Support, Please

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I've been getting some feedback, emails, etc. from readers (and a couple of relatives who know), who are concerned about my chosing to have the lap-band surgery. I know some people are concerned that I am taking the "easy" way out (anyone who knows anything about WLS--weight loss surgery--knows it is anything BUT the easy way out) or that I haven't tried hard enough or long enough to lose the weight. That gets kind of annoying, because most of these people either aren't heavy or aren't as heavy as I am. Sometimes you find someone who WAS as heavy as me, and finally managed to lose it. Time will tell if they'll keep it off. Maybe they will. But the facts are that only 3-4% of people who diet will keep it off. The rest will regain the weight eventually, and usually a little more. Studies have shown yo-yo dieting is actually more dangerous than staying fat.

The difficult thing about being so overweight is that once your body gets this heavy, it is very hard to lose more than a small percentage of it, because your body thinks its supposed to be this way, and will hold onto the weight any way it can. Sure it's possible to lose it, but it is SOOOOOOOOOO hard. If you've never been more than 100 pounds overweight, you would not understand. Losing 20 pounds is nothing like losing 100. And of course, there is the emotional issue. Unless someone has a physical problem (thyroid problem, medication side-effect, etc.) then they didn't get fat without some emotional eating going on. So not only is your body addicted to the sugar and other junk you may eat, but worse still, you are emotionally addicted to overeating. You use food as comfort, to stuff down your emotions. We all have something we use to deal with stress--alcohol, drugs, food, sex, exercise. My habit just happens to make me fat.

My major problem in trying to lose weight is discouragement. I try so hard, and see little result. Then a stressful situation arises, and I am miserable, and thinking "why bother, why suffer just to stay fat anyway?" And so I eat. Now, I don't sit in the closet and eat a bag of oreos in the middle of the night. Really, I don't. Everyone assumes you must, to be so fat. Well I didn't get fat overnight! You don't necessarily have to eat massive amounts of food to get fat. I ate normally, maybe sometimes overeating a little...but I drank regular soda constantly for two or more years. Whoops! How did that sixty pounds jump onto my butt?! Soda, my friends. Soda. Of course, drinking all that soda (in my opinion) stretched out my stomach, and I started eating more and more. I've given up the soda, and I try not to keep junk in the house. I try to make it so that if I want junk, at least I have to go drive somewhere to get it, and I don't stock up on it. Unless I get depressed, then I might get enough junk to ration it out over three days.

Now I can honestly say I do overeat. I eat too much at meals--not huge amounts, but too much. My problem now is grazing all day. Being home all day is a killer when you're heavy. I have all the time in the world to stare into the fridge and decide what to eat next, and often I don't realize I'm doing it. I'm also too lazy to cook for myself. I don't like cooking, so I'll cook for my family, but I don't like to go to too much trouble to make my own lunch.

I know everyone has my best interests at heart, but it is very discouraging to hear all about how someone else lost their weight, and I should do it too. Believe me, there isn't anything you can tell me about the risks of weight loss surgery that I haven't already found out about. I have been researching this for two years. I read through dozens of memorials for WLS patients who died, to find out which surgery they had, what they died from, etc. Most of the time people quote me the risks, they are usually referring to the risks of Gastric Bypass or some other WLS, not adjustable gastric banding (Lap-Band). And often it is second, third or fourth-hand information. I would never make any serious decision without thoroughly researching it first.

Also, I have weight-related health problems that make it necessary to lose weight as soon as I can. I'm not going into my personal health history, but one thing I will tell you is that I have two defective heart valves that will need replacing in the next 5-10 years. That means open-heart surgery. My chances of dying during this serious operation will triple if I do not lose the weight and KEEP it off. The risks of dying from the lap-band are extremely small...basically the same as any routine operation (if any operation is routine), such as a c-section or hernia operation, both of which I have had. Most of the serious complications found in studies of U.S. lap-band trials were due to inexperienced surgeons who have done less than 100 bands. I will not be using an inexperienced surgeon. Adjustable gastric banding is the gold standard of WLS in Europe and Australia, where long-term studies of the band have been done, showing much more successful statistics. American surgeons are no longer in the "clinical trial" stage with the band, and are much more experienced, on the whole.

Believe me people, I've tried plenty of diets: South Beach, Sommersize, Weight Watchers, all natural, several diets of my own making, starving, "miracle" herbal supplements, Atkins (twice), you name it. The only one that worked was Atkins, and it was not worth it. The lack of carbohydrates made me so cranky and nasty that it wasn't worth it, and it threw me into a year-long depression. (Some people don't experience this, but many do). And of course, I gained back the weight, as well as a few extra pounds.

I am definitely not doing this to look like a model, or fit into a size 2, or anything like that. I am doing this to be the healthy, happy, productive, best wife and mother that I can, and should, be.

I would prefer if people would not tell me that I'm making the wrong choice, or that I haven't tried hard enough, or that I haven't tried the right diet yet. No one but me knows what I have tried, or how hard I worked at it, or what choice is right for me. I know these people are just trying to help, but in the end, it only makes me feel worse. I understand if someone doesn't agree or can't support my choice to get banded, but in that case I would rather they not say anything, if they can't be supportive. To me, being supportive isn't telling me I'm making a rash or uninformed decision, when I'm not...even if they mean well. Right now, support is the one thing I need, and except for my wonderful husband, I have no other support system.

The most important thing you can do, is keep me in your prayers. Thank you for thinking of me!

5 Responses to "Support, Please"

Anonymous Says :
1:40 PM

Oh, sweetie! I will be praying for you! I understand where your heart is and I believe that it is the right place.

Bethany

dr_bristow Says :
2:39 PM

Only you can make the right decision for yourself. Don't let other people try to pressure you or make you think you shouldn't do what you know is right for YOU. I'll be praying for you! God bless!

Michelle Eventide Says :
6:27 PM

I was banded 5-31-06 at 322 pounds, and could not be happier. The journey isa difficult one, lemme tell you, but worth it, at least for me. I have lost 56 pounds since April 19th (the Dr put me on a liquid diet for the time before surgery). I started out at 346 pounds. It is a huge adjustment to eating; behavior modification all the way. it is hard to not be about to comfort myself with food; my house is a lot cleaner, tho! Again, this is not an easy path; it is definitely not the "easy way out"!
But it is ultimately your decision! Good luck!

MJ Says :
9:02 PM

Hey. I just found your blog. I love it and we have TONS in common. I'm overweight too, about 150 lbs at the moment. I seriously considered having some surgery after baby #3, but we got pregnant with #4 when #3 was 8 weeks old. So, that put an end to that!!!

I'm 21 weeks along, and the weight is killing me, emotionally and physically.

Do what you have to do. The Lord will be with you. Please update as I'm personally interested in how it goes.

visit me at www.homeschoolblogger.com/MotherJoy

MJ

Jayleigh Says :
6:52 AM

I think you are making the best choice for yourself.

I lost 70 pounds a few years ago. I have about a 15 pound fluctuation, but I have kept if off for 5 years now. I still need to lose another 50, but it's BRUTAL. I know what you mean about losing weight being difficult.

Eventually, it comes down to doing what is best for your health. When you lose the weight, your blood sugar will improve, your blood pressure, your knees and back will have less pain. Your heart won't have to work as hard. And you will be able to be active again.

God bless you dear, as you take this step.

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