A couple of years back, I blogged my journey through losing weight through the Weight Watchers program.
Like many, I succeeded in taking off much of my excess weight, dropping from just under 270 at my highest, to 244 when I started WW, to finally about 190. This took me a total of about 3 years. Then I got pregnant again, and my weight went up to about 255. After pregnancy, I managed to drop down to about 235. I fluctuated back and forth for a year and a half or so between 225 and 235, and then the weight started creeping steadily upward again.
By December 2009, I was back up to 268# and miserable.
The idea of going through another 3 years (and MORE) of being hungry, every single day, was so daunting it brought me to tears. I am tired of trying, succeeding, and then getting so sick of deprivation and hunger that I just throw in the towel... and back it all comes, with more.
So, after much deliberation, I decided to look into something that I had previously discounted as the "easy" way out, as a cop-out and something I would NEVER do.
Weight Loss Surgery.
Now, I made the changes a long time ago to eat mostly healthy choices. I decided this not only for myself, but for my children. And it's worked. My girls love veggies, lean meats, whole grains, and are willing to try all kinds of foods. They are generally great at limiting themselves on portions (my weakness).
However, even the best foods can cause weight gain if the portions are oversized. So even with this high *quality* diet, I was gaining. Because my portions continued to be out of whack.
With my husband's new insurance, I could consider WLS options with most of the surgery being covered by insurance. I started researching and decided that the best option for me would be gastric banding. I didn't need or want the more extreme bypass options, and the band would help me with the final hurdle I had been unable to conquer on my own -- portions.
Now, I certainly didn't decide that I was definitely going to do this right away. The insurance had a lot of requirements, and it would take time to meet them all. I had the BMI down -- at 268# I was just shy of 43 BMI. I did/do not have an comorbidities. I'm pretty healthy, just fat. I would be required to follow a 3 month multidisciplinary medically supervised weight loss progam. I needed 2 years of medical history showing my weight at over 40 BMI. I had to undergo a psychological evaluation.
I did not have the 2 years medical history, at least not the way I thought they wanted it. I was heavy at the end of both my pregnancies, but had lost weight before both of them. I had been uninsured for years as a self-employed person and had not had regular physicals. I had both my kids with midwives and did not have records throughout both pregnancies. I was 239# at my 2008 physical (not heavy enough) and 260# at my 2009 physical. Just a general mish-mash of vague records, and I was sure that if I submitted that I would have to appeal.
So, I decided to start the 3-month program and see where things went from there. As I was both unsure of my approval likelihood and undecided about whether or not I was even willing to go through with the surgery, I really buckled down during this time. I limited my portions to what I understood to be post-band sizes, and limited my calorie intake to under 1100 calories per day, usually between 900-1000. And it worked.
Between January 6, 2010 and April 7, 2010, I lost 28 pounds, going from 268# to 240#.
After that, my surgeon, Dr. Sashi Ganta of Austin Institute of Bariatrics and Laparoscopy (AIBL), submitted my application to the insurance company, along with a letter (which I will post separately) that I wrote pleading my case. I was, surprisingly, approved.
I continued following the program on my own up until the day before I went to Florida on vacation with my family, May 12, and dropped from #240 to #227.
I enjoyed myself in Florida, and kept my portions under control for at least the first part of the trip. I kind of started to lose it near the end, and by the last day I was back to eating however much I wanted. oops. We got back from FL, and we were home for a few days. I thought about getting back on track, but never managed to do so. I went in on May 21 for all the testing I would need if I chose to go through with the tentatively scheduled June 15 surgery date. Over Memorial Day and surrounding days, my husband and I went out for an annual 6-day camping event. I packed light, food-wise, and managed to keep myself fairly sane over this trip.
I also came to the decision during the first week of June that I was going to go through with the surgery. After looking at photos and videos with my family of myself over the last couple of years, I simply decided that I just couldn't do this any more. No more ups and downs. No more being hungry all the time. I wanted the tool that the Lap-Band could provide me. I wanted something to help me stop WANTING to eat so much all the time.
So, on June 10, I went in for my pre-op visit with Dr. Ganta. Weight : 224#
We finalized surgery plans for the 15th, and I went home to try to continue sticking to the pre-op diet. I did so-so on that, but didn't have any big "food funerals" or anything.
One of my nearest and dearest girl friends for life also had been seeing Dr. Ganta for Lap-Band surgery, and she was ALSO scheduled for June 15, right before me! We both told him he'd better have a VERY good day that day. ;)
On June 15, 2010, I went in to Seton hospital in Austin for Trans-umbilical Gastric banding (TUGB). This is a Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS), that was all done entirely through my belly button / navel, for no visible scars. I was very happy to have found a surgeon who not only could do this surgery, but is considered one of the pioneers of the technique.
More to come!