I have been doing research on WLS for a couple of years now. I admit it - there was a time a few years ago that I thought WLS was the "cheaters" way out of being overweight. But then I took a long hard look at my weight struggles and decided that it might be the answer for me. I found a surgeon. I attended a bariatric seminar in November. I talked to friends who have had the WLS themselves. I met with the surgeon I had chosen on December 6th, 2016. Yesterday, (12/20/2016), my doctor's office called and scheduled my WLS for January 25th, 2017. Over the course of the day, I scheduled the day to start my liver shrinking surgery (January 9th), the day I have to do all my pre-op testing (January 12th) and the day I talk to my surgeon, Dr Brient, next (January 17th). I also realized that my surgery is only about a month away now... so I made a decision.
I've spent a good portion of my life, especially over the last few years, making sure I'm the one BEHIND the camera, and seldom the one in front of it. The few pics I have allowed usually feature no parts of me except those from the neck up. As long as all I was seeing was my face... and as long as I got the camera angle and the lighting right... I could pretend I didn't look much different than I did when I was just "overweight" and not "obese". I don't even have a full-length mirror in my bedroom or bathroom and seldom go anywhere near the one in my son's room.
So realizing that I am only a month from my WLS, I decided to bite the bullet and do full-length, "before" pictures. I took 4... front, side, front with my shirt up and side with my shirt up. I took all 4 shots, edited them for light because they were all a bit dark (since I used the timer on my phone... taking the pictures was one thing... letting anyone else take them was just too much)... and then I cried for half an hour.
It occurred to me that I'm 44 years old... based on the fact that I've been overweight since at least middle school... that means I've been overweight for the majority of my life. Granted, I spent a lot of time just a "little" overweight when I was younger... but at 5'4", the 150 pounds I weighed in high school seemed like a lot to me at the time. Then I had my daughter and at 18 years old I tipped the scales at 225. Once I hit that number I found myself on a seesaw for the next 18 years... up as high as 235... but never lower than 175... and no matter how you look at it... I was still always overweight.
Then 10 years ago in 2006, when I started dating my husband, I was about 175 pounds. Thanks to him, though, I felt like I looked the best I ever had in my life. I didn't feel "fat" for the first time in a very long time. 10 years of marital ups and downs... of moving 4 times, of having a son, of health issues and car accidents, and college graduations, and my husband's law enforcement certification... after my husband being diagnosed with a brain condition and becoming his caregiver, and buying a home and fighting with my in laws and losing my father... after infidelity, and being cut off from most of my friends and going to counseling and after the end of our sex life (just once in 2 and a half years and that was 2 years ago next month)... so basically after 10 years of living LIFE... I took my "before" photos. And I looked... really LOOKED... at myself for the first time in a very long time... and I cried.
I cried because I hated what I saw. I cried because even knowing I was overweight all these years, I never saw myself like this in my mind's eye. I cried because I am not even now as heavy as I have been in the past but I know I've never looked this old, out of shape and flat-out FAT. I cried because I've only told 3 people I'm planning to have WLS... my friend, Crystal, who had the same procedure about a year ago herself and who has been very supportive BUT whom I live over an hour from and don't get to spend much time with. My friend, Christy, who is like 5'1" and weighs like 85 pounds... she has never had a weight issue in her life and her whole family is petite no matter what they eat and her advice when I told her I wanted WLS was "just stop drinking soda and walk every day... you don't need surgery, you need discipline." And my husband, George... whose response to my announcement that my surgery is now scheduled was "well good luck... hope it's what you want." And I cried for the life I realized would be shortened if I didn't have this risky surgery.
Last night, I talked about things with my friend, Crystal - she has been very helpful and supportive all along. She reminded me how being lighter will result in health benefits that will make me really happy I've made this choice. And today, my dietician called me to tell me she wants me to increase my liver shrinking diet calories and not start it until the 13th instead of the 9th. Why? Because my BMI is barely high enough to qualify me for the surgery right now (my insurance requires a BMI of 35 or higher with at least 2 other health issues caused by or made worse by my weight - in my case, my BMI is 35.9 and my other conditions include COPD, Sleep Apnea and degenerative joint disease)... so they need me to shed carbs from my liver before surgery without losing so much weight that I no longer qualify for the surgery. My doctor's office is determined to help me make the changes I need to make to live a better life. Hearing these things made me really stop and think... About how I am not alone. About how even if I was alone, I am strong enough to do this and that it is a good decision that will benefit my health and increase my life span... and about how this life really IS a life worth salvaging and extending because I AM WORTH IT.
Height: 5 feet 4 inches
Starting Weight: 220 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery:
Current Weight: 156 lbs
Goal Weight: 145 lbs
Weight Lost: 64 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 11/17/2016
Surgery Date: 01/25/2017
Hospital Stay: 2 Days
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: 1st Letter Approval