I am Having Weight Loss Surgery Next Month

I’m doing it.  On October 29, I am having weight loss surgery using the lapband method.   It’s not an easy choice in many ways, but for me, it is the right choice.   Over the last 3 months, I’ve done all the official prep with referrals and evaluations from a psychologist and a clinical nutritionist.  I’ve had blood work done and filled out multiple long questionnaires with dozens of questions.  I’ve read Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies and read blogs and research sites both in favor and against the surgery.  I’ve thought and pondered and prayed.

Lapband in PlaceLast week I met with the surgeon and another 10 lapband patients for a bariatric education session.  First was the office itself.  I sat in a chair and felt my legs dangle as I realized that everything was big enough for me.  We all were looking around at the armless chairs right next to each other without spilling over and feeling too fat for the chairs.  We found out later that those were bariatric chairs and could hold 1000 pounds.  Getting weighed was simple and done in a way that didn’t make my tummy flip; we never saw or were told the weight.  The BP cuffs were all for large people.

The surgeon is Austrian and has been doing lapband surgery for over 10 years; it was legal in Europe and other parts of the world before it was approved here in the US.  He was relaxed and approachable, encouraging us to ask all the questions we could think of.   He explained the procedure, drew pictures, and passed around a lapband for us to examine.  He was frank about the possible complications while also talking about what this particular center had experienced since they started doing the procedure in 2006.  We know what to expect and all of us are excited but also nervous because now it’s real.  And it’s considered major surgery even though the lapband is much less of a big deal than the RNY bypass procedure.

Next week I go back for my individual appointment, including a physical and going over specifics for my case.  From there I go to the hospital to have my EKG and meet with the anesthesiologist.  Next month I will see my primary care doctor for a regular follow up and then a bunch of bloodwork.  After that, it’s prep time for weeding out the pantry and stocking up on the things I’ll be able to eat in those first few weeks after surgery.  And cleaning and getting fresh library books.

I will be out of work for two weeks and a few days.  I want to stay home through the first 2 weeks and my first visit to the doctor to have my stitches out and get a fill for my band.  As he explained to us, the stomach gets swollen as a result of the surgery and it takes about 2 weeks for the swelling to go down.  Those first 2 weeks we have nothing but liquid and a little Ensure for some protein – not as a punishment, but because the tummy is too swollen for anything solid to get through the pouch to the stomach.  We don’t want that.

Yes, I will eat differently for the rest of my life.  I can and will adjust to it. I’m fortunate in that I live alone with no other human family to feed, so meals will be easy – and they don’t have to be boring.  Just not huge.  The first six weeks will be a learning time and I’m glad I’m staying put for the next few months so I know I’ll have access to what I need while I’m still looking it up regularly to be sure I know what I’m doing.

Exercise starts the day of or the day after surgery and continues as a key component of post-op life.  This isn’t a plan for people who want to just sit around and watch TV.  Given that I have big knee problems, I will be adding different options.  I have some exercise DVD’s at home with a set of graduated weights and those therabands that I’ve used in PT, and I’m almost back into the bathing suit I last used for water aerobics at the gym.  As I get lighter and knee has less weight on it – and as I strengthen the muscles around it – I’ll be able to take on more cardio options.

I know this is not the choice that some or all of you would make, and that some readers think this is the cheating, fast, no-commitment method to avoid the long hard challenge of losing weight counting points, carbs, fats, proteins, salt, fiber, and anything else that we watch.  We, because I’ve been watching them in one way or another since I was 11 years old.

This is my choice and I’m taking on the risks and limitations that go with it, to get to a better place medically under the supervision of a nationally recognized bariatric surgical center and with the support of my primary physician, my family and my friends.

I’m ready.

16 thoughts on “I am Having Weight Loss Surgery Next Month

  1. I don’t know how anyone can think of major surgery as “cheating” or the “easy way out.” Post-op, you will have to be as careful with your food and exercise as any dieter, and then some. And then there’s the whole surgery thing. But you have been living with pain for a long time and you’re ready for a major change. I can understand that and I support your decision. You’re not the kind of person who goes into something like this lightly.

  2. I agree with Jen – nobody can think of this as cheating or the easy way out. It is a difficult road to take, just as difficult as any other weight loss journey.

    I read a blogger who has had the surgery but I cant remember which blog it is right now – I’ll drop back with a link when I work it out. 😉 I have about 300 blogs to dig through to find it!

    But before I go I want to say good on you for being brave enough to make this decision and go through with it.

    I love Aqua Aerobics – I’ll be getting back into that this summer myself. 🙂

  3. Clara

    Congratulations, Anne! This is a big step, and it’s obvious that you’ve done your homework and made your decision based on hard facts and self-knowledge. It sounds like you have a wonderful surgeon and excellent resources in your medical center.

    You’re right about it starting to feel real once you have a date for surgery. You may also start questioning yourself about whether this is, in fact, the right thing to do. This isn’t unusual. This was my experience (I had RNY on August 3) and a fair number of the members of my support group have said the same.

    Preparation is a good predictor of success in WLS, and you sound well prepared. I wish you all the best for your surgery and recovery.

  4. Jill P.

    Good for you and good luck to you! What you do with your body is your business, and anyone that has something negative to say should mind their own. I appreciate that you share these things with your readers. We all benefit from people like you who are willing to share your experiences.

  5. annimal

    Congrats on making the decision. You sound well researched and informed. I wish you the best and I’m sure will be green with envy over your results.
    I would love it if you would continue blogging your entire experience throughout surgery and after.

  6. I’ll be rooting for you all the way. You’ve struggled and searched and educated yourself and made a decision that is right for YOU. We’re with you, girl!

  7. I’ll be pulling for ya but I got the LapBand 1 1/2 yrs ago and I weigh more now that I ever have. In daily life, I don’t know that I am banded, the band has no effect on me.

  8. Lori W.

    Me too, I’ll be rooting for you and I know this isn’t an easy decision. You’ve gone through this very methodically and carefully and I’m really happy for you. The place sounds very good and I’m so happy for you!

  9. It is clear that this is not a snap decision and you are way too smart a cookie to do something like this on a whim so I am EXCITED for you. Change is almost always a good thing. And I promise you that your knees will feel better with less weight on you!! 🙂

  10. Elizabeth

    I wish you only the best also.
    I too, had Lap Band surgery 2 years ago. Ive lost about 40 pounds. If I had it to do again, I would pick gastric bypass.
    IThe Band does work for many people tho, Ive heard.

  11. Antoinette S.

    Wow, you really opened my eyes…your article really answered alot of my questions. I wish you all the best and a quick recovery!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s