September, 2018 my doctor told me if I didn’t lose weight, I was going to die, and the hernia that they were going to repair was going to likely have to be re-repaired.
Ugh. And Double Ugh. I had kept my head buried in the sand for a while, and the scale went up and up. It was reading 427 pounds. Serious UGH. Nothing I did would budge that stupid scale down.
Until my head changed. I realized that it had to move. And it had to change. So, I scheduled an appointment with a bariatric surgeon who came highly recommended for his low complication rates.
I started my 6 months of tests that would ultimately lead to bariatric surgery, and started working out with a personal trainer twice a week.
When I started working out, I could barely walk to the end of my cul-de-sac without wanting to die, and honestly, getting onto the exercise bike required almost an act of God. (And probably 5 minutes of contortions to make it happen)
Fortunately, I have the most amazing personal trainer, who has stuck with me through thick and thin. Reminding me to drink my water, and get my protein, and get some movement in every day. Coach Chris has been SO supportive. I dropped 50 pounds before I had bariatric surgery, and gained strength and flexibility, and stamina. Amazing.
I had the BPD-DS bariatric surgery procedure 4–18–19. I’m not going to lie. It was hard. I had to have a liquid diet for a full week before surgery, including protein shakes, clear fluids, and not much else. Because of insurance, and dealing with insurance approvals, I actually ended up on the liquid diet for 10 days pre-surgery. I almost gave up, then insurance pre-approval came through.
Going to 450 calories per day and staying there for a while is pretty rough. those 10 days before surgery, I was crabby, and I was cranky. To say I was irritable would be to put it mildly. I was an absolute crab-bucket.
Surgery was pretty easy, especially compared to having hernia surgery 6 months before. What I didn’t expect was that the recovery would be both easy, and very hard.
The surgery part was easy. I was able to get my fluids in. See — when you have bariatric surgery, you start by having to sip tiny amounts of fluids at a time. It’s the biggest reason that a lot of people end up back in the hospital. It’s hard to get enough fluids in the first little bit, so you have to concentrate on it. Lucky for me, I work from home, and from my desk at home, so I set myself up with a timer, and my bottle of Powerade Zero, and timed it going down. Pretty cool.
What wasn’t so cool was the fact that I had brain fog, and just sheer exhaustion going on for MONTHS. You start with very few calories per day, and very, very few carbs. I found a huge correlation between carb consumption, and brain fog. Unfortunately, the diet that you follow post-bariatric surgery has you on very low carbs for a few months so for me, I felt a lot like butt and brain-foggy for a few months.
I could tell I was slowly getting better as I consumed more food, and recovered from surgery, but I didn’t have my stamina back. I couldn’t go without sleep, or lower amounts of sleep for any period of time.
I was dealing with exhaustion, and losing a ton of weight.
People around me started treating me quite differently. It was like I was suddenly smarter, more talented, and more brilliant. The more weight I lost, the smarter I became.
It is the weirdest thing. Because while I’ve had lots of non-scale victories- like being able to walk a 20 minute mile, and having my stomach no longer touch the steering wheel, or being able to sit in whatever chair I want without fear of having it break, or even dropping a ton of clothing sizes- I still feel just “OK”. What was going on inside was totally different than what people thought and judged on the outside. I dropped 175 pounds.
On the inside, I’m still the same person. And I don’t always feel that great. Exhaustion is a thing. Lack of stamina is a thing. I have struggled with my iron levels since my surgery- which is a common side effect of the particular surgery I had.
Yet, on the outside, people think I’m more bubbly, and more confident, and more.. of everything.
Interesting. The me on the inside is a bit different than the me on the outside. What I’m learning is that people see what they want to see. There is a lot of them projecting what they want, and their values, and their perspective onto me- and very little to actually do with who I am or what I actually stand for.
Lightbulb moment. People judge by appearances, and they make quick decisions on your competence, and intelligence, and compassion, based on your appearance. And it’s sad, and frustrating.
Now, to be a role model that there are more things in life than appearances..