Thursday, April 19, 2012

A First Step

I have been thinking about this Thing.  It has consumed at least a small part of my mental space each day for more than six years.  I have been talking to Jeremy about it for awhile and finally talked to my doctor  when (surprise!) we switched insurance and I found a new primary care doc who couldn't see me until July which is why, this morning, I found myself once again pouring my sob story out to a nurse practitioner.

"How long have you been overweight?"  She asked, hands on the keyboard, eyes blinking at the computer screen ready to input data.

"It first got bad in my first year of grad school, about 2002.  Holy shit, it's been ten years, maybe more..."

"mmmmm...." fingers typing, eyes still averted...... "and do you exercise?"

"Yes".  I feel my hackles go up.  YES I exercise.  YES I understand that to lose weight you must expend more calories then you take in.  And all of my knowledge and the articles I have read and the nutritionists I have seen and the Zumba, the Yoga, the Metabolic Makeover class I went to for three months at 5:30 in the morning, they are clearly NOT HELPING.

They are not helping because I am an emotional eater.  My brain equates feeling good with eating carbs and sweets.  I hate that about myself almost as much as I hate what it has done to my body.  I feel pathetic and moronic and weak and lame - so much so that tears fill my eyes every time I talk about it and even now as I type-  but it is the truth.  And I don't know how to stop it, and I don't want to end up in such poor health that I can't enjoy the rest of my life - that Jeremy and I can't take our kids backpacking or that we can't trek the Himalayas on our 30th anniversary.

I want to have bariatric surgery.

The good part about switching health insurance is that the new insurance covers the surgery but, I found out today after talking with an incredibly uninformed and annoying person who kept asking if I had read my benefits handbook even after I reminded him several times that his company had sent it to the wrong address and failed to re-send it although two (now three) requests have been submitted, my insurance requires that I do a six-month "physician supervised" weight loss program.

I get why they have that in place but I am ready to DO the surgery.  Now.  To get it over with.  To move forward.  Also, if I could lose weight with diet and exercise (and keep it off) do they really think I would *rather* go through surgery, with all it's potential problems?  And if I lose weight in the six months are they going to tell me I don't need the surgery?  If I don't lose weight are they going to tell me I can't have it?

I am frustrated and feeling exposed and vulnerable by the process of looking into surgery.  But I will keep going, and writing about it here is a first step in acknowledging that (1) I want it, (2) I am pursuing it and (3) I will not let myself be deterred by waiting periods and hoops to jump through.  Frustrated yes, deterred no.

When you have a passenger on a motorcycle you always want the passenger to weigh less than you do - it makes the bike easier to control.  I am way to embarrassed to talk about exact numbers here but one of my goals is to be able to ride on the back of Jeremy's (kick ass) motorcycle.

So there you have it, a "public" declaration of intent.  Thank you for listening.

(and by the way, if anyone reading here has had bariatric surgery I would really, really love to hear more about your experience so please comment or email me!)


Ivory said...

*High five for first steps* I am sending over my friend Kassie - she chose the vertical sleeve route last Sept., and has made amazing progress.

Anonymous said...

The reason you have to go through a physician guided weight loss program first is they want to make sure you are committed to losing weight and making the serious changes you need to make and keep up with after the surgery. If you lose weight it actually reflects positively on your quest for the surgery, they don't say "oh you aren't big enough anymore, nevermind" they just want to see some progress. Also, your doctor may recommend that you see a therapist before it as well, because emotional overeating won't go away with the surgery, in fact it can make things much worse. Surgery doesn't work perfectly all by itself, it still requires lifestyle changes, many of which you have already achieved, but that craving for sweets and carbs has to go too or it will really mess with your health post surgery. My mom had this surgery, she had to go through many hoops to get it and from what I know this is the sign of a GOOD doctor, not a bad one. It's worth the wait.

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Used2bFat said...

Hi there. I came across your blog because I was bored, so I sat down with my cup of tea and decided to click on the 'Next' at the top of blogs in blogger. Your blog was the 3rd to come up :-)

I have had gastric band surgery. I got it done on the 24th of January 2012. Your owrds here resonate with me, because they were things I had to work through while deciding on sugery.

We still have to work hard (with any bariatric surgery, I believe. The difference though, is that I no longer get hungry. This to me is a massive plus, because then I don't go craxy trying to assuage my hunger. And you and me both know that once your that hungry, its so fucking hard to stop eating.

Also, I can no longer eat the amount I used to. I just can't do it. So a bad binge day for me is what an ok day used to look like.

I am not trying to convince you to have surgery, because it was the hardest thing I have ever done. But I now know that I can't just walk away from my new life, because its not just a diet that I am doing to fit into 'that dress' for 'that thing', you know? I have had to change so much about my life, all of my habits and routines, but without the surgery, i would never have been able to do that.

I started blogging a year before my surgery at

COntact me there if you wish! :-)