Weight Loss Surgery – Oh my

I can hear the gasps of surprise. I am still here! Things have happened, lots of attempts, lots of fails lots of giving up. But then while sitting at my diabetologist’s desk I made a promise that I didn’t think I would ever make. I promised to have a talk in an Adipositas Center of a Clinic about Weight Loss Surgery because neither I nor my doctor believed that I can do it alone and I need help.

So I decided to get back on this blog and will be using it to write about the whole thing, every step of the way from now until whenever. Back to the story.

I never even thought of going the WLS route, not because it’s bad, but because I am so afraid of surgery that I get panic attacks only by thinking of it. Not the surgery itself, but the general anaesthesia, or more precisely not waking up from it. I have had a near phobia of death ever since I was a child without even knowing where it came from since the first death I remember was when I was a teenager, many years later. When I was 20 my doctor told me that if my weight doesn’t change I won’t become 40. Well, my weight changed, in the wrong direction. Because I am an emotional eater.

Either way, yesterday I had my consultation at the clinic and it was a day full of surprises. First of all the people, patients and doctors alike were all super nice. Not a single judgy look to be seen, no whispers behind one’s back. The chairs didn’t look like they’d collapse when I just look at them. I could have jumped on them and they would have been fine. As someone who isn’t overweight, it might not be special but if you had chairs collapse under you or cut off your circulation, or did not even fit you because the seat was too small, this is heaven.

After my initial talk with the front-man, who was a humorous, happy young man who enjoyed talking a lot and made me feel welcome from the first second, I had to fill out a bunch of papers while I waited for my first of several talks. I had just finished when I was called in, which surprised me since I had been told to bring a lot of time. Not that I minded. The first talk was actually just measuring and weighing me, ugh.

To my utter surprise, I must have either shrunk 4 cm or I never was as tall as I thought. Still 1.86m so tall enough anyway. Maybe if I keep shrinking I will one day look UP to my boyfriend lol I also have gained weight, more than I thought I gained. So full disclosure, starting weight is 214.2 kg (472.23 lbs). That makes a BMI of 60.1. My waist diameter is 179cm (so almost as much as I am tall), forgot how much my hips are, but a lot.

So after that initial shock and surprise, I waited once more, not more than 10 minutes on a heavenly comfy chair before I met with the Surgeon. She was a very friendly and patient woman, explaining everything in detail and answering my questions. So a few things here. She would want me to get a gastric bypass (Either Roux-en-Y Gastric-Bypass or an Omega Loop Gastric Bypass ) because of my diabetes. It would eliminate the need for Diabetes meds from the moment of the surgery. There is a chance that some parts needed for the rearrangement to be not too fatty, are too fatty and won’t hold securely enough. In that case, the doctors would make the decision to do the Sleeve instead during Surgery.

Bypass

One of my burning questions, of course, was the risk of the surgery. The clinic I went to has performed over 400 surgeries by now, some patient with a weight higher than mine, and they haven’t lost a single one. Some had some problems later on and had to go back under the knife, but went out of that well as well. While it did not just snap away my fears, it quieted them down a lot for now.

In the end, my weight and its negative effects are a higher mortality risk than the surgery. Now isn’t that a scary thought?

Other questions also were answered, like yes I can still have kids without problems. The hospital stay after the surgery would, in general, be 3 nights. Leaving the stomach in there won’t cause any problems, on the contrary, it still has a function so it’s needed. Yes, I’d have to take vitamin supplements and be under constant control with blood tests and such. And my life would change radically.

Usually, before this kind of surgery, patients have to visit a nutrition course for half a year and proof that they tried to lose weight with help of a doctor. Here is where my BMI comes in because patients with a BMI above 60 don’t have to do that beforehand. That means two things. If I decide to do it, it could be much sooner than I expected. And I still need to do the nutrition course – or rather it was suggested and I want to do it – because it shows not only healthy eating but also helps to adjust to the life with food after surgery which will be a huge change.

There were more questions answered but I don’t remember them right now. If you are curious about anything to feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll see if that was one of the things I asked too 😉

The next talk was with the nutrition Lady. She went with me through my food diary for the last week, gave me points where I need adjustments, gave me tips for alternatives, went through the food pyramid with me and gave me a couple of things that I can already ‘train’ myself to do. Changing habits and all that. All things that would be important to me after surgery as well. And they are all things I don’t do now, so it’ll be hard, but helpful. Lemme see what it was.

