It was January 2012 when I stepped onto the scale and saw my weight at 375 pounds. Again I was rebounding upward to my previous high of 400 lbs. I knew; I [i]know[/i]- the deal with the yo-yo effect. I remembered the latest campaign, a vegetable juice fast I did for 5 weeks between August and September (2011) that dropped my weight 43 lbs (bringing me down to about 350) and left me with the best blood chemistry my Dr.(primary) had seen in years. I felt great. October, November, December.. and I was back again. Gaining weight fast hurts physically, and being in my 43rd year in 2012 I was feeling the impact more than I ever had before.
About 7 years ago my primary had suggested bariatric surgery (roux en y) being an endocrinologist and very aware of the tendency toward diabetes, heart disease, etc. But I was critical of a surgical solution to what I believed to be a behavioral issue. I remember being mildly surprised- maybe even offended- and a bit condescending in my reply. As if I were above this kind of help. It must be frustrating for doctors, particularly endocrinologists, when it comes to treating morbid obesity. I continued the lemming mindset of running away from the problem and proceeded to live my life on a â€˜best effortâ€™ basis.
Having gone ten pounds up and five pounds back for 10 years in my twenties, then twenty pounds up and ten pounds back for 10 years in my thirties, I am 43 and tired. I am pre-diabetic, I take two separate pills to manage my blood pressure, my cholesterol is questionable and I am dependent upon my CPAP machine for meaningful sleep. I cannot move the way I used to, and I was beginning to get scared.
I cannot be honest and say that I have reviewed the associated statistics for comorbidities and lifespan prior to entering into the bariatric process. I found out what my insurance covered and saw Johns Hopkins and Penn Medicine. By the time my Johns Hopkins online pre-assessment was returned, I had already completed my first informational session at Penn Medicine. My surgeon, Amy Cha (Penn Presbyterian), had presented the options and I saw the mortality data associated with my situation.
This launched me into a reading frenzy on morbid obesity and I began to understand where my downward spiral would eventually get me. I looked at my family history, my lifestyle and my current responsibilities ($) and I could see the trajectory of my future given continued avoidance. If I do not lose the vast majority of the excess weight and maintain the loss, I would likely be diabetic within the year. From there it would be the same best-effort lifestyle, losing and gaining until I got insulin dependent. Then I would continue to deteriorate while the doctors continue to patch the leaks in my health.
Bariatric surgery appears to be a help. A big help, it seems, but it is not a fix. It is simply an appliance that facilitates a significant and deliberate behavioral change in the user. It is not an easy decision, but it is a statistically supported one. I made my decision knowing that I can more easily work through the lifestyle changes and deal with the emotional eating behavior alone, without the physiological sensations. If you are reading this, and are considering this course of action, please talk to people that have gone through it at any of the available user groups. Speak anonymously if necessary, but be honest. You are not a special case, and you will be surprised how many people are similar w/ regard to emotional overeating and other eating disorders. Doctors are important for this information, but also talk to post-ops to get the real deal w/ regard to personal impacts.
From February through May I have been through the various medical consults in the Perelman Center for my prequalification. Having not really engaged many hospitals, I continue to be very impressed with the efficiency of the processes and people there. I have had the ultrasound, x-rays, upper GI, upper endoscopy, EKG, blood panel and pulmonary tests. I had my psychological interview and nutritional classes, and finally my surgery on 5/31/2012.
As I write this I am 5 days post-op, and very pleased with the surgical experience as a whole. I will not be posting a rolling weight, as I prefer to get weighed in at the doctors office on a monthly or bimonthly basis.
Height: 5 feet 11 inches
Starting Weight: 390 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery:
Current Weight: 296 lbs
Goal Weight: 200 lbs
Weight Lost: 94 lbs
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 02/14/2012
Surgery Date: 05/31/2012
Hospital Stay: 2 Days
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: 1st Letter Approval
feszyk's Bariatric Surgeon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104