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My Weight Loss Surgery – The Prequel

My son thinks I should journal this journey I have just embarked on. He thinks it will help me later on.

My doctor has classified me as morbidly obese and referred me for bariatric surgery.

I weighed 147 kilos the last time I was weighed which was about a month ago. For those who don’t weigh in kilos, that is about 325 lbs, I’m not big enough to appear in “My 600-lb Life” but I’m heading there fast. I have a body mass index of about 49 and a BMI of 30 is considered obese while a BMI of 40 or more is classified as morbidly obese. According to the experts a healthy weight range for me would be 60 to 75 kilos. I haven’t weighed that since I was in my twenties.

Some of the health problems I have that are being caused by obesity include high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, fatty liver, osteo-arthritis and there might be more.

Some of the social difficulties obesity has caused me include not being able to fit into the chair when I go to get my blood taken. Not fitting on the doctors surgery table when I need to be examined. Being afraid the gas lift chair at my dentist or podiatrist will break. Having to look for a chair without arms in waiting rooms or restaurants because I don’t fit into most chairs with arms.

I also can’t stand still – at all – ever. If I have to stand for any reason – talking to someone, waiting to be served, in line somewhere – I rock from side to side. I need to constantly shift my weight from one foot to the other because my back hurts like crazy when I stand for any time at all.

It hurts now and I’m sitting!

I had to get a special office chair for my home office – one that can handle more than the usual weight office chairs are build to hold. The chair I had kept sagging slowly to the ground whenever I sat in it. It was most depressing. I felt like the chair was literally ‘giving up’ on me.

I live in fear of falling over because I know I would have a lot of trouble getting up again. My knees just cannot push this much weight up off the ground. They struggle to get me up off a couch! I have to rock back and forth until I get enough momentum going to carry me past the point of no return where my knees can take me the rest of the way up.

If you buy something you don’t want me to see or touch all you have to do is put it in the bottom shelf of my pantry and push it to the back. I can’t get low enough down to reach that area so anything that finds it’s way there will stay there.

It’s cold here but I wear flip-flops because I can’t reach my feet to put socks on without a LOT of grunting and groaning and I make my bed in stages. Stage one – take the sheets etc. off then rest, get my breath back, and wait for the backache to ease. Stage two – put the clean pillow slips on the pillows and the clean fitted bottom sheet on the mattress then rest, get my breath back, and wait for the backache to ease. Stage three – put the top sheet on and rest. Stage four – put the doona and pillows on the bed and rest. Add two extra stages if I have to rotate the mattress before remaking it as I can’t do that without resting half way through.

The place my daughter and I shared until very recently had an ensuite to my bedroom but I had to sit on the toilet sideways because they installed it so close to one wall I couldn’t fit sitting normally. My current toilet has issues too so I can’t sit facing proper front on it either.

I never had a weight problem growing up.

My mother couldn’t afford to buy stuff for taste so we ate for nourishment. It wasn’t hard for parents to keep junk food away from kids back then because there was very little available.

I was in my 20’s the first time I was able to go to a MacDonalds. There may have been some in the cities but there were none anywhere in the country area where I grew up. There was no KFC, Hungry Jack’s, Red Rooster, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, hot dog, yiros, or kebab stalls, no fast food delivery services and no ‘healthy’ fast food like Subway either.

The only junk food shops were our fish and chip shops. You could get fish and chips, burgers, fried food like dim sims and so on there. If we wanted to get fat we had those and not much else apart from lollies and chocolates and ice creams and all the usual stuff you can buy in a supermarket, deli, corner store or a service station.

Mum couldn’t afford to buy fish and chips – I don’t remember her ever buying it when I was growing up. She bought lollies now and then but no crisps or cakes or cookies. We had ice cream as a special treat once in a while and soft drink was reserved for when you were sick. Mum would buy you a bottle of lemonade and let it go flat then you could drink as much of it as you wanted and you didn’t have to share it with the other kids. It was thought to help settle an upset stomach.

In my teens and twenties I ate to live and I didn’t really pay attention to taste.

I put weight on when I had my first child but not much. I was too poor to buy junk food and my cravings were for cheese, tomato, and beetroot sandwiches. Oh – and exhaust fumes – still haven’t figured that one out!

It changed when I was expecting my second child. I craved pizza, ice cream, cream cakes – everything sugary and I put on weight but I wasn’t too bad. I went up to 11 stone which is about 70 kilo’s or 155 pounds. The middle of the recommended healthy weight range for me.

I had a friend who was reed thin and she was always dieting. She suggested I needed to diet before the weight got worse so I dieted. That was the beginning of a battle that I have been steadily losing ever since. I lost weight then put it all back on plus more. The same thing happened the next time I dieted. I got some off then put it all back on plus more.

Things worsened when my ex bought a little shop and I was spending all day with boxes of all my favourite lollies and unlimited soft drink. I stopped drinking coffee because someone would come into the shop the minute I made one and it would go cold while I served them. I tried microwaving it but it tasted wrong when I did that so I swapped to coke as it didn’t matter if I was interrupted in the middle of drinking that.

The dieting yoyo went crazy during that time. I tried Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, fasting, no carbs, no solids, I tried everything and I always lost some then put back everything I lost and more besides. I always ended up being heavier after a diet than I was before it.

I made a serious attempt to shift some weight off when I hit 110 kg. I went on one meal a day and it was working. I thought I’d solved the problem completely.

Then I quit smoking.

It’s been all downhill since then.

These days I don’t eat to live – I live to eat. I eat for the taste and that means I don’t stop when I’m full. I try to but I usually fail. If my meal is really tasty I will eat until it hurts. Just after I quit smoking I was eating so much and so often I was often at risk of vomiting from forcing too much in. I’ve managed to reign that back in but there are still occasional times when I get close to being that bad.

That’s how it has come to this. I no longer believe I can do this myself. I have prayed but the signs point to this as being the solution.

My son has been saying I need the surgery for a couple of years now. Over the past few years three different GP’s have suggested I consider bariatric surgery. My son sent me links to two facebook groups that were for the patients of two bariatric surgeons – the top man in the field and one who was easier to get an appointment with.

For some reason I ended up with just the group for the top man in the field but I thought he was the other doctor – the one who would be easier to get an appointment with – so, when my GP told me things were getting critical with my health, I gave her his name and agreed to let her refer me to him.

She emailed him a referral on Wednesday and I got a phone call the following Monday offering me an appointment for that week. Other people were waiting from three weeks to two months to get an appointment with him and I saw him just 8 days after the referral was sent.

It seems like God is approving it. I’m asking Him to prevent it if it is not His will and trust me – I’m looking hard for any sign He might send that it’s NOT his will because I am terrified this will not work and I will be fat AND unable to eat anything tasty!

I have put my application in to use my super to pay for it. I can do that if the surgery is going to save my life and I can’t get it through public health system channels.

The surgery will save my life if it works.

It will take the strain off my heart. It will reduce my chances of moving from pre-diabetic to diabetic. It will make things easier on my back, hips, knees, and ankles so the arthritis might subside or go away for a few more years. If not it should ease the pain at least.

I’ll be able to make a bed or have a shower without getting winded so my quality of life will be vastly improved and I might even be able to kneel in prayer with no difficulty getting back up.

The journey has begun. I’ll keep you posted. If you’re a believer I’d welcome your prayers.

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