A couple of weeks ago, I was reading an article that stated that gastric bypass surgery could eliminate the symptoms of Type ll Diabetes. My husband mentioned this in passing the weekend before while we were out on a drive. This surprised me because he is the kind of man that likes a bigger, more rounded woman, (me in particular), but more importantly, his own mother passed away after complications from extreme weight loss. I did mention this to him, and he replied that with the information he was reading about, the benefits seemed to outweigh the risks, and he was concerned with my medical conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and my morbid obesity, I wouldn't outlive him, which is of course a possibility the way I am going.
I contemplated this idea for awhile and then started doing my own research. I also sent a message to my primary care physician over the online mychart website asking her opinion, She sent me a reply that she thought it was a good idea and she would send a referral over to the bariatric surgeons.
A little bit about me. I am 53 years old, I am considered morbidly obese, with a BMI of about 42. Last time I was weighed by my doctor, I was 250 pounds. I have been a chubby since I started 1st grade at the age of 6. In looking back, I wasn't huge, but in my mind, and apparently every other child on the playground I was enormous and what they needed to fuel their enthusiasm to tease and torture. In 3rd grade when the teacher would line us up and check our height and weight (why they thought they needed this information, I have no idea) I weighed as much as the boys and easily 30 pounds more than any of the other girls. Moving onward into the middle school ages and the cruelty of children, I tried my hardest to keep a low profile and avoid the mean things people might say. I certainly wasn't the chubbiest girl in my grade, but I was chubby enough and overly developed. The attention that brought on was highly embarrassing and made even more so because I felt so defenseless with my belly rolls and clothes that didn't fit right. My mother bought my wardrobe from the Wards catalogs, so I didn't get to try anything on first, but of course my size was considered to be "chubby". It even said that in the catalog! If that doesn't set a girl off on a good self image, I don't know what will. Then of course, there were the mean chants from my older siblings: "Shelley, Shelley, two by four, can't get through the kitchen door".
My mother put me on diets, my sister warned me before every bite that I took, and my father teased me and made fun of my fat body. I grew up in a world where it was OK to make fun of fat people. It was on the TV, in music, in comedy, on the playground. Even teachers...my PE teacher in 3rd grade gave me an unsatisfactory grade because I couldn't lift my own weight up a rope to touch the ceiling of the gym.
PE classes in Middle School were horrendous. Now I had to dress down and change into my PE clothes for gym class and we were required to take a shower afterwards. In an open shower where my body and all others girls' bodies were on display. Sometimes, I would take a miss and a bad grade just to avoid this. This and all the other things I have mentioned were part of the building blocks that created my self-deprecating attitude towards myself, my low self-esteem, and that who I am and what I am are not as important as other people I knew. It helped me become anti-social and untrusting of others and their motivations. I was the best friend of the girl that got asked out on dates. I was the buddy to the boy I had a crush on, so he could discuss HIS crush on my friends. I was invisible,
When I went to college, things changed a bit. At this point I was still carrying around about 30-40 extra pounds, but I tried to overcompensate by having the cute hair and the pretty make-up. I made new friends, dated a bit and found out that boys liked me anyway, but my self esteem was still not as it should be. I continued to constantly diet, count calories, try to exercise, but nothing seemed to last more than a few weeks, or even a month. When I met my first husband and went to the doctor to get birth control pills, I was amazed to learn that I was 182 pounds. I had no idea I had gained this much weight. All the charts said a female at my height should weight 129-135 pounds. I was a long, long way from that.
Life moved forward, I had 2 children and decided it was time to take action, so I joined Weight Watchers. It was something I had wanted to do back when I was in High School, but my mom said it wasn't something we could afford and she was probably right, but I knew a girl in High School who was very chubby and she came back after summer vacation all thin and cute. So, I joined, paid the dues and did everything they told me. I started at 205 lbs and whittled my weight down to about 145 pounds and a size 6 or 8 (depending on the clothes). I looked great! I felt great! I still felt fat! I had brain fat. It's where you can't see yourself for who you are because you are carrying around all the issues mentioned above and there isn't any outlet to make them leave. At the time, I had no idea what was going on. People would tell me I looked great and I would say I need to weigh 134 pounds to look great, but I still had a ways to go. Plus, I had the ugly phenomenon of loose skin...I didn't even know this would happen, but to me my naked stomach looked fat. It wasn't grotesque, but I had no idea where my waist was because to me everything looked straight up and down.
The weight loss lasted for about a year and then I became pregnant with my 3rd child and after he was born I was 185 pounds. I tried to diet, but quite frankly could never get that motivation again and slowly started packing the weight on. I don't think I have been under 200 pounds in 25 years. The closest I got was 213, but the highest I have been is 273. I have joined Weight Watchers over and over again, probably 7 times, and I have joined Nutrisystem 3 times. I also joined LA Weight Loss, bought countless diet books: South Beach, Weight Loss Clinic, Paleo Diet, Fit for Life, Adkins, the list goes on. I've read them all, I've tried many of them. Sometimes they would work for a week, or a month or even 3 months. I have lost anywhere from 15-45 pounds, but never enough to make a difference. And, the older I got, the worse my health became.
In January of 2014, my sweet mother died from complications brought on by her diabetes, She had suffered for many years in many different ways, and it started with her Type ll Diabetes when she was in her 50's. She left us all behind and I miss my mother so terribly. I don't want to do this to my children. I have 4 beautiful sons, daughters in law, grandchildren. A loving husband. I don't want to shorten my life on this earth because I can't get control of this issue that is slowly killing me. Some people may say, "Just eat less and exercise more", and I honestly don't think that is the only solution. There has to be a bigger reason why there are 500 million obese people in this world. I don't want to be part of that group any longer. I am ready for a change.