Sunday, April 25, 2010

Put a Ring on It

I haven't been very attentive to my blogging lately; that and my art.

Back in December I decided that I wanted to get lap band surgery. That's where they surgically put an inflatable ring around the top of your stomach to limit the amount of food that you can eat at any one time. It doesn't magically cure you from overeating, but it is a tool that assists you do that.

Since deciding to do that, I have been pretty singularly focused on that goal. Being an online sort of girl, I researched the web like crazy. And I still am. Not surprisingly, there is a huge community of people who are doing or have done the same thing.

I had to jump through an unimaginable number of hoops to get approved and then prepared for the surgery, but I succeeded. My surgery is Wednesday morning, early.

Whenever I mention it to folks, usually one of their first questions is "Are you going to tell people?" I understand the reason for the question. Lots of people keep weight loss surgery quiet. They find it embarrassing that they have had to resort to such a thing. I asked everyone I could think of who might have an educated opinion on the subject what they thought. Mostly the opinion was that honesty was the easiest way and that by telling, it could benefit others with the same issues. Finally, I asked myself if people realized that I was overweight. The answer was "without a doubt." Then I asked myself if using a tool to help myself lose weight was cheating, and I decided it wasn't.

I've been dieting since I was 13. That's almost 40 years. I'd say I gave regular dieting a pretty darned good chance.

I found out about 30 years ago that I had hypothyroidism. That's something I may have had for much longer. Often, when doctors see a heavy person with physical problems, they assume that the weight is the problem, not a symptom of a problem. That undiagnosed hypothyroidism probably would have killed me given a tiny bit more time. I had cholesteral over 400. I couldn't walk more than a block without my muscles seizing up on me. I couldn't keep a thought straight in my head. I bloated unimaginably. The list went on and on. I was convinced that I had hardening of the arteries because so many of the symptoms were similar. And this was when I was in my 20's! Finally, my mother-in-law demanded that I go to another doctor. As soon as that doctor laid eyes on me, he gave me the correct diagnosis. He put me on the proper meds and my life started turning around.

Turned around mostly, but not completely. I've had my metabolism tested twice. It shows that if I consume over 1350 calories in a day, I gain weight. Most women have a burn rate of 1800 calories a day. That means that while most women can have three good meals and some snacks in a day, I could only get two meals. So, I have to work harder than most people to keep weight off, and then my body penalizes me if I do it by making me perpetually hungry. So is getting a tool that will only allow me to eat so much, cheating? I don't see it that way. I see it as a way to get from behind that danged eight ball I've been behind my whole life.

So anyway, I am so very excited about getting the lap band put in. It would be nice to have other things to think about besides my weight.


sallgood said...

Wow. What a tough decision you've made. But it sounds like you've researched it well, and I wish you all the best on this new chapter of your life!! Thanks for sharing- I feel like open and honest is usually the best policy- who has the energy to do otherwise? :D

LDH said...

Dear Jan, Sending you love and best wishes as you continue on toward your goal with this new help aid. I have always appreciated your openness and sincere heart and look forward to hearing of your success.

Missed your posts!
Kindly, ldh

Julie said...

Oh, Jan...I am so happy for you! I think you are absolutely right...I have been overweight my whole damn life...and I hate to see people keep struggling with it. I keep thinking the lap band would be perfect for a close friende of mine...she is young...still has to find a spouse, fall in love...all that kind of jazz. Why let your weight ruin the rest of your life. The lap band just seems sensible to makes sense. I am going to be so excited to see how it goes for you...please keep us posted. I will have you in my prayers for safe surgery and speedy recovery and great success!!!
xoxo- Julie

Ashly Picazo said...

Thanks for sharing with us. I am struggling too with being overweight my whole life, and it is very tough. You are braver than me, I have thought about the lap band, but surgery scares me! (Probably not the only one). I send out good waves to you for lots of success and a getting healthier.

Little Ol' Liz said...

Jan -
That's good news! You've made an adult decision with motivation, knowledge and determiniation. You will do very well, and I look forward to hearing about your journey -- since everyone's is different.


SCB said...

Hey Jan, surgery isn't exactly something you look forward to and I will be thinking of you on Wednesday. I have friends who've had lap-band surgery and it's been very successful (as long as you don't eat icecream!) but they tell me it takes time afterwards to adjust. Funnily enough, not knowing you well except through our blogs and being a long way away, one of the opinions I have formed about you is that you are a fit, outdoorsy cyclist gal so for me at least your weight has never been a feature! I wish you well with everything and look forward to catching up with you when you're feeling better after Wednesday. Good luck! Sara x

Unlimited said...

I, too, have been tested and retested and diagnosed and misdiagnosed. I know your decision probably weighed on you, but just know that people - your admirers - support you and wish you well. This will be a positive after your hard work and dieting for so long. Good luck! Please let me know if I can do anything!

Kathy said...

Good luck on this upcoming surgery. I hope it all goes well for you. I'll be thinking of you on Wednesday. Hope you get recovered quickly and can get back to your fun art and riding your bike!

Pink Feather Paradise said...

Good for you.... at hte end of the day you have to do whatever you need to do to make your self happy (so long as its legal! lol ) and I wish you all the best, currently I am spending my evenings screaming obsentities at an american personal trainer on my wii.... if I had thighs her size I could easily strap my nunchuck to it! ;D

I swear I am going to charge through the wall with a telly clutched to my chest and land on my neighbours.... when she told me I had to run around the imaginary track doing high leg lifts I was in hysterics saying "no more!" breathlessly.... my other half gets a drink and has a wail of a time watching me from the settee... I have made exercising a comedic spectator sport! ;D

big hugs
Alex x

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Good luck with your surgery Wednesday. I hope all goes well and that you have a swift recovery.

splatypus said...

How brave of you to open up like that! I know everything will go well and I hope this next phase of your life is simply amazing.

Then I will come and ask you for advice on how not to think of weight. :)

random Cindy said...

I'm glad to hear that you are taking steps to deal with something that has obviously plagued you physically and emotionally for a long time. As PP mentioned I also think of you as a reasonably active, fit person too. I know that the thyroid can really be a bugger though. I don't know much about the lap band surgery but I hope that it works for you. Does it make you feel satisfied? That would be my concern. You seem to be the disciplined sort of person that can make the necessary changes required. Best wishes for your health and happiness. (Okay, I don't mean to sound so serious but surgery is serious.)

jackie said...

I had been wondering where you were on this journey. I hope the surgery has gone well, and I applaud you for your honesty and vulnerability! I'll be thinking of you friend and wishing you a speedy recovery. I'm just so fumbling with words right now, but what I want to convey is how much I care about you and that if I lived closer how I would offer you my help and whatnot as you recover! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Jan, all the best with your operation. We live only once and if you can make that change in your life and be happy about how you would look after that .... well then you should'nt have to worry about people. Your making a good choice, wish I could too. Eversince I've had my boys, I have struggled with being overweight, So I can perfectly understand your delimma !!
All the very best with your operation. Get ready to welcome the new you in just a few months !!

daysease said...

Dear Jan, i feel horrible. i had no idea about this, and... Well now I feel bad that I was not "there" to pray for you and ask about you afterwards. i hope you are feeling better. Hope you recover quickly.