Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Not the Easy Way Out

I never thought I'd do turn to weight loss surgery (WLS) because it seemed to me to be the "easy way" and I'm not the type of person to choose that route.  What I've learned in the past three months that I've been preparing myself for gastric bypass is that this is not easy.  In fact, it may well be the hardest thing I've done.

Trust me, I've done some hard things.  Because I had no real goals during college and worked up to 30 hours a week, I graduated with an unimpressive GPA and no math or science classes beyond General Biology.  Somehow, I turned things around enough to get into medical school.  Getting through medical school definitely stressed my intellect and psyche, but I made it to graduation day.  My first month in residency was in the ICU of a large teaching hospital.  I was definitely out of my league, but I worked hard and learned the ropes and made it through that month.  I'm certainly no surgeon, but I put in time on my surgery rotations and made good contacts during the process.  

After I'd set my career in place, the personal life grew challenging.  Premature delivery of my son followed by a monthlong stay in the NICU. Miscarriage. Strokes. Adoption. Layoff.  Causing a motor vehicle accident that resulted in hurting an innocent person.  All of these things were hard to overcome, but I persevered.  Similarly, I know that with enough motivation and dedication, I'll beat this morbid obesity.

I'm following a couple of Facebook groups for the type of surgery I'm going to have and am learning a lot.  I feel like I've memorized the thick booklet the surgery office gave me.  I devoured the informative book Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients on my Kindle during our drive to North Carolina and am working my way through two books written by successful weight loss surgery patients.

Here is what I've decided: I'm investing too much money (my insurance doesn't cover this, so we borrowed $25K against my retirement account), time and (probably) severe pain to this procedure to sabotage myself and abuse the tool that this surgery affords me.  Protecting my pouch, the egg-sized portion of stomach that will process my food, is my ultimate goal.  Like any tool, this pouch can be ignored.  It can be stretched, filled with crappy foods that taste good and ulcerated.  I must protect my pouch, because that is what will get me the new life I desperately crave.  

I want to ride a bike.  I want to ride a roller coaster.  I want to shop in stores rather than online for my clothes.  I want to walk with my kids around the block.  For our next beach vacation, I want to go down to the beach rather than stay in the motel room blogging because I'm too unsteady on the sand to join my family.  

This day 8 of a 14 day pre-surgery liquid diet.  I'm drinking 4 low-carb, low-fat, high-protein shakes a day.  They aren't particularly tasty, and on 500 calories a day I'm a bit irritable. Because I'm at a family reunion, I'm surrounded by food.  The family members are so supportive and all of them have offered to do something else with me at mealtime, but mealtime is when we are all together.  I don't want to miss that.  

Surgery is next Tuesday.  Following that, I'll progress from a two tablespoons per meal of clear liquid to full liquid to soft/pureed diet in the first 6 weeks.  Then, for the next six months, my 1/2 cup meal sizes, three times a day, will consist of 70% protein and 30% vegetables.  This will fuel my body and allow my tool to do its magic.  

Nope, this ain't easy.  Not easy at all.  But it's the only hope I have of losing my extra 185 pounds and feeling like a healthy human for the first time in a long time.  


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story and how you came to today. I too will have to pay out of pocket most likely for my surgery. I wish you the best next Tuesday. Can't wait to read more of your blog and the upcoming updates on your success with your new pouch and tool.

  2. This is an amazing post. Wowzers. Continued prayers for you! Cannot wait to hear the rest of your story.

  3. What an adventure! You have my concern and my prayers. I'm excited for what's ahead for you - not the pain, of course, but the reaching of your goal.

    1. I've put a reminder on my Google calendar to pray for you especially next Tuesday.

  4. Very very best wishes Sarah!


    Strength and courage!

  5. Please take care of yourself. And no, this isn't the easy way out whatsoever! I have a friend who had this surgery, and it's a lifetime change. (Meaning beyond lifestyle... this is for life).

    Sending prayer and positive vibes your way. Please continue to share your experience. It'll be a good reference for those on the fence about this procedure.

    I think you have the drive to succeed. Go Sarah go!!!!!

  6. No way this is the easy way. If there WAS an easy way, you'd have picked it! Any of us would have. I'm really proud of you for having taken this step. And there is no doubt, decision made, that you'll succeed at this! Can't wait to watch you do it!

  7. Sending you all my positive thoughts and prayers for the courage and hope you will need to succeed. You go girl!

  8. I would be so mad being at a reunion and not being able to eat. How in the world did you stand it? I can’t imagine going through this surgery and all of that. I hope you get the results that you want.

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