metamorphosis: a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means:
I can honestly say that over the course of the last 2 years I’ve undergone a metamorphosis of sorts on a couple different levels. It’s been an interesting, fun at times and often painful journey, but as of today, I can say that I like who I’m becoming and who the Lord is shaping me into.
I could easily go back to the beginning of my childhood and start there, but who would really be interested in all of that? Or I could start from my marriage to Jeff in 2000, but again it can be overwhelming, so instead I’m just going to focus on my sleeve surgery (2-3-14) to today, post revision to rny as of 4-18-16.
One of the first things I remember post sleeve was feeling hunger and thinking, “this is odd, I thought I wouldn’t be hungry anymore?” Puzzled by this, I just chalked it up to maybe I just need to get used to my new anatomy, who knows. So, when the hunger just wouldn’t stop, I increased my intensity in the gym, mostly to burn off any additional calories I was eating in hopes of hitting the ultimate goal of “Onderland” (which never happened btw)
Now my sleeve surgeon NEVER said I would get below 200. Her eact words were, “I would predict your loss to land you around 222”. I honestly let it go in one ear and out the other.
My thoughts were: “she’s wrong!!, she doesn’t know me, I’ll just work harder and prove her wrong!! Plus I was watching all these sleeve stories on Facebook and these people were losing insane amount of weight and many started around my SW (starting weight) of 297, which was my day of sleeve surgery weight. My highest known weight or HW was 315. I’m sure I was heavier at one point, but the scale and I were arch nemesis for so long, I honestly don’t know for sure. Even getting to 222 was a struggle because I was CONSTANTLY hungry. I tried hard to keep my calories around 1000-1100, but I was hungry and suddenly the reflux I had pre-op seemed to get worse depending on what I ate.
Again, I just ignored it all. I started to reach out to fellow bariatric people on Facebook, NONE of which I know in real life and I say this for a later point in this post. I I was especially attune to any bariatric people who worked out like I did at that time.
You see, I had fallen in love with lifting weights. Something I had only dabbled with pre-op. My husband invested quite a lot of money for me to learn from whom I consider one of the best in Houston over the summer of 2014 and it was then that I truly fell in love with pushing and pulling weight. I lifted weights 6 days a week that summer and while I was losing a crazy amount of inches, the scale wasn’t moving, I was starving and had reflux to boot. I was miserable. The bad side of this dynamic was that I was teaching myself that the scale truly mattered and that it was necessary to workout 6 days a week with a limited break. At that point I was taking a “rest/cheat” day on Sunday. I say cheat because I was CONSTANTLY starving!!
From the moment, I got home from the hospital post sleeve until I wokw up from my revision to rny CONSTANTLY hungry!!!
The lowest number I hit with my sleeve was around 205 and I would later learn it wasn’t due to my sleeve, rather it was due to my nutrition and exercise. So back to listening to people on Facebook. I had a lady really help me with nutrition. She put me on a strict bodybuilding nutrition plan where I was eating 5 meals a day, high protein, low carb, low sugar etc. Sounds simple, right? Yes and no. Looking back, I realize it was the perfect storm for me, I desperately needed her approval for ANYTHING I was eating and since I didn’t know her in real life, I filtered whatever she said through a very critical lens. I didn’t realize that my desire to seek her approval, which I thought would come through a number on the scale and my now insane thinking about working out was driving what I considered to be the beginning of a possible eating disorder. So I sought out counseling, again looking back this was just a perfect storm in my life that I fully believe satan intended to use to destroy me. Looking back now, I realize the counseling was NOT helpful to me, in fact, it caused division within my marriage as she rarely had anything good to say about Jeff, plus I feel like she “planted” a lot of unhealthy ideas about food in my head. Now I will say, I did leave with some nuggets of wisdom, like stopping and taking a deep breath and thinking through, “why do I want to eat this or that? Am I craving it? Do I feel like I deserve it? What’s my motivation?” so that’s all good and fine and I can say that now looking back, but at the time it was my Gospel truth.
Honestly what drove my first consult with a bariatric surgeon in Ohio was my reflux, it seemed to be much worse. To the point that I would wake up in the middle of the night choking on acid, that and an easy 40 plus weight gain. I blinked and went from my lowest weight of around 205 to my ballooning weight of around 250. It was horrible, I was miserable, but still working out like a champ, but had honestly, at this point, lost any real passion I had for fitness. I was becoming depressed and it didn’t help that my husband had lost his job, we had to move from Texas to Ohio and I was feeling like a failure regarding my kid’s education (I STINK as a homeschool mom). Looking back I honestly don’t know how I found Dr.Schumacher in Dayton, Ohio. Typically, those types of meetings for me are directly related to the hand of God in my life and yes I fully believe that Dr. Schumacher of Kettering Bariatrics was God’s direct answer in my life.
