It's the waiting that's getting me now. There are three July dates circled on the calendars in my apartment and at work:
July 13, 2009
Begin protein supplement & liquids regimen.
July 23, 2009
Visit with surgeon and anesthesiologist about procedure
At the moment I am almost most worried about surviving the two weeks without solid food than I am about the surgery. Will I feel weak all the time? Will I be able to concentrate? Will I have cravings?
The purpose of this two weeks of fluids (most of my diet will consist of protein shakes, broth, and jello) is to reduce the size of my liver so the surgeon can have easier, safer access to my stomach.
My procedure is the gastric bypass, otherwise known as the Roux-en-Y. Here's what WebMD has to say about it.
I need to lose about half of my current weight, and I decided that the gastric bypass would be the best way to achieve this. The other option was the Lap Band, which is not permanent and less invasive, but generally does not lead to the major weight loss I need.
The only people I've told about this are members of my family and one long-time friend who also has had the surgery. In explaining to my bosses why I need to be off work for two to three weeks, I simply said I have to have surgery. I didn't go into specifics and they cannot ask, so that's that.
Before I even got to this point I had to keep monthly appointments at the bariatric clinic. This was an insurance company requirement. I suppose they hope you change your mind so they won't have to shell out the dough for the procedure! These sessions consisted of: a weigh-in and blood pressure check, short meeting with a doctor, and a class with fellow prospective patients. In the class we learned a lot about how much our lifestyles will have to change after surgery and also did some written exercises to evaluate our motives for surgery and self-esteem. I also had to keep logs of my food intact (concentrating especially on protein) and exercise. I actually lost thirteen pounds during this time! And, I really learned a lot, so it was definitely worth it.
And there's more... The insurance company also required a "psych evaluation," so I went to one of the doctors recommended by the clinic and answered questions about how long I'd been overweight, why I wanted to have the surgery, whether I had family support, etc. Toward the end of the hour I unexpectedly started crying. I was thinking about the younger me, the one who hated to be looked and leered at, the one who had been hurt in relationships, the one who already felt overweight (even though I was quite normal), the one who told herself it was better to be insulated from pain, better to be alone that part of the frenetic relationship/jealousy/beauty/competition scene. Better to feel very little than to open oneself up to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
I hope this blog will help me through the process of drastic weight loss. Perhaps it will also help others.
Until next time....