In 5 days, I begin a new life. This Wednesday, October 7, 2009, I will have bariatric surgery;a gastric bypass, to help me loose weight once and for all. Today someone asked me if I was excited about the surgery? "No, not excited...calm. And ready," was my reply. Yes, I am ready to take this huge step toward rediscovering who I believe I am truly meant to be. In my heart, I am a young 40 something, strong, and lean. I hope to be that person in mind and body, soon.
Why such a drastic step, you may ask? Easy. I have tried EVERYTHING to loose weight. I have not always been overweight. Those of you reading this who knew me as a child, teenager, and in my early twenties would be shocked to learn that since that time, I have gained 200 pounds. 200 pounds. It's so frightfully difficult to admit, especially since I carry my weight well. Most people think I am approx. 100-125 pounds overweight. Ha! Got you fooled. At my thinnest, which was pretty thin, I weighed 165. It must be my height, and my solid Slavic/Italian construction that helps me hide it so well.
I blame my demise on two things: Steroids and a love of food. In 1990, I became very ill. (Many of you know that I have had chronic asthma since age 5.) I was prescribed Prednisone, a steroid which is wonderful at helping you overcome inflammation. Mine happened to be in the lungs. The other thing the drug did well was increase my appetite tremendously. I was on Prednisone for a solid 10 years. It was not uncommon for me to pack on 20 pounds in one week. At first, I didn't know what was going on. I just kept gaining and gaining at an alarmingly rapid pace. In 1994, the year I married, I learned how to stop gaining and hold steady. I changed my diet radically, and exercised like crazy. I held steady at 150 pounds gained, but could not loose to save my life.
Then came the diet quest. Weight Watcher's, Jenny Craig, Weight Watcher's, Diet Center, Weight Watcher's, Slim Fast, Weight Watcher's, Physician's Weight Loss, Weight Watcher's, Atkins, Weight Watcher's, Weight Watcher's, Weight Watcher's. Between 1995-2008, I tried all of those diets, some more than once, as you see. All I managed to do was loose 20 pounds over a painfully long, slow period of time, then gain 25. In the end, I gained another 50. This whole time I was on and off of Prednisone.
In March of 2008, my husband and I attended a free seminar about bariatric surgery. We both left feeling like there was no way I was going to do THAT to my body. I felt like a big looser for even needing to look at the surgery as an option. Besides, we wanted another baby and I was already 40. With bariatric surgery you must wait 18-24 months before having a child, so as to ensure the health of the child and mother. Funny, I spent the next year with a little nag in the back of my head. I didn't get pregnant, and I wasn't loosing weight. And I was extremely unhappy with myself, physically.
On Ash Wednesday of 2009, I sat in my director's chair at Rockport United Methodist Church behind the alter, as Pastor Dan Bryant preached about changing ourselves for the better. That little nag started to pound away in my head. Pastor Dan had us write down something we wanted to change for the glory of God during this Lenten Season. I don't remember my exact words, but I wrote that I wanted to change my body into the Holy Temple it was meant to be. We then walked up to a flaming pot and burned our concerns in front of our fellow believers. At that moment, a peaceful feeling entered my soul and I knew that I should have the surgery.
My husband, though very concerned, was also very supportive. We made an appointment with the surgeon. We learned the risks and benefits, what to expect, and that the process would be long. Over the next 6 months I had numerous appointments. Every time I thought, "That's it. I should be able to get my surgery date now," I was told I needed to schedule another appointment. I saw my physician, my pulmonologist, my allergist, a dietician, a psychiatrist, and many others. Finally, in September of 2009 I was given a surgery date of October 7, 2009.
I had originally hoped to have my surgery during the summer. I had the summer off from my church job, so my surgery would be more private. See, in my mind, I felt like my need to have the surgery was admitting a failure of some kind. So I wanted to keep it private. But God once again began to work in my heart. "Tell the world and the world will support you!" is the message I heard over and over again in my dreams. Slowly, I did begin to tell people. To my surprise, they were excited for me!!! So now , here I am, blogging about the experience. Now I realize that there may be someone out there who needs to hear from me. My journey may help someone else with their journey, I hope and pray.
I am still too embarrassed to tell you my actual weight, (though you can probably guess in the correct vacinity) except to say that my goal is to loose 200 pounds. And you know what? I want you to journey with me, so I will do my best to keep up with this blog. I thank you in advance for your love, support, prayers, and good thoughts. I thank God for all of you as I take this giant leap of faith.
Until next time,