"Gastric Bypass Surgery Gave Me My Life Back"
"I failed a class because I was too self-conscious to go." continued...
Next, I was checked out by a cardiologist, a pulmonologist, and a
psychiatrist; I also went to nutrition seminars. This gave me time to decide if
surgery was what I really wanted. I still wasn't sure. I started a journal of
things I hated about being fat — like those looks at the gym that said,
"Why are you here?" Finally, I decided surgery was the only way
to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off. I chose gastric bypass
because with other procedures (like stomach stapling or lap band) I'd still be
able to eat sugary, high-fat foods with no consequences. I needed to make a
bigger change. But I was scared. I scheduled the appointment, then felt like I
was going to throw up. I'd always wanted to be skinny, but to dream it is one
thing. To live it is different.
I had my surgery on April 11, 2006. I took some pictures at home, said
good-bye to the old me, and walked out the door. Once I got to the hospital,
everything happened so fast. The surgery took about two hours. My surgeon
stapled across the top of my stomach, creating a small pouch the size of a golf
ball. Then he sewed part of my small intestine directly into the pouch. This
would redirect food to bypass most of my stomach and enter my small intestine
instead. I was in the hospital for two days. When I woke up, I felt like I had
done 200 sit-ups, but that was the worst of the pain. Over the next three
months, I went from a liquid-only diet to soft food to regular food. I was
frustrated at first, but excited and anxious to see results. I thought, I
can do this.
A week after my surgery, I'd lost 11 pounds. A month after, I'd lost 30
pounds. Less than two months later, I bought a size 16 — down from a 22! Was
that really me in the mirror? For the first time, when people told me I was
beautiful, I believed it.
Today, I'm in charge. I used to be a slave to my appetite, but my life no
longer revolves around my next meal. I never feel physically hungry anymore —
which is so freeing! It offends me when people say surgery is the easy way out.
This certainly isn't easy. I still fight emotional eating; I get that "head
hunger" when I'm bored or stressed. When that happens, I try to focus on my
family and friends, scrapbooking, or going to the gym. And I know what the
consequences would be if I were to eat a meal as big as the ones I was used to:
an entire frozen pizza, or a burger, fries, and a soda. The surgery rerouted
food away from the part of the intestine that helps me digest sugar and carbs,
so if I eat too much of them, I go through "dumping" — my body tries to
get rid of what I just ate. I get sweaty and light-headed. And if I overeat
anything, it comes back up.