Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Looking forward

Once I'm on the sleeved side my life is going to change so drastically and adapting to those changes is going to take a lot of effort. It's not the 'easy way out' that many people think it is (and to be honest most of the people I've had say that to me are bigger themselves) and there are going to be challenges.

* Obviously there will be a forced lifestyle change (kinda the point really) but it will mean that when I'm having a shit day, I can't binge away my feelings, I'm going to have to deal with them.
* Almost all social events revolve around food and so when my friends want to go to a buffet for dinner one night, I'll have to accept the fact that I'll be paying $50 plus for the $5 of food I'll actually eat.
* Being so overweight now has meant my skin has had to stretch to cover my excess baggage. I'll lose that excess baggage but the suitcase I stuffed it into won't necessarily shrink with me. There's a big possibility I will have loose skin; depending on how much there is will determine if I will need to consider surgery.
* I'll have to be very conscious of how much fluid and protein I'm consuming each day and will most likely be on multivitamins for the rest of my life.

I always have these thoughts in the back of my mind but not once have they been enough to deter me from this surgery. That's because there are some glorious things I'm looking forward to once I've begun my journey.

* Looking in the mirror and seeing the person I see in my mind. I've almost always been big but in my head I see myself when I was smaller. It's always a shock to see myself in photos or in a reflection as it jolts me how big I am.
* One day, maybe, my husband might be able to pick me up! There was never any carrying over the threshold for me! I weigh more than my husband should and he weighs less than my surgeon's goal weight for me! It will be nice to get down to an even par with him.
* Obviously being able to walk into any 'normal' store and know I'll find something in my size is a big plus.
* I won't feel ashamed to eat in public. I always feel everyone is watching me and judging the fattie.
* To have the energy and fitness to do the things I love. I haven;t been hiking in the past two years because I just can't go the distance. I know that I will be able to work my way back to my former fitness level and beyond!
* My back will get so much better. When your spine is rooted it doesn't help to carry the equivalent of a 12 year old with you every day.
* Finally, the most important, is I might even start to like myself a little. I'm never going to be a super model but when I'm smaller there are things I like about myself. I used to have amazing legs, when my face is smaller my eyes are less piggy and much nicer. I'll stop worrying about having a double chin and smile more often. Little things like that might lead to other things and you never know, maybe one day I'll come to love me.

And so there's o many things to look forward to, things to be aware of, struggles I'll face. All I know is it's going to be one heck of a ride ;-)

Monday, 27 May 2013

The journey begins!

Let's start with the basics shall we? For those of you who are not familiar with the sleeve operation, Wiki describes it as 'Sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical weight-loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to about 25% of its original size, by surgical removal of a large portion of the stomach.'

Pretty drastic huh? Well yeah, it is. It's not exactly the first option when it comes to weight loss. There's counting calories, exercise, joining a club like Weight Watchers, seeing a dietician, just being more aware of what you're putting in your gob. And you know what? I've tried all of those. And failed. Tried again. And failed. Tried, succeeded for a period of time, then failed and put it all on again. The trying and the failing is a constant pattern in my life and each time I fail I get that bit bigger.
There are some genuine reasons I haven't succeeded, it's not just because I'm a lazy slob (though I'm the first to admit I can always increase my physical activity). My BMI is below 40...just. It's at 39. However most surgeons won't consider operating on us under 40's unless we also have other conditions that are related to our obesity. Well my cholesterol isn't high, I don't have diabetes, blood pressure is pretty normal. What I do have is completely haywire brain chemicals.I have suffered from depression and eating disorders for many, many years. I have huge body image issues, low self esteem and I self harm. Let's face facts shall we? I fucking hate myself.

And so this journey for me isn't ALL about losing weight, increasing my fitness levels and fitting into small clothes; though that's definitely some of it. The biggest reason I'm doing this though is to get to a point where I can actually like myself. That's a big ask, and it's not going to happen overnight but I'm hoping that one day I can come off my anti mental pills, be a functioning grown up and to never, ever slice my skin open again to deal with the pain of self hatred. 

So, that's the why behind my story. Now to the how.
I had been tossing up the idea of WLS for a couple of years and one day as my weight surpassed the 100kg mark I finally got off my sizable arse and upgraded my PHI from ancillaries only to full hospital cover. I then had a year to wait until that cover kicked in for elective surgery so I had heaps of time to do some research on the different options.
I knew a few people who had the band and had seen the good and the bad of the band. Actually, mostly bad. Of the handful of people I personally know to have the band, only one has had any lasting success. A couple have lost some weight and then gone no where, one lady had it removed completely due to huge complications and one of my best friends had her band removed and then had the sleeve done. 
I joined the Gastric Sleevers Australia group on Facebook and I can't begin to express how helpful that was. It wasn't a glossy brochure on the pros of surgery, it was the real deal, the good and the bad, the triumphs and the complications. Yet, this way still seemed to be better than the band. The band seemed so high maintenance, always going back for fills, having to have the port, the risk of infection from having a foreign object in your body. To me, the sleeve was the bigger risk at the beginning (obviously removing most of your stomach is pretty major surgery) but the benefits in the long run were higher.

And so I'd decided what I wanted and more importantly who I wanted to see and so in December of 2012 and I went to my GP for a referral and in February of 2013 I was sitting in the office of Dr Kevin Dolan (a man who has more letters after his name than the entire English and Latin alphabets combined). Dr D has a pretty huge fan base here in Perth and so I had been told to expect a no nonsense bloke with a dry sense of humour who won't beat around the bush but gets shit done. Exactly what I got! He explained both procedures to me, went over the pros and cons, drew some pretty pictures and asked me a heap of questions regarding my past attempts to lose weight. He then told me I fit his criteria and I told him I preferred the sleeve. Then it was a matter of booking the next available date after my PHI kicked in and I was on my way!

Though some days it's felt like the longest wait in the world, the time has hustled along and now I only have four weeks to go. Last week I handed over $2500 to Dr D to cover my gap, in two weeks I see the dietician and start in the opti phase and I'll truly be on my way! At the start of the opti I'll take before photos and measurements and post them here and will update them as I go.

Let the countdown begin!