Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy 1 Year Surgiversary To Me!

I cannot believe it has been a year since my surgery. This is something I have dreamed about my whole adult life, to be healthy and active again and I cannot believe how much has changed in the past year.

This could end up being a long post. I will start from the beginning. For years I was in an abusive marriage which finally ended but not until long after I had gained a huge amount of weight. I used to be very athletic, involved in all kinds of sports and I also used to work out religiously. Then I got married and started having kids, all the while my husband became more and more abusive and I fell deeper into a hole of depression, building up a wall of fat around me. We divorced and yet I still struggled with my weight, even after meeting my present bf of the past 10 years.

My health was still so-so until about two years ago. I had had back surgery about 10 years ago for a herniated disk and the pain in my back was getting worse again because I kept gaining weight. My knees were starting to hurt. I had permanent numbness in my right thigh from nerve damage. I was borderline diabetic. I had such severe carpal tunnel syndrome that it woke me up at night and I could not feel my fingers. Surgery was going to be scheduled for it. I had experienced increasing stress incontinence over the past two years which was too embarassing to discuss with anyone. Hygiene was becoming a challenge which distressed me as I was always a bit too OCD when it comes to cleanliness. I could not put on my own socks and shoes anymore so I'd have to have my bf do it for me. Even shaving my legs left me needing a nap afterwards. I would drive around parking lots several times to try and find a spot close to the doors because walking a few feet made me feel winded and like I would pass out.

I was usually between 200lbs and 225lbs but then a year before my surgery I gained about 80 lbs in just one year. I did not feel healthy, in fact, I knew I was dying. Even while my physicals at the doctor's all turned out ok I felt like I was literally dying from being so fat. I would get more depressed and eat more, a vicious cycle. I had researched WLS a bit over the past 7-8 years, getting my most valuable info from people I knew who had it. Some told me horror stories of anal leakage and constant vomiting after meals....During this time I dreamt of being thin again, to feel healthy and be able to do things again. My 30's sped by in a haze of junk food, fast food, and sitting on my ass doing nothing because I was too fat to do anything and too depressed to stop eating.

Suddenly I hit a real crisis....I hit 300 lbs! I was shocked and saddened when I realized I had done this to myself. I would be turning 40 soon and I wasted so many years being obese and knew if I kept it up I wouldn't have many years left. My kids needed their mom, my youngest is handicapped and needs me in her life forever. I could not do this to them...

THEN, I had a life changing experience. I first of all always thought you had to hit 300lbs before you could have WLS and second I thought it either cost a fortune or it was only done under special circumstances, like real huge health issues. By this time I had plantar fasciitis and could barely stand, I knew my weight did not help at all. So, one night I was training a girl at work on midnights at the Sunoco gas station I worked at then. A tiny little woman came into the store. She drove one of those shuttle buses that does airport runs and such and had to go out on the highway late at night so she stopped for a snack. As she picked up a bag of chips she looked up and said to me "I need to grab some munchies for the road" then added, "You'd never know I used to be over 300lbs". I was astonished. No way was this tiny little woman once that huge! She told me she is now a size 4 and I asked how she did it. She told me she had WLS. It was like a light clicked on in my head and I fired question after question at her which she gladly answered. I had no idea OHIP paid for this! I didn't know how easy it was to attain! I didn't know you could get OHIP to cover it being done across the border! WOW!

First thing I did after that night was to try and get a family doctor as mine had retired years ago. I went to a clinic and lo and behold they knew of a new doctor who was taking patients (a real rarity in Windsor). I made an appointment and she was awesome from the moment I met her. She's my age and very personable. She ordered up all the bloodwork I needed, did a complete physical and then mentioned I should try and take some weight off. Perfect opening! I asked her than if she knew anything about WLS. She said she had taken on a patient recently who had the surgery and was doing well but she did not know that much about it yet. She told me to give her some time to get some info and she'd get back to me in about 3-4 weeks. I felt optimistic and was happy she seemed to be on board about it all. So, I went home and waited. Two days later my doctor calls me up, she already had me "pre-approved" by OHIP! I was just expecting the info, not to already be pre-approved (which she told me was as good as being fully approved). I was scared then, was I ready for this? Was I sure this is what I wanted to do to lose weight?? The more I thought about it the more I knew...I WANTED THIS!!!!

I immediately got a prescription for Champix to quit smoking and was smoke free by the second week (it's now been 1 year and 4 months smoke free!). I went to a seminar a week later that was held by the surgeon my doctor referred me to. I brought my mom so she would know what it was all about too. My family was not in agreement about me having this surgery but they didn't say too much about it. Two weeks after the seminar I had my consult with the surgeon. By this time I was totally psyched and couldn't wait. It was mid-May by then. The surgeon asked for a sleep study to make sure I didn't have sleep apnea because I thought I might. The closest they could book was beginning of June. I pushed for my results and got them back in a few days rather than the 3 weeks they had told me lol. So, end of June and I was ready to book my surgery BUT, everything was already booked up for June and July and he was also on vacation some of that time. So I finally got my OHIP approval (final approval) and surgery date on the same day, August 4th, 2008. I got off the phone after they told me when it would be and laughed I was so excited, then promptly burst into tears. I thought then, "ok, now I am losing it, going crazy". I was not ready for the emotions I would feel. I was excited yet scared, hopeful and doubtful. I had my "two-week freak" a month early lol. I had my "last supper syndrome" for a month, eating out every night! Then came time for the liquid diet one week before surgery. I lost 15 lbs even though I cheated one night.

