Choices made and the unknown consequences of Gastric Bypass
In 1996, I made the life altering decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Ballooning to a weight of 239 pounds, I was fully over 100 pounds overweight. As an emotional eater, I felt my life was out of control and dieting was not a viable option anymore.
My mother died in 1988 and within the next 8 years I moved three times and hated living in the state of Texas. The whole mentality of the Texas way of life was abhorrent to me and my children also felt the sting of judgment and pain from the constant barrage of heat, oil field gasses and overly religious sentiment. Turning to food for my solace, it was easy to put the weight on as a cushion for my pain.
During one of my drives to the only place I felt "at home", (a bookstore) I heard an advertisement for a weight loss alternative called "Neweigh" in Houston. I called for the information and made an appointment for an assessment. It was only a matter of weeks that I was in the hospital literally "under the knife". My surgery date was 7-3-1996. This was almost fifteen years ago to the day.
My children had gone to their father for the summer to visit, and my husband was barely present at the hospital to help me along. It was then I realized not only was my support team out of touch, but I was truly on my own. I would show them I would endure. The family was none to happy with me for taking this drastic step in the event that my surgery would have the potential to kill me on the table. Add to that, there was no real information out there as it was a relatively new surgical procedure. I only knew that as a prediabetic I would place myself in a health crisis that had already killed many of my relatives. For me, it was a no brainer.
I have never regretted having gastric bypass, although there are absorption issues still, and I have not lost as much weight as I would like. They told me there was "no turning back" after having it, but I did find that after a period of time, the stomach stretches a bit. I still regurgitate when I eat too much, and am now a full blown diabetic and suffer from other maladies. I am now 55 years old and still need to watch my weight and also need to take all manner of vitamins, whey drinks and other medications. There is no quick and dirty fix to the issue of obesity, and people like me are always at risk for "falling off the wagon".
Since we all have to eat, it is easy to be addicted to food. But it is the choices I make that get me into trouble. I have my days when I am doing well, and I have my days I am an angry diabetic and post operative patient. I do not think I fully have undergone the emotional part of my weight issues, and I do admit that freely. Whenever I feel stressed, sad or upset, I run for carbs. There is no "Carbohydrates anonymous" out there. Sure, there is weight watchers, and many other weight loss support groups, but I am not a fan of "clubs". It is difficult for me to discern my underlying issues as I am not an onlooker or bystander in this game of life. I still do not regret the surgery, but I do regret that I have not had health insurance for years o end that would afford me the opportunity for gastric repair.
I also can tell you very seriously, regular family doctors know nothing about gastric bypass. Your surgeon can assist you, but he/she is not the doctor you go to after the surgery. You need to have some kind of outlet for your angst, your stress and someone to bounce off of when you need to let things go. For me, living in the south appeared to be the catalyst for my demise into the abyss, although after surgery I had a fantastic job at a tax office, a great Masters program to attend and earn a degree at, and a job in higher education that led me onto finding better work in other places.
Not everything is black and white. I know the experience was one that was a path I needed to take at the time, and I look back with appreciation, not regret when I think of my decision. Now I need to get back on the horse again and get well, stay on track and keep my body in balance again. Life is a series of paths and each come to a point of choice. This was a good choice for the time and has led me to learn more about myself and the life I have come to earth to live.