On December 15th, 2015 I was nervously waiting in pre-op waiting room of Eastern Maine Medical Center with my hubby at the ungodly early hour of 5am. I had filled out my paper work and was patiently waiting to be called back to change into the proper robes and start my iv’s. When the lady came out to get me – I started crying. I had not cried one tear the whole morning. All of a sudden when it was ‘go time’ I was a wreck. My hubby hugged me and told me it would be OK. I told him – “If anything happens to me today – win a state championship and force my parents to move in and take care of the kids.” We had a good laugh and he told me not to worry and sent me on my way.
At the end of the day – after the successful surgery and many hours in recovery (they couldn’t find me a room) – I was up and walking around the hospital. My hubby was there to say good night – he left to go and scout a basketball game. I remember looking at him and saying – “Today I changed my life forever.” I got a nervous excited feeling in my guts after I said it. He told me that I was right and he was excited for me. That statement was really the truth. I really have changed my life forever and I have zero regrets. This year has been crazy, challenging, and amazing.
On Tuesday – December 13th, 2016 – I had my one year follow up appointment with both my surgeon and my nutritionist. These appointments are important to me. I love to get the feedback and support from my team. I really like when I get to meet with my surgeon – Dr. Toder. Dr. Toder is is the real deal. She is an all business straight shooter who doesn’t take any crap from anyone. I don’t often sit across from someone and feel intimidated – she intimidates me. She is in the top of the bariatric surgery field and she is very good at what she does. These follow up meetings are very quick – typically about 15 minutes and sometimes you feel like you don’t get anything accomplished. Dr. Toder has always taken the time to answer all of my questions. She lets you know the good, the bad, and the ugly – she definitely does NOT sugar coat anything. Fortunately for me, I have exceeded her expectations. On Tuesday she told me to stop losing weight! Currently, I am below my goal weight by about 10 pounds. My BMI is normal – finally – at 24.1. She told me I could happily go between my current weight and ten pounds above that and she would be content. Looking at my blood work – my B12 is low. She told me to double my vitamin and gave me a B12 shot. Also I’m anemic. Hopefully the increased B12 will help with this. She said that it doesn’t look like I need an iron infusion now but we will check my blood in 6 months and go from there. She looked at some before pictures and was really impressed with my progress. She suggested that I look into getting my extra skin removed. This is an issue I’ve been checking into a little bit. I have mentioned before that it really isn’t negatively impacting my life like it might for other bariatric patients. However, all the exercising and weight that I lose will not make this extra skin any better. It will always be there…saggy and sad. This type of surgery is expensive and often not covered by insurance unless there is good cause to do so. I have been keeping it under consideration. I think I would like to go ahead with my maintenance and see how I make out – and go from there.
After meeting with Dr. Toder I had my follow up with my Nutritionist. I usually meeting with Val – but she was unavailable on Tuesday. This time around, I met with Andrea. She is lovely. The most exciting part of meeting with your Nutritionist is stepping on their fancy scale. This scale gives you a lot of information. It’s almost magical because you stand on it in your bare feet and it will tell you your BMI, how much water is in your body, your muscle mass, the percentage of your excess weight loss, and much more. It’s really incredible and really gives you a full picture of the work that you are doing. It is much more than just a number – which is so important for someone going through this journey to understand. All my years of dieting and failing at said dieting – I was chained to my scale like a modern day Jacob Marley. I knew that the number wasn’t as important as how I was feeling or how my clothes fit – but I could not get away from it’s significance. I let that number have a lot more power than it ever should have.
So my numbers for my first 365 days as a bariatric patient are as follows:
Total weight lost since starting program: 130 pounds
Excess Weight Loss %: 98%
Pounds of Fat: 37.4
Body Fat: 24.4
Lean Muscle Mass: 115.6
SWL BMI: 24.01
I’m REALLY proud of this! My Nutritionist said that they usually do not see patients lose such a high percentage in the excess weight loss category. I think that just means that I worked really hard this year and I’m really proud of myself for sticking with the program and not being discouraged.
Over the course of this year I have learned a lot of new things about myself. Probably the most important is that I actually like myself and that I am worthy of the good things that have happened to me. I did not realize how depressed I was. I also did not realize how much I was pre-occupied with my weight and appearance. Most concerning – I did not realize how unhealthy I truly was. I have also learned that my relationship with food prior to surgery was not at all good. Dr. Toder asked me a poignant question at my appointment: “Why were you obese?” Hmmm….such a good question. I did not have an immediate answer. I mean, really, what caused me to weight close to 300 pounds? When I really look back at the course of my life – I’ve been obese for a looooong time. There were many events over the course of my life that have driven me to use food as an emotional crutch. What I have learned this year is that there are better things to focus on then what food to fill the emotional void with. I have chosen to talk about my feelings instead of eating them. Something that really is pretty easy to do – yet it’s taken me a long time to truly understand it.
Over the course of this year I have also opened my eyes to taking some time and putting some effort into myself. I’ve learned that taking some time for myself – even if it’s an extra 10 minutes in the morning to do my makeup – is totally worth it. I enjoy putting outfits together and doing my hair. I feel like it’s important to take that extra time if only to make yourself happy and to feel good. In the past, I did not realize that feeling good about yourself was really OK. Truly the weight loss is a significant reason that I feel better – but believing in myself and understanding my worth is what gets me out of bed in the morning. I feel like I’ve come to terms with a lot of the demons that caused me to have a negative self outlook on life. Instead of ignoring them or trying to eat them away – I confronted them and moved on. I can’t change everything, I can’t control everything, I just have take a deep breath and let it go!
This year has helped me to be a better wife, mom, and teacher. By putting myself first – which sounds selfish – I have been able to prioritize what is important and work at those things. I have realized that there are things in my control – but there are MANY things that I can not change about the people and situations around me. Only thing that I can do is try to myself a better person for my family and friends. My anxiety is significantly better and my self confidence went from zero to existing – so, that’s a win for me. I feel better when I meet with people one on one. I feel strong when I walk through a crowded space – like I’m not just taking up space anymore – but I have a purpose. I really like the skin I’m in – even if it’s saggy and droopy. Losing weight has been the catalyst for my journey. However, finally waking up and realizing that I have a lot to offer and that I’m worth it is really what has helped to motivate me. Self-worth is one of the most valuable commodities out there – I highly suggest investing in yourself.
Earlier this week I decided to take some pictures of myself that I would have NEVER EVER been comfortable taking before. I thought that they would be good “after” pictures to use for motivation to stay the course and just to see how far I have come. As I look at them now, I know that I do not have what our culture or society would consider a “perfect body.” However, I feel pretty dang good about my hard work, effort, and dedication. My body might not be perfect – but after two amazing kids and years of yo yo dieting and food abuse… it is perfect for me.
I am so looking forward to this coming year. I am looking forward to continuing to learn about myself. I am going to continue on this path to wellness which involves the whole body – not just the physical. I look forward to running more races and trying new things. I am very excited for myself and my family. Cheers to another healthy and happy rotation around the sun!
Just for perspective – because I feel like this is the picture that everyone who has had a transformation posts. Here I am on day 1 and day 365 of my journey. I’ve lost a lot but I’ve gained so, so much more.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog this week. Special shout out to my family and close friends for supporting this journey and being by my side the whole way!! Without them, I would not be as successful as I am.