gsleeveBefore I met my husband, I had successfully shed over 50 lbs. from good old fashioned diet and exercise. I am not poo-pooing that in the slightest. I felt better and I was disciplined. My whole routine went bonkerdoodles once we got married. I moved from my house in paved suburbia to our little cozy shack (or as I refer to it – our ‘estate’) in the woods where the roads are unpaved, uneven and the roads can have a variety of creatures ranging from wild boar to Jurassic-era coyotes, half-wild dogs to bobcats, and rattlesnakes to mountain lions. No, I am not kidding you. About 6 months after we got married, my then 12 year old terrier got bitten by a copperhead in our yard. I’m happy to say he survived and is nearly 15 now. I nearly had a stroke from the shock – but he was fine after a visit to the vet. Whew.

I started adding on the weight about 8 months into our courtship. We talked on the phone when he got off work – usually about the time I was leaving the gym… then his schedule got changed and he got off from work 2 hours earlier. I decided to stop going to the gym so we could keep talking on the phone – we lived 80+ miles apart and only visited with each other every other Sunday or so. Then we get hitched and there is no room (per the spousal unit) for my treadmill. I knew I had to ‘make time’ or lose it if I was going to try to get back into shape. Well, 3 years later, all the weight is back and it brought friends. I cannot walk down our road without twisting my ankle on the caliche rock, or without packing a gun to ward off wild beasts. We commute over 100 miles per day round trip, so by the time we get home, the last thing I want to do is hop back into the car and drive 30 minutes to a place I can work out – since I no longer live down the block from the cute little park & gym in my former suburbia.

Not only am I bigger, I’m older. I don’t have the muscle mass to carry this weight and in addition to looking in the mirror and being disgusted with the way my body is now shaped, it’s harder to sleep, walk and even wipe. Yes, I said it. If I gain 5 more lbs, I don’t think I’ll be able to get to everything – if you know what I’m sayin’.

So – with all the weight loss procedures, why did I pick the gastric sleeve? I’d heard mixed reviews about the lapband – and I didn’t like the notion of having a foreign body inside my body – especially since it needs to be fiddled with a lot. The gastric bypass seems a bit like voodoo to me. It’s been performed literally for over 100 years – but it seems to be more for people who lack discipline and a more complex surgery that reroutes your pipes in a way that God never intended to ‘cheat the system.’

So – here’s how I talked myself into this business:

  1. My insurance pays for most of it (woot woot!)
  2. The gastric sleeve removes a portion (albeit large) of your stomach, but does no re-routing. It actually should reduce my acid reflux and the part that gets removed contains the hormone ghrelin – and ghrelin is the stuff that tells your brain that you’re hungry. I can do this if I’m not hungry! YES!
  3. The part of the stomach that remains is akin to a tube – so you get full faster and you get the sensation of being full a lot sooner.
  4. I have one friend that had this done 6 years ago – and she’s kept it off – she looks great and she’s completely healthy and properly nourished
  5. I have gotten to the weight and age where I need the help. Seriously. I have zero pep and the one thing that works for me, walking, isn’t an option where I live.

Is this for everyone? No. I can’t believe I’m actually facing this the way I am. If you had asked me a year ago if I was interested in this, I would have said “heck no!” I had a pre-op EGD yesterday (fancy term for a camera down your throat) and it was the first time I’ve ever been under general anesthesia in my life. It was a non-event, but I was apprehensive a few minutes before it all went down (so to speak). There are risks with all surgery, but the risks are minor and easy to manage. The biggest risk is blood clots since the body completely relaxes when under anesthesia – including all the valves in the veins and arteries… so they’ll have me on blood thinner for a month just to be on the safe side.

So – my plan is that with minimal to zero hunger the first 6 months will be my peak time to get back into shape. I’ll need a few weeks to recover, but I’m hoping after shedding at least 20 lbs., I’ll have a bit more energy to get on the treadmill I finally made room for and help to shed the extra 80 lbs. I need to lose after that. I started my 2 week, pre-op diet yesterday. The goal for the pre-op diet is to lose 5% of my weight, but more importantly, to shrink the liver so that it’s ‘not in the way’ when they make their 4-5 small incisions to do my surgery in less than 2 weeks. This is really happening. I’m doing this thing. Yeah, baby! Let’s roll!