Thursday, February 23, 2017

Is Bariatric Surgery Right for YOU?

Anyone that has been through the process of preparing for Bariatric surgery knows how long and drawn out it and be.  They also know how many hoops your insurance company will make you jump through before they actually allow you to have the surgery.  For those of you that have really great insurance and didn't have to jump through hoops, I commend your employer for caring enough about you to give you such a benefit, even if you have to pay for it one way or the other.  The rest of us though, have to deal with the bureaucracy of Health Insurance that include co-pays and coinsurance costs.

From my first appointment with my surgeon to the day that I was operated on, was about 6 months and multiple different doctors appointments and procedures.  I expected this though, I was fully prepared for what I was up against.  I also had to cancel my surgery one time because I was fighting with one of my doctors (i'll go into that another time). I had to be cleared by several doctors for the surgery including, a sleep and pulmonary doctor, I also had to have a sleep test, a cardiologist, I had to have a stress test and echocardiogram, a gastroenterologist, I had to have a endoscopy, and a Psychologist, they had me take some test that the insurance company would not pay for, so it was an out of pocket expense along with an hour session.

The one doctor that I feel is probably the most important doctor to be cleared by but yet only one session was required was the Psychologist.

I believe that when you are at the point with your weight that it is effecting everything about you, moving, your health, your brain, your thoughts, your daily activities, and you have made the decision that this procedure is what you need to do, you really need to understand that it is a life altering decision, once you do this, you can not change your mind and have it undone at any time.  It also will affect you in one way or another for the rest of your life.

Another thing I believe is that if you have less than 100lbs to lose, you should probably try something else first.  You may have to go extreme, but do try other methods to lose weight first.  Unless you have an underlying cause for not being able to lose weight, this should be a last resort.

When I first started thinking about having this procedure done, I did check out some support groups, online only because, I just don't have enough hours in the day to go to in person meetings.  But I was able to get enough information to make me realise that there was really no support there.  Mostly it was people who were either whiney little brats or acted like they knew everything there was to know about bariatrics.  There were very very few people that actually could add some insightful ideas and advice but they were so far and few in between, it just really wasn't worth the effort.  I can not stress this enough, and I usually say it at least once for every Bariatric post that I make, nothing takes the place of the advice and counseling you get from your surgeon and their staff.  If you have questions ASK them first!

Whatever your reasons for having this surgery, are not really enough of a reason for actually having the surgery.  You should always weigh the pros to the cons. Of course there are many Pros for going ahead with a surgery like this, not just the weight loss but also the health benefits are wonderful and uplifting.  But there are also the cons, and there are a few.

The possibility of complications if you don't follow your surgeon's directions, is very possible.  You can have a leak which will require another surgery, or twisted stomach, which will also require another surgery.

There are also the limits that you will have to deal with for the rest of your life.  I am over 2 years out and I still can not eat more than 8 ounces at any 1 sitting.
Not like I try to eat more, because I don't.  I actually have held onto many of the good habits I picked up while i was still in the weight loss stage.  There is also the point that, when you eat too much, you will get sick to your stomach and may even throw up, even YEARS after the operation.  I do not do this often at all, but I will be honest, sometimes, it just happens.

And Alcohol?  Hah, Yes I drink once in awhile still but I metabolize it very differently now.  One drink and sometimes I am blasted.  You have to remember, because of your tiny stomach now, alcohol goes right to your intestine and absorbs into your bloodstream super quick!

There are also things that I just can not eat anymore.  Things that I used to really love to eat.  Some of it just makes me out right sick to my stomach, other things are just too heavy and make me very uncomfortable.  There are just a lot of things that I do not think people think about when offered this way to lose weight.

I think when the idea of this surgery comes into play, everyone that considers it should think about the ramifications of what this will do to them and how it will, most definitely affect the rest of your life because it, no doubt, will affect you.

For me, it gave me a new lease on life.  I am pretty much off all of the medications that I was once on.  The type II Diabetes that I was never able to control is under control now and without any medications.  I can play ball with my dogs, garden, run up and down stairs, walk over 6 miles in one shot and not be out of breath.  I am not crying about what I can't eat anymore or what I used to eat because life has become so much more than food.

Bariatric Surgery was the right decision for me...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Losing Weight After 50

I stopped losing weight after about the a year/ year and a half after my surgery.  I believe that's pretty common place with surgeries like this.  It's estimated that most people do lose about 70% of their excess weight during the first year or so after the surgery.

