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Old 06-12-2013, 09:44 PM   #1
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Reflections on One Year with My Sleeve

In the fall of 2011 I began making plans to go to Italy to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary in August 2012. It was a long saved for and long anticipated trip. Once the real planning began, I realized my enthusiasm wasnít what I would have expected. I began to see the trip, me, miserable with aching feet, looking for benches while my husband climbed hills and towers for a better view. It was the final indignity in a life filled with indignities and limitations due the massive amount of weight I was carrying. So in November 2011, I sat my husband down and asked him how he would feel about postponing the trip until the following summer so I could have weight loss surgery. He responded very positively and seemed relieved. He confessed he worried about me dying young and although it was drastic, he would support it. I was prepared to have to convince him this was a good idea; I think the fact he was onboard immediately showed how concerned he was about my weight. So I went to an informational meeting at the program I selected, and had my first medical visit with them in December. My insurance required the 6 month medically supervised diet, and although I didnít always agree with the nutritionistís advice, overall I found the 6 months to be very helpful. My 6 months was pretty standard, I lost about 9 pounds and did my best to prepare. My clinic did not require a 2 week liquids diet, which I was happy for, but I would have done it if necessary. I feel like they prepared me well, and I am pleased with the aftercare also. I had a bumpy recovery, needed IV fluids on about day 9. My bout with dehydration was really brutal, but that was the worst of it. I was sore for a long time, mourned food, had super tight restriction making it hard to drink, and was incredibly fatigued that first month.

During my misery, I didnít get discouraged, because I had every reason to believe it would get better, and WOW did it ever!!!! I canít begin to list all of the ways my life has improved. Little things (but I guess big things too) kneeling without pain during mass (I know God doesnít care how I pray, but I feel more focused when I can kneel) working in my flower beds without pain, taking the stairs at work, having room in my seat in the tiny auditorium seats where we have our staff meetings, students ( I teach high school) telling me I look ďso cute todayĒ (although 2 boys have said I look ďhotĒ not sure how I feel about that), moving easily between the rows of desks, crossing my legs a hundred times a day ( sil who had a blood clot tells me I need to stop doing this, but I canít, too much fun!) dancing like a fool at weddings, getting up from the couch easily, having a salesperson tell me I needed a smaller size to show off my cute hour glass figure, lowering the tray in my airplane seat, painting my toenails, shopping, shopping, shopping, husband saying he got his 20 something wife back, (actually I'm 50 something ) learning to enjoy working out again .... and freedom, how to describe the freedom? Itís like I got let out of fat prison. I walk around in the world looking like any normal person, free from the physical weight and the weight of judgment from others. When you are morbidly obese, it takes daily courage to go about your life, because even though you know you are loved and valuable, there are times you will endure the looks and comments of others who will try to make you feel, that in fact, you are not. I thought I was living my best life, but it turns out my weight was holding me back in ways I didnít realize. Yes, I am out of fat prison!

I still enjoy food, but not the same way. When we are going somewhere, to dinner at a friends, or out for the night, instead of anticipating what Iíll be eating, my focus is much more on looking forward to socializing or seeing the movie or watching the play etc. The event, not the food, entertains me now. I have so much more energy, and can make plans even on a school night (!) without worrying Iím too tired, I need to rest for tomorrow.... I say ďyes!Ē much more often, to things Iíve always enjoyed and new things I was afraid to try because of my weight.
Iíve tried to establish good habits, tracking what I eat, weighing everyday (a must for me, when Iím not eating well the first thing I do is avoid the scale). Eating protein first, exercising. Itís not always easy, but with my sleeve to help me, it is doable. My restriction is still good; in fact Iím very pleased with it. It limits how much I can eat, but has loosened enough that I can have salad or low carb fruits for snacks now, and still meet my protein goals.

I had my 1 year check up this week. I felt really emotional as I walked into the hospital (my clinic is in the hospital where I had surgery), and realized how profoundly everything changed since surgery. I felt amazed, proud, grateful. Starting weight 293, today 167 (-126) Blood pressure 140/92. Today, 117/70 (no medication). Before: Size 24/3x, today I wore size 10 pants and medium NY & Co shirt. Before, sleep apnea and ungodly snoring (poor husband), today no CPAP, no snoring, usually restful sleep, including dreams. (which I rarely had during the sleep apnea period). Bloodwork good, no trends indicating any problems may be coming. Before BMI + 40, today BMI 28. My clinic encourages people to be between a BMI of 29 Ė 22, so I can safely continue to loss, or if I choose to maintain, I have statistically eliminated health risks associated with weight.

