I spent most of my adult life fighting my weight. It felt like a battle to the death and I think it would have been except that two years ago today I had weight loss surgery (WLS). It saved my life.
WLS is controversial and becoming more common now but it took me a long time to come to that decision. My family doctor had been urging me for about three years, not just because of what I weighed, but because of more serious health issues. I had high blood pressure even on medication, high cholesterol even on medication, a heart murmur, irregular heart beat, two total knee replacements, depression, sleep problems and no energy. I felt awful much of the time. I could barely get myself to work. I couldn't keep up with my house and my kids would have to come over and help me. At 53, I was too young to feel so old and disabled.
Finally I realized that the weight really was going to kill me and that I was going to be dreadfully miserable until it did. Besides the health concerns, every day was a struggle with food, clothes, appearance and self-esteem. After 30 years of dieting I was fatter and sicker than ever and I didn't want to always be remembered in such a way. I had truly done my best to control my weight on my own and I had to face the fact that it hadn't worked and wasn't going to. I took another look at WLS.
The miracle was discovering a WLS called Duodenal Switch (DS) rather than the more common RNY. For more information on these surgeries, see the links I have posted in the sidebar of this page. Suffice it to say that when I read about the DS, I knew that this was a surgery I could live with. Not an easy way out by any means, but a possible salvation. I went through the qualifying process with doctor, surgeon, psychiatrist and insurance and two years ago today I was "switched". Then the recovery began.
I am now a different person - 100 pounds lighter. I no longer take blood pressure or cholesterol medicine - both are normal without it. I no longer worry about what I eat or what I will wear - I am normal in that respect for the first time in my adult life. Food is a joy, clothes are fun and I think about what I need and want to do everyday instead of how I look doing it. I don't dread getting out of bed or seeing others or having work to do. In fact, the picture below is something I'm very proud of!
Two years ago I could not pull weeds in the yard for even ten minutes. The blood would rush to my head and I would have to get a drink of water and sit down. You can't get much done in ten minute stretches. But take a look at this photo - this is the brush I cleared out of my yard just this week! That's seven bundles as big as I am tied up in twine and seven yard bags full of twigs, etc. This pile out for pickup stretches halfway across the front of my house. Mind you, I also work full time, so this is just the work of a couple weekend mornings and the evening the trash goes out. I bagged it all and carried it to the curb and you'd never know that I have two titanium knees. Not bad for a 55 year old, huh?
WLS isn't for everyone and I do believe you need to exhaust all your resources before you choose surgery. But for some of us it is a life-saving procedure. It requires lifetime compliance in taking supplements and getting proper nutrition and that cannot be neglected. It is worth it to escape the prison of obesity and I can say that I am happier and healthier than I've ever been. I am grateful and joyful over this every day. Life is wonderful.