Thursday, September 1, 2011

Weight Loss Surgery

If you know me in person or have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know all of my struggles with weight loss. I have been obese my entire life and it has not been an easy road.

Losing weight is tough. It is especially tough when you have a diagnosed eating disorder. I am a binge eater/compulsive over-eater. Last year I lost 50lbs and have already gained back 40 of it. It is heartbreaking. Right now I am very lucky in that I have no health issues other than sore joints. I do not suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or other weight related illnesses. However, I know that I am right on the cusp of becoming very ill. I will be 32 in just a few weeks and I have two little boys that need their mother to be around for a long time.

Over the last year I have been researching weight loss surgery options and for the last couple of months I have jumping through all of the hoops to be approved for surgery. On October 19th, I will be heading to Washington State to have weight loss surgery. A huge decision, and one that I am finally feeling good about.

For a number of months I just felt like such a loser for turning to medical intervention to help me. But after talking with the surgeon, a number of other people who have had the surgery themselves, and my close friends I finally feel good about my decision. I need help to lose the weight and keep it off and this is a good option for me.

I have opted to do it through a private clinic. Wait lists in Canada can be very long for having it done in the public system and you do not have a lot of say in timing or type of surgery. There is only one clinic in Canada that does the type of surgery that I want and it is all the way out in Montreal. So for ease of travel, I found the best surgical centre in Washington that will do the surgery for me. Yes, private means we are paying out of pocket. Curious? It will cost me just over $16k for the surgery plus travel, accommodation, etc. My total cost will be around $20k (so if anyone wins the lottery and wishes to send money my way, I would not turn it down!).

I spent a lot of time feeling bad about spending our money on this surgery. I worked hard to make sure my hobby money is self-generating so I wouldn't take away from our family money and then here I go spending $20k on myself. However, spending this money is about my health and me being around for a long time.

So about the surgery....

I will be having Gastric Sleeve Surgery. The surgeon will actually be cutting off most of my stomach and tossing it in the garbage! I will be left with a stomach that is shaped like a banana and it will only hold about 8oz. This type of surgery has a very low rate of complications, there is no re-routing of the intestines and no foreign items left on my stomach.

After surgery my life will be very different. I will be on liquid/puree diets for a number of weeks before I start re-introducing food. When I do start back on food it will only be a few bites at a time, lots of chewing, and there will be a lot of foods I can no longer eat. I know I am going to go through an extreme withdrawal and a long adjustment period.

Am I scared? Yep, scared shitless. Nervous, anxious and excited too.

Am I worried about gaining it all back? Of course I am. Anyone who has lost weight in any way has that fear. What will I be doing this time around to make sure the weight stays off? Well the clinic that is doing my surgery offers two years of aftercare with nutritionists, the surgeon and personal trainers. That can be extended too. I am also going to be seeing the mental health worker that comes to Faro once a month. We will be working on dealing with my emotional eating issues. I am hoping that this support along with being able to get off my excess weight will allow me to finally have long term success.

What can I expect in terms of weight loss? On a phone appointment with the surgeon, he said I can easily lose 100lbs in the first 9 months. That would have me down around 200lbs. I haven't been 200lbs since I was 15 years old. I have no clue what it will be like. No clue at all.

Right now we are just trying to coordinate travel and child care for my time away. It is proving to be very difficult! So if there is anyone who wants to come to Faro for two weeks to stay with our boys (completely paid for) or would like to come and babysit me in Washington (completely paid for), let me know.

I will of course be blogging about all of my experiences. The support I have received in the past because of what I write on this blog has been phenomenal. I hope you will all support me through this journey!

25 comments:

Lindsay said...

Good for you Kara - I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision, but one I'm betting you will be so happy you made for so many different reasons. I wish I could be of help during the time, but know that I will be thinking of you.

Morena said...

I can't be there to babysit you while you're in Washington but I'm only an email away. Good luck with the surgery but good luck with the after. I'm sure that's going to much harder than the actual procedure and recovery. I know you can do it.

Ladues of the North said...