Dr. S. told me that my sleeve surgeon only removed, “in his guesstimate about 10% of your stomach” I later learned through my path report from my sleeve surgery 10% was a high guess, it was more like 5% of my stomach was removed. SO it was no wonder she never thought I would lose much weight!! She did a HORRIBLE job, Dr. S. said, “one of the worst techniques I’ve ever seen! and he’s been in the field since the early 90s. Anyway, he assured me that I did NOT stretch my stomach out and that in fact, it was the failure of my bariatric surgeon. I was experiencing reflux since 1) I had it pre-op and now new research is showing that the sleeve is one of the WORSE surgeries for ANYONE with GERD of reflux pre-op 2) my 40 lb weight gain, mostly in the abdominal area was increasing pressure hence causing the problem to be worse and 3) my diet was ATROCIOUS He confirmed that the DS would NOT be a good revision option for me since it wouldn’t fix my stomach. His recommendation was to revise to gastric bypass. I could take up a whole other blog post about my neurosis about bypass but I won’t bore you. In the end, I went with RNY and ended up near a distal bypass. I FINALLY have absolutely NO hunger and let me tell you how AMAZING this is….AMAZING. My prayer now is that it would not return. There’s really no hard fast rule on this. Speaking of rules that’s something else that has DRASTICALLY changed in my life……RULES…..
Remember how I said I had a lady help me with nutrition? Yeah and while it was somewhat good, I had a bunch of “rules” on her plan, like:
No fruit in the afternoon
No carbs for your last 2 meals
No PB a couple of days before you weigh
Drink a gallon of water a day
Only do 30 minutes of cardio
And the list goes on…..i tried desperately to live hard and fast to these “rules” but you can only do that for so long before you burn out and I was burned out.
So I decided VERY early on that IF I decided to revise my sleeve to another bariatric surgery that it would ONLY be with a surgeon that Jeff and I BOTH liked and felt confident in Something that was lacking with my stupid sleeve surgeon. And I prayed A LOT before, during and after my consultation with Dr. S. Jeff and I both agreed that he was the doctor I wanted. Once I was set on rny I knew that I had made the right decision, so that’s why even though we moved to Illinois and Dr. S. said I could transfer my care to someone else he could recommend in this area, I said, “NO!!” I’ll just travel back to Dayton for ALL my follow up care with him because that’s how strongly I believe in his program. His program offers consultation with an exercise physiologist which was priceless to me as an “over exerciser”
The only rules with my program are pretty simple:
Protein, Water, 30 mins of exercise and for me being an “almost distal” I have to increase my fat
I had to destroy any illusion I had of fitness being equivalent with bodybuilding, again a WHOLE other blog post. I had to learn, really for the first time, how to enjoy myself in the gym without an agenda to “build muscle as the focus”. For the first time, I felt like I was falling in love with lifting weight again, how I want to lift weights, meaning reps/sets/load. AND I had picked back up the Couch to 5K app, something I had started in 2012 as a goal and never finished. Sure I picked it up to complete a goal I had set, but more than that I was learning to literally fall in love with running, for the first time EVER. I no longer do ANYTHING in the gym out of obligation, something I lived by from 2014 until recently. Instead I run when I decide I want to. I don’t allow myself to get on the treadmill on non-running days so that I avoid burn out, which has forced me to figure out some other things I like to do for cardio.
Now for the next portion of this post……
warn·ing: a statement or event that indicates a possible or impending danger, problem, or other unpleasant situation
Now to my bariatric readers, I want to say a few things to you.
You are doing fabulously, stay the course and DO NOT allow whatever people you follow on Facebook to influence your happiness or influence your attitude toward your progress. Pat yourself on the back and shrug off the negative. It’s not worth it.
If you are pre-op, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE only move forward with a surgeon and surgery choice you’ve fully researched and feel comfortable with and then LISTEN to ONLY him/her, noone else!! NOONE on Facebook, noone you’ve NEVER met in real life, NOONE without a degree in whatever advice you are seeking. Take it from someone who has allowed too much noise to get it, it’s NOT WORTH IT!!!!
I feel like my metamorphosis isn’t fully complete, but I thank God EVERY SINGLE DAY for putting me on this journey and what’s He’s doing in my life. I hope you will be encouraged reading this and even warned on some level.