  • Eat slowly, take your time and don’t do anything next to eating. Focus on it and enjoy it.
  • Take small bites, really small birdy bites.
  • Chew each bite 15-20 times. (How in the heck am I supposed to chew birdy bites that often?)
  • Make sure your food is like a mash before swallowing. Later after surgery especially in the beginning, it can cause trouble otherwise.
  • Eat fewer carbs and sugar, add more protein. (Did you know there is an eggwhite bread? I had NO idea. Got some today, will see how it tastes.)
  • Veggies are your best friend. Starving? Eat veggies as much as you want. But remember to chew a lot.
  • Drink water, but stop 30 minutes before your meal and after your meal is done, don’t drink for another 30 minutes. Otherwise, your food will just drop and wash out through your stomach and didn’t get all the great digestive stuff it needs. (I know it is more complicated but that’s the gist in short.)

I have tried it for the first time today. My bites were still too big, I did chew until I violated the not doing anything rule and read my emails and gone was the food without chewing, oops. I didn’t have any veggies and I drank in the middle of dinner. But it was the first day of breaking a 38-year-old habit. I’ll just have to break through that and be more mindful.

So after the conversation, there was done I had a brief talk with the psychologist. She wanted to know about family history, illnesses, mental health of course, what my biggest wish is to achieve with this surgery and most importantly if I have a support network. As this is a life-changing surgery, a support network is so very very important. To go through it alone would be so hard. So I hope everyone doing it does have one. I am lucky because I know I do.

My last visit was back at the front desk, where I got a nice folder with all kinds of information and a list of what the Adipositas Center needs from me for my application. Once I got all that together I can hand it in and they will fill out everything for the insurance, to make them pay for the surgery. I am relieved that I don’t have to fill that out myself because these forms always frustrate me.

The Center calls me as soon as the next nutrition course begins so I can start that right away. Most likely January. It’ll be once a month and goes for 6 months. A group of 5-6 people who all are in the process of getting that surgery. Yay for no fat judgy people, we’re all in the same boat.

The biggest piece of information I got from the lovely man at the front desk. He suggested to start the process right now and get the stuff together as soon as possible. As soon as the insurance agrees to pay, that agreement lasts a full year. What that means is, since he knew that I’m afraid (I wear my emotions on my sleeve), he told me I can change my mind at any time up until the day of surgery. So basically, if I am too scared the day before I can cancel and thanks to the 1 year ‘warranty’ I can try again later. It is good to have that piece of safety, the knowledge that I can change my mind if I really feel I can’t do it.

So right now, it’s holiday time, doctor offices are closed so I can’t do anything. But I have decided to start the process. I’ll talk with my doctor, do the courses, collect the paperwork and hand it in. And then if all goes well and I don’t get cold feet, I’ll go through with it. And if not, I know it is okay. That helps my stomach to not want to hurl constantly right now. That’s good, that’s always good.

So, here it is, step one into a future, in which I have a chance for a normal life (with a lot of work (after all surgery is a tool, not a magic spell to do everything for me) and change but better than now no matter what).

Wouldn’t that be something?

 

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A massive sea of “Nope!”

You know the feeling when you’re numb?

Yeah, that is me right now.

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Usually, I’m the type of person who feels too much. I easily cry because I get overwhelmed just as easily. I am feeling so much that I feel like I’m in a constant cloud of noise. But these days it has become so much that I am kind of shut down. It is hard to feel anything.

I go through my days like on auto pilot. I get up after not enough sleep, I try to do so something but most of the times I can’t be bothered. Most of the days recently I become so tired in the evening that I take a nap, which is planned to be an hour or two long but ends up to become 5 or more hours. I am still tired and without energy afterward, but manage to do one or two things before going to bed again.

There are a lot of things that I really love to do. I love working in Photoshop, I love writing, I love gaming, I love creating 3D Mesh, but whenever I start something, anything that I usually love, I don’t get excited. I actually am getting bored of it after only minutes. I love my friends, but I am having a really hard time to talk with anyone, to keep up with people in conversations. It’s like my brain is just a massive sea of “NOPE!”.

Don’t get me wrong, I still care, I still love, I still laugh. But most of the day I just sit here and feel nothing. I blame my depression, which is possibly what it is anyway. It’s been like that for two weeks maybe and I can’t wait for it to be over so I can get excited about things again.

The Chair of my dreams

The feeling of happiness when you find something that actually supports you is awesome! For me, that moment was when I got a desk chair that was made to carry up to 200kg. With me being around that weight, this was like a special gift, especially because it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg AND didn’t have armrests.

