sunflowery's Diaryland Diary


The First Step to Weight Loss Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery is the cousin for me! (tm Ann Bei Supe and I got to the meeting just before the 3:30 start time and I was surprised at how many people were there. It was a large room full of large people, all of us looking somewhat sad, anxious and something else...maybe hopeful?

The meeting itself was very informative. There was not a lot that was shared that I didn't know, since I have really been researching this for almost 4 years now. What I was surprised to learn is that WLS is the only method of weight control that works long term for the morbidly obese.

This particular hospital practices the Roux-en Y open bariatric surgery. They performed around 750 last year and look to do over 900 this year. Nationally, over 120,000 gastric bypasses were performed last year. Obesity is the 2nd preventable leading cause of death in our nation. (tobacco use is 1st.) I was surprised to hear about how much genetics play into obesity. If one of your parents is obese, you have a 40 percent chance of being obese...if 2 of your parents are, your chances rise to 80%. That means that not only is your environment affected, but your body. You carry more fat cells. It makes sense, but I hadn't thought of it that way before either.

The info meeting was my first step. Now I have a 17 page health history packet to fill out and once that's done, I call the nurse's line to schedule a nurse health consultation. I also have to have a psych eveluation and submit pre-approval to my insurance company. They confirmed the whole process takes 6 months to a year from info meeting to surgery.

It's not magic and it's not an easy way out. Once I have had this surgery, my stomach will be the size of an egg with a narrow opening the size of a pencil eraser. I will have to chew my food 20-30 times before swallowing or food could get caught in that narrow opening. I cannot drink liquid with my meals or for 30-45 minutes following. I will have to use vitamin supplements for the rest of my life. I will have to avoid sugar, fat and grease or I could "dump" or get sick. I will have to exercise every day to maintain the weight I lose.

Why can't I just do these things on my own? Why can't I just avoid sugar, fat and grease on my own and exercise every day? I don't know, but if I could...I would. The surgery is a tool that will help me to live this way. If I mess up, my body will impart instant behavior modification.

Before the surgery I have to lose 10% of my body weight. I currently weight 365 lbs. That's around 35 lbs. I think the most I have ever lost at any one time is 25 lbs. But even so, I would have to weight less than 350 because the radiological equipment at the hospital only supports weights up to 350, so they require patients to get to that weight or below if at all possible. Apparently there is a lawsuit in CA pending towards a doctor who operated on a man weighing over 500lbs. That man died due to complications having to do with the medical equipment and this hospital will not do anything to jeopardize themselves in the same way.

I also have to begin drinking 64oz of water a day and will have to maintain that for the rest of my life. It helps flush out the body and helps the skin's elasticity.

Finally, Supe and I have to use 2 forms of birth control for 2 years. The doctor told us that overweight women often have trouble conceiving and menstrating because the hormones that are supposed to go to your organs and such are actually absorbed by the fat. Once a woman starts losing the fat, her fertility is turned on like a switch. The doctor said that women who thought they were infertil, who thought they had gone through menopause, even woman with tubal ligations have all become pregnant after this surgery. Infact, they told us of a woman who became prenant 2 months after the surgery because she thought she was infertil and ignored the birth control warning. Thankfully, her baby was born full term and healthy. But another woman became pregnant 3 weeks after sergery and apparently her ultrasounds aren't looking so good. So, birth control for 2 years.

For the surgery, I would go into the hospital, have the surgery and as soon as they can, they will get me up and walking and breathing deeply. I will stay in the hospital for 2 days. I will be on a liquid diet for 2 to 3 weeks. Then soft foods and around week 5 or 6, I can begin to eat regular foods. They said it might take up to 2 full years before I am able to eat and keep down food normally. Most of the people I talk to say it doesn't quite take that long, but it could take a year. That's the main reason behind the "no pregnancy for 2 years" rule. They want you to be at your optimum health and able to know what you can eat and keep down before having to nurish a life inside you.

Anyway, that's the gist of what we learned. There were 5 people there who had had the sugery and 2 nurses who had had the surgery. This clinic specializes in this surgery only. They perform 2 to 3 a day 5 days a week and have been doing some kind of bypass surgery for the past 20 to 25 years.

There is follow-up and support groups and medical attention. I am impressed with their thoroughness and openness.

After we got home, I called a woman named Julie. My dad gave me her number as she is someone he knows who has had this surgery. She had hers in Omaha...laproscopically. Mine will be open. Anyway, we talked for over an hour and just a good time. She is so much like friends of mine. Supe said it sounded like I was talking to a friend for how much I was giggling and laughing. It was a good talk. And I found out she has a cat named Maisey too!

So, that's that. I am almost done filling out the health forms and will call the nurse's line by the end of the week. I won't announce that this is a sure thing until I get the approval from my insurance company, but I am going ahead with the process in hopes of having the surgery. __________________________________ A Year Ago Today: January 07, 2003 Marriage and Babies

Itís an amazing 51 degrees today! Itís January and we are getting April/May weather. Whatís the deal and whereís the snow? We havenít really had any to speak of. Just trace amounts. I really miss those big blow out snowstorms of my youth. I woke up this morning and told my husband that what we really need is a good old-fashioned snow day. I donít have any vacation or floating holidays coming until April...that seems like a stinking long time to me.

I am exploring this site ( more. I really like Uncle Bob and Lizardspace. I have other journals that I read as they are updated, but they are not with this site. They are smart and savvy enough to know how to do this themselves. But I am thankful for this site. It really is going a long way to help me stay in the writing game.

Thereís another wedding for 2003! My friends D and D are getting married in August. It seems like a lot of my friends are now married or getting married. Last year we attended five weddings and there were two more we could not make. This year there are at least two with other engaged couples setting dates in the near future. It makes me feel bad for the friends of mine who arenít married yet and so desperately long to be. I have at least five girlfriends and two guy friends who have wanted to be married for a long time and it just isnít happening. These are awesome people. Smart, funny, talented, amazing people. It strikes me as odd that they arenít hooked up yet. Not that marriage is the be all end all to life. But for some people, it seems really hard to meet other smart, funny, talented and amazing people.

Two of my good girlfriends got married this summer...on the say day no less! These are women I have always considered doubly amazing. I am glad that the male population finally took notice.

For a long time my friend A and I had a hard time getting along. Not really sure what the problem was other than my propensity towards selfishness and her propensity of falling for the guy I currently had a crush on. But we got over it and actually became really good friends. She is so in love with Jesus and on looks GOOD!

S is one of those women everyone loves. She is the coolest! She lived in a house with three other women and survived! Not only that, she thrived! Actually the other three women rocked too. Out of the four of them, three are now married, leaving my friend J wondering when her time will come. I say, Donít worry will happen to you, you are a cool woman! In the meantime, make the most of your single years! S, a nurse, married M, a doctor. They are the one of the cutest couples ever.

The other thing thatís been happening a lot is my married friends are now having babies. SB and I are trying to have a baby and so far nada. But we are hard at it so you gotta hope something happens soon.

In the last year, six of my friends had babies and another two are pregnant right now. That doesnít count all the women in church who are droppingíem like flies. Seems everywhere I turn someone is telling me they are pregnant. Which is great, except that I am LONGING to be and all these other women must be doing something Iím not? Who knows?

So, this entry has kind of been random but can be summed up as follows: I have awesome friends. Some are married, some arenít and some are going to be soon. Also, my married awesome friends have awesome babies.

7:39 a.m. - Wednesday, Jan. 07, 2004


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