By Sandi Henderson, Guest Blogger from BandedLiving and Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Patient www.bandedliving.com
In January 2004 I sat in my doctor’s office fearing for my life, waiting for her to tell me that my blood pressure had gone down enough that I could go to the pharmacy and pick up my blood pressure meds and then go home. I was terrified. I was confused. I was morbidly obese and finally was scared into doing something about it.
In February 2004 I attended a weight loss surgery seminar at one of the local hospitals, and since I had done quite a bit of reading before I went I decided I wanted to visit with the surgeon and learn more about lap band surgery. I might be able to do this. If “it worked” maybe I would be able to lose some of this 424 pounds I was carrying around and help with some of my health issues. My visit with the surgeon confirmed my gut feelings that this could be “it” and before I knew it I was scheduled for surgery on May 28, 2004.
On that day I was prepared to die in surgery. I told my husband no “extreme measures” were to be taken. The anesthesiologist saw me in the pre-op area and gave me something to calm my nerves. I went out like a light and woke up in recovery. I was alive, hurting, disoriented and had a nurse telling me my sugar was too high and I needed a shot of insulin. All I could get out of my mouth were the words, “I don’t have diabetes”. Five minutes, or 5 hours later, I have no concept of how long I was in recovery, I was brought up to my room and my husband. Now my new life truly began. Previous to this time, at 424 pounds I could barely walk across a room without stopping because of pain in my knee and having to catch my breath. I no longer went shopping. I created a list and gave it to my husband. My vacations were very restricted, my life was getting smaller and smaller as I got bigger and bigger. I had high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma, osteoarthritis in my right knee, and was on track at 55 years old to develop many more co-morbidities associated with morbid obesity. May 28,2004. That’s the day my new life began.
Post Weight Loss Surgery - A New Life
I followed ALL of the doctor’s instructions concerning protein, liquids, food progressions, vitamin supplements, support groups, regular visits to the office and within 2 years lost 250 pounds. I now weighed less than the amount of weight that I lost, and not to anyone’s surprise, as my body got smaller, my life got bigger and bigger. I could once again scuba dive, my grandkids could sit in my lap since I had one, I was swimming laps at least 6 times weekly and was in better health at 57 than I had been in the past 40 years.
I learned that I ate to live, I no longer had to live to eat. I could actually use food as medicine, as fuel for my body, the building blocks of muscle, and not as something that soothed the savage beast within me. I find it quite interesting that many of us who are overweight or obese are also malnourished. Add that to the food restrictions after weight loss surgery and you can have some folks in pretty poor shape. For me, as I lost weight my skin cleared, my eyes had a shine to them, my hair did NOT fall out, my energy levels increased, my depression, anger and negative outlook decreased, and I just felt good about life.
Take Your Vitamins and Supplements!
All of this did not come from simply losing weight. If that was the case, why did others I saw in support group lose hair, have really sickly looking skin, no energy, and increased depression and negative outlook? I can’t speak “scientifically” about this but I can say from the time I came home after surgery I began taking a good, chewable (because it was easy to take) multivitamin, my calcium, and as I added foods into my eating program, I strived to make healthy choices and balance my nutrition as much as possible. Within weeks of surgery it also became apparent that a good digestive aid was also necessary to keep things “moving along” on a regular basis. Any eating plan that is high in protein can easily create digestive issues.
Here I am now, over 7 years post-op doing the same things to stay healthy that I started on day 1 - Eating to live, taking a daily supplement of multivitamin and minerals, using a digestive aide, exercising regularly, and most important of all - participating in my life.
Please visit www.bandedliving.com for great information and a closed forum for support or Sandi's blog at http://sandisbandedliving.com/ and be sure to like Banded living on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/sandi.lapbandedliving.