Public Service Announcement: If you sell a chair that carries 200kg people, don’t put armrests on it that only allow thinner people to sit in the chair. Like seriously. Make them retractable, or optional or something. Same with the width of the seat, make it appropriately wide. What good does it do if the chair can carry be but I don’t fit in? I can’t be the only one who ran into that problem.

Either way back to the subject:

For years I had a chair without a backrest with a shaky seat and a horrid disposition of introducing me to a lot of joint -, back- and butt pain. I’ve got the new chair in June and the first time I sat down it was like heaven. I could lean back for the first time in years. The seat was soft and it was just beautiful.

Now it’s August (it is, right?) and the seat suddenly moved down and didn’t get back up when I sat on it. It does when I stand up. So I contacted the vendor and they are going to send me a new hydraulic pole (or whatever that thing is called), which seems to be what is broken. I am super happy about that service.

I can’t wait to get that pole and spare my knee from the pain it has right now due to the deep seat. I am 1,90 m tall I need a high seat. lol

So… Good Chair, great service, happy me!

A shoe odyssey

As some of you may know, I am not good on my legs. I can’t stand or walk for more than a few minutes (3 usually.. 5 on a good day). Another thing you need to know is that I am one of the few women on this globe that hates to shop. Part of that is that things in my size are just like unicorns, be it clothing or shoes, even jewellery.

So for the last few weeks, I and the boyfriend had the plan to go shoe shopping for me. While you surely can imagine my unbridled enthusiasm (sarcasm warning) for shopping, I actually was looking forward to that for several reasons. First, I have two pairs of shoes: House shoes (well for inside the house) that are just a piece of fabric with some fake fur inside and that hurt my feet, and street shoes that are 10+ years old and are falling apart. The second reason is a bit longer.

Since I can’t do much in the area of exercise I wanted to start with something that I can do and isn’t too painful. After looking around for a while, I found a mini bike. You can put that thing under the table or on the table if you want to train your arms.

Minibike

As soon as it arrived I tried it, but my house shoes were too big to fit into the straps and barefoot it hurt after just a few minutes. So I wanted to have sporty shoes for using that. Since my feet hurt with my house shoes I also wanted new ones there, and I recently got a skirt that I wanted to wear but my only shoes for outside are not suitable for that. So I wanted something for this.

We managed to actually be up early enough on Saturday to pull through with the plan. As I had thought, I needed many many breaks, some after only a few meters. As a side note: I had no idea how hard it is to find size 46 (12 1/2) shoes in a men’s section of a shoe store. Altogether the search took several shoe stores and 6 hours of searching, testing, walking and breaking, including dizzy spells and everything else that is ‘Fine’.

As is to be expected I am in a world of pain now. Every muscle, every joint, everything. But at the same time, I am proud of myself, because I didn’t choose the lazy way to stay home, for knowing that I’ll be in pain and still go and do it. For taking breaks when I needed them, for ignoring that I was way over my head. And I am proud of the man of my dreams ™ who bore with me, was patient, helpful at every corner, never lost his humour and in the end also got himself new shoes because his fell apart as well.

Despite the aftermath, I am proud and glad that we got this over with. And as soon as that pain is over, I’ll get new pain, because I really want to start using that Mini bike!

#big-sizes, #fat, #motivation, #oversize, #overweight, #self-care, #shopping

Back on the needle

When I was diagnosed in 2005 I was in the hospital for two weeks. I was sent to classes to learn how to deal, what to do, what not to do, how to improve and what happens when things get worse. You know what nobody told me?

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Diabetes sucks! Big hairy donkey balls.

Yeah, most of the time it’s alright. It can be berable and if everything goes well one can live with it. It isn’t a disease that hurts – at least not until the bad side effects show themselves – which also makes it tricky and easy to ignore.

For a couple of years I had the unbelievable luck that I had gotten rid of it. I had always known it was temporary. So now I am back on the needle. For the last couple of month I have tried to get it back under control. I have take so much insulin for each bread unit, so much Basal that I wonder why I don’t inject the whole vial for one dinner. The pills I have to take to make it even work leave a bad taste in my mouth and give me the runs. At least I was able to change from Metformin to Siofor (which also is a metformin but in a different way put

The pills I have to take to make it even work leave a bad taste in my mouth and give me the runs. At least I was able to change from Metformin to Siofor (which also is a metformin but in a different way put together), because with Metformin I suffered like a beaten dog from cramps and nausea ever day. So at least that is gone but the runs still suck.

