easier.
What I am struggling with is in fact the hunger in my head still. Which I find can be dealt with better by talking about it.
Because I was starved so much growing up, and even as an adult... I realize the psychological fear of being without food and the role that plays in my choices. Because I starved so much in my life I also learned to eat what I could when it was available. That created a terrible pattern of behavior. I was the girl at the party just for the food. I can change that behavior.
I can now make decisions about food based on preference, need, and whether I have allergy or not. Not based on that insatiable craving that could NEVER be satisfied. I've said for years that when I was eating for my fear that everything tasted like cardboard.
I am afraid at times now, it has been 2 days since surgery, I feel horrible, I'm in a lot of pain, my head is hungry because of this fear. I've read so many complaints people have about their lapbands, and I am afraid. But I also know this decision was about finding a way to deal with my illnesses, and that I want to be alive and active in my children's lives. I never knew my father, he died at the age of 32. He was extremely obese. I'm now 35, I can't push the envelope any further, and certainly I do not want to eat myself to death and be miserable every moment of it because of the colitis.
I can make this work.!!!