Years ago... a little girl began a medication regimen which caused drastic changes in her metabolism, hormones, eating habits, and general life... Nobody told my parents to watch my diet and that I shouldn't be on these medications for a long time, they kept me on them for 12 years. Over those 12 years, that little girl turned into a very... big girl.
When I was 10, several years into the weight gain... the kids in school and people around me... including teachers/adults... began taunting me for my weight. I started using diet pills (a pill called Yellow Jackets)... which most likely did more damage than they did anything good because I don't remember losing any weight... if anything I stopped gaining for a while. It was at this same time, I developed anorexia and a severe compulsion to count calories and heavily monitor food. I would, however, have moments when I wasn't feeling anxiety or thinking about my weight. It didn't help that I was surrounded by family obesity and family members, like my maternal grandma, who from the age of 3 or 4 would make me 4-5 grilled cheese sandwiches or two boxes of macaroni and cheese... Never once occurring to her that a child will continue to eat regardless of satiety or fullness.
Over the years I had rapid cycles of anorexia and then heavy overloads of food. I struggled with deep depression and the development of bipolar disorder... add in I was the child of two borderline parents and grandchild of a borderline grandmother. I was psychologically abused by my mother... told how disgusting I was.
In 2001, at 13, my mom who at her heaviest weighed 450 had weight loss surgery (RNY) - she would taunt me endlessly about how she would be skinnier than I was. It cut me to the core. I remember at 14 submitting an application to the hospital she had her surgery at (OSU in Ohio) for the surgery and I was devastated when they told me they couldn't do it because of my age... that despite the fact I qualified... I was too young and to try to lose weight on my own.
I wasn't in an environment that supported me losing weight... my anorexia phases grew into longer phases and I would often wind up passing out at school and was always in pain... When I could take it no longer I would eat everything in sight. I was in full hypomanic mode from 13 to about 20 years old and during that time when my mania was at its worst... I would just eat and eat and eat.
By high school graduation I was at my heaviest, 388. I lost down to 245 after high school because I lived on my own and had absolutely no money or food. All those years of denying myself food made hunger and near starvation an easy thing to handle. I spent years being homeless, couch surfing and doing whatever I had to for food. I was still heavy... but my weight constantly bounced up and down depending on my living situation.
Years went by and my weight constantly changed... I had children... my body changed. In 2015, I fell... right as I found out I was pregnant with my youngest/last child. The combination of the injury sustained and the pregnancy turned me into a complete (IMO) invalid. I could not walk, could not stand for more than a few moments, often times would lose control of my own bladder (with no warnings). Doctors refused to help me because of my weight.
I decided to apply for weight loss surgery again and I knew it would be a long road before I could even have the surgery. I was willing to do whatever I needed to do. However, nobody thought I was doing anything during my 9 month weight management... even though the work I was doing was the most important... working on my mental state with my therapist and psychiatrist. To me, that was more important than losing weight pre-surgery. My PCP was very anti-obesity and very anti-me... Constantly making me feel like I was lying and not doing enough to lose weight because I gained or was the same weight... but the reality was... I was doing everything my bariatric team told me to do. It's also really difficult to do anything when walking from your couch to the bathroom is the same exertion as running a marathon. Yet, nobody seemed to care.
I trucked along... got my approval... got the surgery. The surgeon I had originally chosen was the same one who performed my mom's surgery years prior... but as it turned out, he would not be my surgeon due to a scheduling conflict. I didn't meet my surgeon until the day of my surgery and she was fantastic. Dr. Noria was truly a wonderful surgeon and is a wonderful person. She did such a beautiful job and gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give me back... my mobility. She helped set me free from the prison I ate myself into.
The weight just fell off at first... Then around 4 months out I noticed a pattern... Stall for 3 weeks, lose for 1... rinse and repeat. Around 7 months out, I stalled for almost 3 months and I am now losing again. This is the only thing that has ever annoyed me about having the surgery, but that is my body... my body is weird like that.
