Please read my previous post on this subject:
Half the Man I Used to Be: My Journey Begins
In August 2012 I started my journey to better health in the Henry Ford Health System Bariatric Surgery Program. At the program orientation, I received my official starting weight and was not happy about the number. I should not have been surprised, however. In the past I tried several diets and weight loss programs and many of them worked initially. After a while, though, my regular habits kicked back in and I remembered that pizza tastes awesome, cheeseburgers are delicious, and exercise is hard. I fell back onto a little something I like to call “Reckless Abandon.” It is the easiest program to follow. Mainly because it required very little care on my part and allowed me to eat any and every thing I wanted. Fast food became a staple, making up the majority of my meals. Portions were of no concern, I just ate until I felt like I would explode. Reckless Abandon is great! Unless your goal is to lose weight and live a long, healthy life.
I finally decided that a healthier lifestyle was best for me and my family, so there I was learning about my surgical options as well as their risks and benefits. The biggest risk? I could die on the operating table. Other risks weren’t much better. My new stomach might leak, causing excruciating pain and possibly death. The surgery could put too much strain on my already over-worked heart and I could have a heart attack, which means…yep, I could die. I could get really skinny and spend the rest of my life as an underwear model…then, yes, die. In my substancial gut, though, I felt that all of those possibilities were highly unlikely, especially the last one. Even though the risks were serious, the way I saw it, carrying around over 500 pounds was at least as risky. I decided that the gastric sleeve seemed like the best choice for me, since the expected results were very similar to the “gold standard” gastric bypass but the side effects were not as severe. The immediate challenge I faced was losing 50 pounds.
All patients must lose weight before having surgery, usually five to ten percent of their body weight, so my magic number was 50. Other requirements I had to satisfy were attending an exercise and nutrition class, seeing the program’s psychologist, getting blood work done, and having my primary care doctor sign off on the surgery. I had no intention of taking my sweet time with this. After all, swim suit season was just ten months away and I had a yellow Speedo to unveil! I had all of my appointments satisfied by mid October. I even started a medically supervised weight loss program with Henry Ford Health System on October 3, 2012. By December I had lost my required 50 pounds.
On December 7, 2012, I got my surgery date! I was hoping for the last week in January, but unfortunately the first available date was February 18, 2013. Later than I wanted, but that was OK, I had the date. Little did I know, I would not actually have to wait so long to start the next phase of my journey.
Read the next part here: Half the Man I Used to Be: The Big Day