And that trip to Italy for my anniversary ~ I leave Friday.
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ďTell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?Ē ~ Mary Oliver
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:27 AM   #2
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Jesse--this was very insightful, it brought tears to my eyes as I'm still digesting the changes only being 6 months out. Thanks for taking the time to post it. Loved it.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:38 PM   #3
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Thank you for sharing that, Jesse. I'm so very happy for you, and hope you have a great trip!
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:05 AM   #4
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The weight changes your life.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:29 AM   #5
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have a wonderful trip!
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:17 AM   #6
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So very happy for you. Have a memory making trip & Happy anniversary
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:43 PM   #7
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This honestly brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:15 PM   #8
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I loved reading this. Congrats and thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse View Post
In the fall of 2011 I began making plans to go to Italy to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary in August 2012. It was a long saved for and long anticipated trip. Once the real planning began, I realized my enthusiasm wasnít what I would have expected. I began to see the trip, me, miserable with aching feet, looking for benches while my husband climbed hills and towers for a better view. It was the final indignity in a life filled with indignities and limitations due the massive amount of weight I was carrying. So in November 2011, I sat my husband down and asked him how he would feel about postponing the trip until the following summer so I could have weight loss surgery. He responded very positively and seemed relieved. He confessed he worried about me dying young and although it was drastic, he would support it. I was prepared to have to convince him this was a good idea; I think the fact he was onboard immediately showed how concerned he was about my weight. So I went to an informational meeting at the program I selected, and had my first medical visit with them in December. My insurance required the 6 month medically supervised diet, and although I didnít always agree with the nutritionistís advice, overall I found the 6 months to be very helpful. My 6 months was pretty standard, I lost about 9 pounds and did my best to prepare. My clinic did not require a 2 week liquids diet, which I was happy for, but I would have done it if necessary. I feel like they prepared me well, and I am pleased with the aftercare also. I had a bumpy recovery, needed IV fluids on about day 9. My bout with dehydration was really brutal, but that was the worst of it. I was sore for a long time, mourned food, had super tight restriction making it hard to drink, and was incredibly fatigued that first month.

During my misery, I didnít get discouraged, because I had every reason to believe it would get better, and WOW did it ever!!!! I canít begin to list all of the ways my life has improved. Little things (but I guess big things too) kneeling without pain during mass (I know God doesnít care how I pray, but I feel more focused when I can kneel) working in my flower beds without pain, taking the stairs at work, having room in my seat in the tiny auditorium seats where we have our staff meetings, students ( I teach high school) telling me I look ďso cute todayĒ (although 2 boys have said I look ďhotĒ not sure how I feel about that), moving easily between the rows of desks, crossing my legs a hundred times a day ( sil who had a blood clot tells me I need to stop doing this, but I canít, too much fun!) dancing like a fool at weddings, getting up from the couch easily, having a salesperson tell me I needed a smaller size to show off my cute hour glass figure, lowering the tray in my airplane seat, painting my toenails, shopping, shopping, shopping, husband saying he got his 20 something wife back, (actually I'm 50 something ) learning to enjoy working out again .... and freedom, how to describe the freedom? Itís like I got let out of fat prison. I walk around in the world looking like any normal person, free from the physical weight and the weight of judgment from others. When you are morbidly obese, it takes daily courage to go about your life, because even though you know you are loved and valuable, there are times you will endure the looks and comments of others who will try to make you feel, that in fact, you are not. I thought I was living my best life, but it turns out my weight was holding me back in ways I didnít realize. Yes, I am out of fat prison!

I still enjoy food, but not the same way. When we are going somewhere, to dinner at a friends, or out for the night, instead of anticipating what Iíll be eating, my focus is much more on looking forward to socializing or seeing the movie or watching the play etc. The event, not the food, entertains me now. I have so much more energy, and can make plans even on a school night (!) without worrying Iím too tired, I need to rest for tomorrow.... I say ďyes!Ē much more often, to things Iíve always enjoyed and new things I was afraid to try because of my weight.
Iíve tried to establish good habits, tracking what I eat, weighing everyday (a must for me, when Iím not eating well the first thing I do is avoid the scale). Eating protein first, exercising. Itís not always easy, but with my sleeve to help me, it is doable. My restriction is still good; in fact Iím very pleased with it. It limits how much I can eat, but has loosened enough that I can have salad or low carb fruits for snacks now, and still meet my protein goals.

I had my 1 year check up this week. I felt really emotional as I walked into the hospital (my clinic is in the hospital where I had surgery), and realized how profoundly everything changed since surgery. I felt amazed, proud, grateful. Starting weight 293, today 167 (-126) Blood pressure 140/92. Today, 117/70 (no medication). Before: Size 24/3x, today I wore size 10 pants and medium NY & Co shirt. Before, sleep apnea and ungodly snoring (poor husband), today no CPAP, no snoring, usually restful sleep, including dreams. (which I rarely had during the sleep apnea period). Bloodwork good, no trends indicating any problems may be coming. Before BMI + 40, today BMI 28. My clinic encourages people to be between a BMI of 29 Ė 22, so I can safely continue to loss, or if I choose to maintain, I have statistically eliminated health risks associated with weight.

And that trip to Italy for my anniversary ~ I leave Friday.


Beautiful. Thank you so much for that.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:11 AM   #10
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A huge congrats to you, Jesse. I share so many of these experiences - both before and after. I hope your trip is fantastic! You have done amazingly well!! Fantastic!
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:43 PM   #11
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Congratulations. This is beautiful.
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