Have you ever looked back at pictures of yourself from 5, 10, 20 years ago and thought, "Wow! I looked so good then!!" -But then remember how you criticized yourself when you first saw that photo? "I'm so fat! I look so old! I'm getting sunspots! (Fill in the blank)" is what you said the 1st time you saw the photo. And now, well now you would give anything to only be that fat, to look only that old, to only have 1-2 sunspots! I've been doing that a lot lately.
I'm a short girl. Been 5' most of my life - well, closer to 4' 11.75" now, thanks to a few bulging & herniated discs. I have a medium frame, and while I come from a family of mostly normal weight people, I've always been about 5-10 lbs. overweight. Not earth-shattering, I know, but just enough to call attention to myself around thinner sisters & friends. I won't go on about the many ways those extra 5-10 lbs. affected me w/my short stature, but that's where my weight anxieties began.
I had my first child at 19, but still kept my weight in the 120's for the first several years after. I didn't experience significant weight gain until I met my husband. He has always been an “enthusiastic” eater, but used to be a power lifter at the gym, so was in great shape (Read: *Hottie*, Lol). On wknds he liked to go for big breakfasts, then to dinner and order every single course, go out to clubs all night (when I didn't have my son) and get up and start all over again.
I was unused to eating at this pace. I never had healthy eating habits per se, except for a natural love for fresh fruit, but I never overate on that level or ate out so often. Luckily, I was waitressing when we dated, so that kept me in shape. But right as we got engaged and bought our first house, I switched to a job where I was still on my feet all day, but with much less back-and-forth active calorie burning. And I gained 30 lbs. within the first 6 months .
So began my first diet program - first of many. To make things interesting, I began having pain symptoms just before finding out I was pregnant w/my 2nd child, and was diagnosed with migraines and Fibromyalgia (FM) when our daughter was 2 years old. That made life very hard. I had to stop working while pregnant due to the chronic pain and sleep disturbance issues of FM combined w/discomfort and digestive issues of being pregnant.
Later, I was lucky bc while many FM sufferers find it very difficult to exercise, I was still able to go to the gym and work out often - unless I was having a bad flare. Then I had to take it easy and build up momentum again.
My weight went up and down over the years thanks to a back injury, being the victim of 3 car accidents, being unable to work out for long periods often while taking medications that caused weight gain. It really felt like the odds were stacked against me.
I used to be such a Type A personality! Once I learned how to eat right I became obsessed! Organic eating, spotless house, food/exercise journals, everything on a schedule. Things have changed so much since then. Fibromyalgia is a difficult disorder/disease/syndrome to have, and when I have a bad flare up even now, 20 yrs later, I definitely take notice. It's like a slap in the face. With a baseball bat. All over your body. But this back pain has really jacked me up. It's so "mechanical". There is very little you can do that doesn't affect your back in some way because it supports so much of your weight and functions.
Despite the LONG list of "procedures" to help relieve the pain over the years I still haven’t found significant relief. The final option seems to be Spinal Fusion Surgery. That's the last thing on the list (as of right now) they are suggesting could help. Maybe. If it doesn't make things worse. I am scared to death to have this surgery - for obvious reasons. But then again, I have no quality life as it is. My pain and my weight are my biggest struggles right now.
Then something else happened. A few months ago, my weight finally jumped from the 190’s to 205. I was shocked. It was like ice water poured down my back. No wonder I’ve felt so uncomfortable. My clothes are getting tight. My stomach bothering me all the time. Getting rashes more frequently.
But I did realize this brought my BMI to 40=/+ for the first time; and that could open doors that were previously closed to me. Like bariatric surgery. I haven't been at/over 40 for long, but I had been hovering between 36-38/39 for several years. My docs never thought my co-morbidities were severe enough to get approval, so I never bothered exploring before. But this time, I was researching!
Anyway, long story short - haha- I decided the gastric sleeve sounded like the best option for me, and all my doctors I've approached so far agree that would be a sound choice. Yay.
Unfortunately, my ins excludes all bariatric procedures, so, no coverage for us. After careful consideration, my husband agreed we could take out a loan to cover surgery. He’s being so great about this, and honestly, I feel guilty at times because A. I don't work/bring in income anymore, and now, B. We have this loan w/a high interest rate bc even though our credit is good, we’re self-employed, which is seen as higher risk.
But we are hoping the sleeve surgery will help me lose enough to take significant pressure off my joints, hopefully including my back. That should result in a reduction of pain. If I have less pain, maybe I sleep better, can do a little more exercise & lose more weight, and just "have a life". That would be a great improvement. If my pain reduces to the point I could put off fusion surgery indefinitely, I would be ecstatic. But, even if I do still have the fusion, I know the closer I am to my ideal weight, the faster I will recover from fusion, and the better my chances for a positive outcome.
So that's pretty much my reason for doing this. Of course, I also want to be thin (thinner) again, to fit into clothes I haven't worn in years or still have tags on them, for my shoes not to be so damned tight, to be able to wear cute bras again, to revive my long-lost libido, go swimming w/o feeling so ashamed, show my daughter (now 19) that even with all of my issues, I can still accomplish something significant, and to prove to my husband that he wasn't wrong to invest in me!!
My goal weight? Well, I always felt and looked my best between 118-125. But I’m older now, skin isn't as resilient as it used to be, and hubby said not to go counting on plastic surgery down the line (sigh). So, I don't want to get too thin and be a bag of bones covered in saggy, wrinkly skin. I’d be happy at 130, 140, maybe 145. But I don't ever want to be over 150 again, and I know I need a buffer between that and my set point range.
We finally decided on Mexico for surgery. It wasn't my first choice. I really wanted my local place for aftercare, support groups, surgeon I liked, the whole package. But suddenly prices rose for self-pay (I already have my loan/can't get more) plus all the extras they now bring up. They aren't real responsive when it comes to getting back to me. I hate that.
I’ve looked in other states, near and far. I found some fair prices but only a few places offer complication ins (BLIS), which is important to me. Even my local place doesn't offer BLIS, (which is the only plan I know of for surgery within the US), and they were always reminding me to keep in mind all the “what ifs”.
I've seen people w/good & bad stories about MX. More good than bad, I feel. But of course, when it goes bad, it's hard to sugarcoat. Then again, there’s a highly credentialed surgeon in my area who I tried to track down, and came to find an article regarding his Rx drug addiction that eventually got his license suspended for his failure to seek treatment. He had been writing his own prescriptions.
Follow-up story said he was sued last year by a family whose son got sick after the Dr left a sponge inside him during surgery. The Dr said he shouldn't be blamed as it was the surgical team's fault, not his. Aren’t you the HEAD of the surgical team? Anyway, my point is: scary things happen right in our own back yard. Makes me a little afraid to have surgery anywhere.
But I’ve made my peace w/this decision, purchased complication ins that covers me for up to 6 months after I return home, and I can be treated at home, don't have to return to MX. We discussed this at length, and I feel good. You know, excited, but with realistic nerves.
This support forum has been very helpful to me, and I hope I can help others as I move forward in my journey. No more looking back and wishing I could be who I was...I want to improve my health & self-confidence, the way I treat myself, and finally, get out of this pain/weight time warp and start Living. As Oprah says, "If not now, when?" -Indeed.
Height: 5 feet
Starting Weight: 205 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery:
Current Weight: 205 lbs
Goal Weight: 125 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Status: Pre Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 10/31/2017
Surgery Date: 12/27/2017
Hospital Stay: n/a
Surgery Funding: Self Paid
Insurance Outcome: Not covered
Taylor5's Bariatric Surgeon
Leona Vicario #1510, Zona Rio