Way to go Kara! I will be rooting for you!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you, investing in yourself is the perfect decision and I'm happy you have this opportunity. People that have never had to count calories, plan work outs and fear the scale cannot understand the mental toll weight can have on a person. I am so glad there is an option out there that will work for you. I am always just a phone call or email away.

Sending hugs and good thoughts your way,

Amanda H

-N- said...

Good luck to you! I look forward to following your progress.

Anonymous said...

Do it, do it, do it....and never look back!
Denise

Sarah said...

This is awesome news Kara, way to go! The hard part's still to come but if anything, this whole process will prove to you how strong your will power can be. Look where you are taking yourself! I believe in you. :)

Meandering Michael said...

Wow! What a decision! How have you managed to keep this a secret for so long!?

Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

It was a secret to most people- including our families! I wanted to make sure I was making this decision all on my own, instead of being influenced by others who were for or against it. Sooooo hard for me to keep it a secret! I am not good at that!

Roberta said...

Good for you Kara! I believe the hard part is behind you. This is a big decision, made with much thought about your future & your family's future; not one that was made in haste, or taken lightly. I'll be following you on your incredible journey. Take care.

Way Way Up said...

1000% from Lisa and I here in Fort McMurray! Lisa had surgery something like you describe in Jan 2010 and the difference between then and now is incredible. More energy, she looks HOT!!!!!!! and I know she feels much better about herself. Feel free to drop Lisa a line on Facebook as I know she can totally relate to what you will go through over the coming months.

Anonymous said...

You've got more balls than me and I'm a dude. A very jealous dude. I'll be (jealously) reading the coming updates.

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing your journey... I have had a few friends go through similar surgeries... It's awesome how you made up your own mind, and are following the path you need to take.

Glad to hear about the counselling, after care... let me know if I can do anything...I'll be cheering you on from far away! :) Sarah

Trish said...

This is an amazing decision, not one that can be taken lightly and I can see you've put a lot of thought and research into this. I'm so excited for you and can't wait to hear and see your progress. Way to go Kara!!!!!! Whoooo!

Megan said...

Good luck, Kara! I wish you well.

Kristi-Bisti said...

I'm glad I finally checked back on blogger today! What a great post to read!

It is scary - but you will get through with flying colours.

Just one thing... There is truly nothing you can "never" have again. There may be food you choose not to eat and foods that don't agree with you, but over time, you will be able to eat everything you would want. (The dietician at my clinic told me I would never be able to have lettuce again. She was wrong.)

Will you be coming through Calgary?

I have so many questions!! Can you send me an email with the details?!?!?

Rob, Tina and the boys said...

Holy frack, you're turing 32?? WTF? How can I be THAT much older than you??? :)

Carole said...

I wish you the best, Kara. It is not an easy decision. May you be healthy for many years to come. Oh, and those who may judge your decision have not walked in your shoes.

Allmycke said...

Good for you! In the long run, I think it may be money well invested in your boy's future.

Anonymous said...

Go Kara! I'm sorry I have to teach and can't watch your boys. But I am praying for you! And you can call/e-mail/visit(?) whenever you need to chat!!

Lana

Kelley said...

Congratulations Kara....I know you will be okay and are prepared for the road ahead of you......Hope to see you before you go.

jen said...

Dude you rock, don't ever think your a loser!! Medical intervention is not giving in! You are doing exactly what you should, choosing to be in control of your life and being happy. So many of us just wait for that to fall in our laps. Just know you've got tons of support!!

Heather, aka: Mum said...

Good girl!! An investment in your family's future wellness! When will you go to Washington?? Matt & the boys must be so proud of you!

Anonymous said...

Good luck. You should also listen to all the shows at Fat 2 Fit Radio podcast (http://www.fat2fitradio.com).

Shari said...

Dearest Kara, I have to say that reading your blog regarding such a personal issue for you was a breath of fresh air! Your candor and honesty is what tells me that you are truly ready for this change in your life. I am so proud of you and I only wish I lived near so that I could be a support to you on this journey. Much love from the Newfs...Shari and Steve.