I have, however, reclaimed my life. I can walk, run, play, skip, dance, etc... I can take my kids to parks, museums, the zoo, etc... I can do anything and everything I want. I have lost almost 155 lbs in 10 months since surgery and I have found the life I thought I had lost. Most importantly as the weight came off, the pain came off... not just the physical pain but the mental pain. I spent months and months working on myself... working on all those past hurts that caused me to spiral into morbid obesity... I am a different person today than I was when I was a 10 year old popping Yellow Jackets... and I'm a different person than I was a year ago, unable to walk and wondering when she was going to give up.
I thought I would share my time line for the actual process which took me around 18 months give or take to complete for the surgery to come to fruition. I am coming up on my year out and I am hoping to hit my goal of 180. I'm so close I can taste it.
June 13, 2016 - Referral to Weight Loss Surgery Seminar @ Ohio State University by PCP
July 26, 2016 - Attended Seminar
Nov 03, 2016 - Submitted application to begin weight loss surgery process
Dec 19, 2016 - Entry Psych Eval (All patients have to pass a consult w/ MMPI psych eval prior to entry into the program)
Jan 2017 - Therapist pushed referral to see psychiatrist to discuss medications
Mar 14, 2017 - First of 9 monthly PCP visits per insurance
Mar 20, 2017 - Second Psych Eval @ OSU - Passed and entered program
April 5, 2017 - Initial visit with at bariatric clinic with dietitian and nurse practitioner ALSO required EKG and labs
May 2, 2017 - Required Endoscopy to check for h. Pylori (negative results)
May 3, 2017 - 2 of 9 PCP visits
June 7, 2017 - Dietitian follow up
June 8, 2017 - 3 of 9 PCP visits
June 19, 2017 - Cardiology Clearance
July 13, 2017 - 4 of 9 PCP visits
July 30, 2017 - Initial Psychiatrist appt for Mood stabilizers
Aug 16, 2017 - 5 of 9 PCP visits
Sept 14, 2017 - 6 of 9 PCP visits
Sept 9, 2017 - Pulmonary clearance (I have thrombophelia)
Oct 2, 2017 - Gastroenterology Clearance (I had Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome)
Oct 3, 2017 - Required sleep Study (passed... no apnea) *Had I had apnea I would have then began 6 months of mandatory CPAP usage, followed by another sleep study, etc... this would have extended the 9 month requirement well into 15+ months)
Oct 18, 2017 - 7 of 9 PCP visits
Oct 25, 2017 - Dietitian follow up
Nov 22, 2017 - 8 of 9 PCP visits
Nov 29, 2017 - Dietitian follow up
Dec 12, 2017 - Third Required Psych Eval (Psych Eval had to be within 6 months of surgery so a third one was required)
Dec 12, 2017 Required "Life After Surgery" consult with nurse practitioner *Required my program NOT insurance
Dec 19, 2017 Dietitian follow up
Dec 21, 2017 Required "Life After Surgery" consult with family (husband plus children) with dietitian and nurse practioner. *Required by my program NOT insurance
Dec 27, 2017 9 of 9 PCP visits - ALL paperwork was submitted on this day to insurance including 5 years of weight history (I had to get records from other doctors where applicable and email them to the patient coordinator)
> Began 4 weekly online video conference courses on "Life After Surgery" that had to be completed as a requirement of program
Jan 4, 2018 Insurance Approval!!! Surgery tentatively scheduled for 1/31/18
Jan 15, 2018 Began Liver Shrink Diet (5 Protein Shakes, 1 300/cal or less frozen meal, 1 salad, 1 small fruit, unlimited non-starch veg)
Jan 23, 2018 Initial meeting with surgeon PLUS dietitian follow up > Surgeon was changed the next day due to scheduling conflict
Jan 29, 2018 - Pre-Op Assessment with anesthesiologist, blood typing, and labs
Jan 31, 2018 - Surgery Day!
Height: 5 feet 8 inches
Starting Weight: 367 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery: 362.7 lbs
Current Weight: 215 lbs
Goal Weight: 180 lbs
Weight Lost: 152 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Bypass
Surgery Status: Losing Weight
First Dr. Visit: 11/30/2016
Surgery Date: 01/31/2018
Hospital Stay: 3 Days
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: 1st Letter Approval
Raptor_Mom's Bariatric Surgeon
4700 I-10 Service Road West
Medical Office Bldg - Suite 100
Metairie, Louisiana 70001