August 4th, 2008 came and my mom drove me and my oldest daughter across the border to Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte, Michigan. Surprisingly I felt calm. The nurses were so friendly and I was excited to start a new life! I was wheeled in and was told afterwards I must have been nervous cuz I told the nurses that my daughter was my sister lol!

I had open RNY surgery which is what my surgeon and I decided on. I was told afterwards that when Dr Hendrick went out to tell my mom and daughter that I made it ok that my mom burst into tears. I never realized how worried she had been about it all. Dr Hendrick then told my daughter that now I would live long enough to see her walk down the aisle someday at her wedding.

I remember vaguely waking up. Not much pain but a bit. Morphine is a wonderful thing. I opened my eyes and saw my daughter pointing a camera at me. I made the peace sign and fell back to sleep. I was in and out of sleep for a while as my mom and daughter waited for me to fully wake up.

I was not in much pain surprisingly. It felt more like I pulled all my stomach muscles. It did hurt to cough or laugh though lol. I had made it through to the other side, I was on the loser's bench!
In the year since I had surgery I lost 100lbs in the first 6 months. Then I hit the mother of all stalls for 3.5 months! I have as of today lost 118 lbs and have 30 lbs more to go. I lost 10 lbs alone in July (8lbs in one week and two more pounds the next week) so I know that even if I hit a stall I will still lose weight!

These are the changes in my life since I had my RNY:

-I can cross my legs
-I can paint my toenails and shave my legs without almost killing myself doing it
-I can sit in a bathtub without being wedged in or blocking water flow around me lol
-I have no more numbness from nerve damage in my thigh
-plantar fasciitis went away
-carpal tunnel syndrome is gone
-no back pain
-my blood pressure is on the low side and no more boderline diabetic
-I feel my bones again
-no incontinence!!
-I never get overheated, now I am always freezing
-I can walk and walk and walk and never get winded, I even JOG!
-I can work 8 hours without sitting down! My feet no longer hurt when I stand!
-I park at the back of parking lots now :D
-My bf calls me a speedwalker and he (for being so fit himself) says he can't keep up with me
-I can fit into chairs with arms and not get stuck!
-I FIT THROUGH TURNSTILES! (no longer do I feel dread seeing one)
-I can squeeze past someone and not knock them over with my butt or tummy
-Friends or family see me and say "hi skinny!"
-My bf tells me I have no butt anymore lol
-sex is phenominal!!!!!!!!!!!!! (had forgotten how flexible I can be too lol)
-I am buying cute little matching bras and panties, no more granny undies and sports bras! I even wear thongs (before they would have disappeared lol)
-I have so much energy I can't sit still and sometimes can't even sleep at night, I feel the need to be moving all the time
-My family keeps telling me they can't believe the change in me, just even how much more I want to do, they even brag about me to everyone!
-I jump on my sister's trampoline with my nieces and don't send them flying off through the air, actually...they almost send me flying!
-I used to have my weight as leverage, nobody could push me or pick me up, this summer I got picked up almost effortlessly to be thrown into a pool lol much to my shock and dismay!
-I found my curves again and I have bones that stick out now
-I went from a size 28 pants to now being between a 14 and 16 and still going down! I was in a 5X shirt and now fit into a medium, panties are mediums too now!
-My BMI was 51 to start and is now 31.6
-I look forward to the rest of my life now
-I get attention and compliments from guys again
-I don't shy away from pictures anymore
-bra size went from 44D to 38C which to me is perfect (hope I don't lose more though lol)
-I like to wear jeans again, no more stretchy elastic band pants!
-shoes went from size 8 or 9 to a size 7!
-rings that were too small are now too loose
-I get told I look years younger now
-I have very little loose skin and any cellulite is almost all gone
-my kids tell me I am getting too skinny
-I can do so much with my kids now, no more sitting around watching all the fun
-I play volleyball now (which I used to always play on a team)
-I exercise with my WiiFit and love it
-People who knew me as an obese person are shocked when they see me now
-I don't dread going to work knowing how tired I will be and how much pain I'll be in
-I no longer take pain killers, my body feels 20 years younger!
-I'm happy all the time now and love life!

---I am sure there are so many more things I am leaving out but this could just go on and on....

So there you have it...the story of what brought me to choose RNY gastric bypass surgery and my life since surgery.

Sorry this is so long but I didn't want to leave out a single thing. This was the single most important decision I think I ever made for myself in my whole life. I feel like I was given a second chance at life. I am so grateful to Dr Hendrick! I wish I knew the woman who came into my store that one night and told me her story. I have shared my success with strangers, you never know if you might be the one to be the deciding factor in saving someone's life just as that woman helped me to decided to have this surgery to save my life.

One final word on this surgiversary of mine: I LOVE MY RNY!!