I get some other pills that are helping to get rid of some sugar by peeing it all out, but it’s not much. In the two plus something months I have been back on the needle I was once (!!!) at a blood sugar level that I aimed for. I measure my food, I raised the insulin per bread unit and what not, but daaaang that bloody sugar just doesn’t want to go down.

I’ll keep trying. My doc said to try to go to a full Siofor instead of a half and see if my stomach allows it. Of course he also suggested to move more. I know that sport helps, exercise is great to lower your blood sugar levels. Though with a body like mine I can hardly stand for 3 minutes without my back yelling bloody murder at me.

I sound like I complain a lot, don’t I? Actually most of the time I just swallow it and think that I’m lucky. My parent’s neighbour lost his leg due to diabetes and ignoring it. Many people have it much worse, at least I get treatment and help from my doc. But hell, just because others have it worse doesn’t mean I have to like all this. So suck it up, I complain!

So what I do now is continue. Measure, weigh, calculate, adjust and make sure that I don’t end up like many others who didn’t.

Back on the needle I go!

#diabetes, #health, #medical-stuff, #truth

“Lose weight” The ‘heal-all solution’

Got the flu – Lose weight
Got a broken arm – Lose weight
Eye sight is getting worse – Lose weight

Quite sure that many of you out there have heard the same bullshit no matter what the problem was that brought you to the doctor in the first place. It is crazy how much people get reduced to the numbers on the scales. Yes I know all the important stuff. I know that high weight IS dangerous and unhealthy. I know that many of the problems that I have are caused by my weight.

The problem is, if you enter the doctor’s office and ALL they see is your weight, you might be really sick but aren’t helped because ‘losing weight’ is what apparently cures everything. I could go on a long rant about how overweight people can be as healthy as thin people can be unhealthy and all that stuff we’ve heard a million times. The simple plea that I keep bringing up to my doctors is:

“Take my issues seriously. If I tell you I am coming down with a cold, a flu, constant headaches, pain… check me up. Pretend I’m not the fattest person you’ve ever seen and check me for my bloody symptoms. Don’t tell me I’m fat, because guess what, I have mirrors, I see myself every day, I feel my weight every day, every doctor in my life has told me, every person side eyeing me on the street has in one way or the other told me – I KNOW. You are not giving me news. The news I want from YOU as my doctor is how to get rid of being sick.

Alright now to the sunshine part of this post. I have found a doctor who surprisingly took three whole sittings until he even hinted at my weight. I wanted to cry. It felt so good to be taken seriously, to not be looked at like that fat person who will be cured with less kilos on her body, a smaller number on a scale. That doctor is my diabetologist, and I have promised almost a year ago to tell you about this positive experience.

I went to this doctor because my old diabetologist would have taken several month to even get me on his schedule despite dangerously high hba1c results in my blood test back in October. Not for one second I have regretted the change. My new diabetologist is the first doctor in my now 38 year old life to not say “You have to lose weight” the first time he opens his mouth. We started my treatment for my diabetes right away. I got pills, got some other things for injections to test and when they didn’t work we tried something else.

In our third sitting he right out said “Listen, I’m not going to tell you to lose weight because I’m sure you know all that and everyone has told you.” It was a real honest laugh between us. He also said “I know I can’t tell you anything that makes it easier either, because let’s face it, I have no idea what you’re going through.” He is skin and bones and knows it. He doesn’t pretend to know the tiniest bit. And I love him for it. We still talked about what I tried, what I did not want to try (Surgery, I have huge panic attacks just thinking of it – not healthy), and what I could try.

So far nothing helped but that is not the point of this post, I’ll talk about that later. The point is, this man is taking me seriously, he is seeing me as a human being. And as a fat person who spent most of her life around doctors telling her that she is only worth proper attention when she is thin… that is the most precious thing a doctor could have given me.

Do you have experiences like this? What do you do when your doctor sees losing weight as the one stop heal? Have you found a doctor that sends them all to hell and sees you as a human who needs their help? Tell me about it down in the comments!

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#doctors, #fat, #lose-weight, #medical-stuff, #weight-loss

A lot of time has passed

A lot of time has passed – again. You must be as sick of that as I am really. No apologies, no excuses. I suck at keeping things current and keep talking about stuff that’s hard for me. Anyway. I am here right now. Let’s see for how long, shall we?

Thinks have been happening that I’ll be updating you guys about over the course of the next couple of days. Right now I just wanted to peek in and give a lifesign. Starting anew and all that stuff. So see you around soon!