The surgeon did say that I would not lose all of the weight I wanted and would have to work at the remainder.  I just never really realized how hard that would be.   I also believe that my age, menopause and a history of over dieting doesnt help my situation any.

When you are younger, lets say under 30, it's really easy to lose weight as long as you eat right, get some exercise and pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth.  After 30 and into your 40s, your body begins to change.  Your hormones change and that does affect the way you lose weight.  If you are overweight in your 30's and 40's most of the time you start to acquire problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Diabetes is a bitch.  Not only do the meds make it hard to lose weight but the fact that your body is not metabolizing the sugar in your blood correctly makes it even harder to lose any weight let alone enough to actually make a difference in your diabetes.  It is literally a vicious circle.  And along with Diabetes, you get a host of other rotten little problems that go along with it, restless sleep, pins and needles in your legs and feet, mood swings...Oh it's just wonderful!

I digress...

I assumed that once I lost the weight, It would never come back.  Boy was I wrong, not only did I never get to the weight that I really wanted to be but I gained back about 20lbs!

And now, I am back to my struggling to lose an ounce!  However, I do have one thing that I did not have before and that is my 8oz stomach.  I currently limit myself to about 1000 calories a day.  As I was originally losing the weight I had no more than 1200 calories a day.  I dropped my intake down to 1000 and very low carb, low fat and I am still having problems losing any weight.

That's when it dawned on me.  Im old!  HaHa No Seriously, It's my age and the breakdown in hormones, one specifically called Cortisol, that seem to diminish was we age and is especially true for women that are in menopause.

I have been doing some reading and I read that DHEA can deplete as we go into menopause and we can get what is called Adrenal Imbalance, which is one of the reasons it's so very hard to lose any weight.  I think I'm going to try it.  They sell it over the counter but there is science that backs up its claims.

At this point I'm running out of options, all I want to lose is the damn 20 pounds I gained back!

Ill let you know how this turns out...right now I am hopeful! 😁

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How We are all Connected

I love food blogs.  Yup I said it.  And I really love to cook too.  But since I got this tiny new stomach, I try to eat less crappy stuff.  So I search the internet for decent food blogs.  One day I will give you a list of the ones I found and have actually made some of the recipes I have found.  But today is about just one of those blogs and the couple that run it and how the heck I feel like I became friends with them and inevitably grieve with them.

I don't know about you but as much as I don't like people, I also like to connect to people.  Well some people not all people.  And just as the kitchen used to be the main meeting place in all homes, the internet kitchen, or food blogs seem to have taken that spot.  I had found this blog called Pinch of Yum a few years back and really loved the recipes and the writing style of the Author.  Her name is Lindsay and her husband's name is Bjork and she even got this cute little adopted pup whose name is Sage.  Through her posts, mostly of recipes but sometimes of her life, I feel like I got to know these people and they seemed pretty cool.  Like I would love to have them as actual neighbors and all.

Anyway, so, I follow this blog and get updates on new recipes and all, when sometime during the second half of last year Lindsay announces she was pregnant. (you can read about it here - Baby News )  Now I am totally not into baby blogs or mommy blogs, I get that everyone thinks their kids are the cutest and coolest and smartest...I don't have kids so I guess I just don't get it.  But I was really very happy for them.  I suppose that's what all young couples want and by this point, and feeling like I "knew" them, I thought they would make really good parents.

Time went on, I still got my recipe updates, once in awhile she would blog about the progress of the baby and then IT happened.  On Dec 30 at a routine check up, something went wrong 😢 Uh Oh.

So Lindsey gave birth via c-section at like 26 weeks to Afton and unfortunately he passed through this mortal coil the very next day.

I have to say that this was probably one of the saddest stories I have very witnessed on a blog.  While I understand how heart wrenching this was to them they took some time off of the blog to re-assess life.  But I found myself checking the blog every day incase I missed something or just a word to know that they were ok.  Lindsay still writes about what she and Bjork are going though, and it kills me just a little every time I read her new posts.  I will admit, they choke me up every single time.  I would really love to reach out and hug them both, it's just so unfair.

But yet again I digress...

I think that these days with the internet, we are so much more connected to people that we would otherwise never know.   We learn from them and share our own knowledge be it through a blog or facebook or twitter or whatever other social media medium that you may use.  We are smarter and more knowledgeable because of the ability to be able to see into new places and connect with new people.  But are we open minded enough to accept the information that we seek, are we smart enough to know the difference between truth and fabrication?  Can we open our minds to new things and accept people for who and what they are without judgement or prejudice?   I know that I can...

Be good to each other because in the end, we really are all connected...