I recently made a scary decision. Some of you already know, but some of you don't.
I'm having Lap-Band surgery on December 23rd.
I've been thinking about it since March, when my dad and stepmother kindly offered to help me pay for it. At that time, I looked into it and totally freaked out. I was not ready! Since then, I've researched it more, contemplated it off and on, talked to people who have had Lap-Band or gastric bypass surgery (or who have family that had either), thought about how my life would change, decided against it, gained lots of weight, reconsidered my decision, and researched it some more. I attended a seminar a couple weeks ago and afterward spoke to Paula about it. She said their offer was still good, so I thought some more and prayed a lot. I pretty much decided to go ahead but wanted to wait 'til I had talked to my doctor. I saw him today and he gave me a big thumbs up.
For those of you who don't know much about Lap-Band, here's a quick run-down. They put a band around the top part of my stomach, laparoscopically, creating a small pouch that doesn't hold very much food. When it's full, it creates a sense of fullness that triggers the brain to tell the body that it isn't hungry any more. The band also controls how quickly the food goes down to the stomach. The inner part of the band has a bunch of small sacks that the doctor can fill with saline to make the band tighter or that can be depleted to make the band looser.
Here are the things I like about Lap-Band (LB from here on out because I'm lazy):
1) As opposed to gastric bypass (GB), it's reversible. (Not that I hope to ever reverse it, because then the weight loss would probably reverse.) There's no cutting or rearranging my insides.
2) It's less invasive than GB. Even with the new laparoscopic GB, LB is much easier to recover from. Probably because nothing is getting cut and rearranged. (Laparoscopic means that there will only be 6 tiny incisions through which the doctors will do everything instead of a big incision that opens up the chest.)
3) It's adjustable. If I'm not losing weight "fast enough", the doctor tightens the band. If I'm losing weight too fast, he loosens it. I like that these adjustments mean I have to meet with my doctor regularly. It feels more hands-on and personal. He'll get to know me and can monitor my progress. Otherwise, I'm sure I'd never go see him because that's how I am.
4) LB is slower than GB. From what I hear, the weight just falls off GB patients. Not so with LB patients. I guess I like this because I feel like it's healthier (mentally, emotionally, and physically) for me. I want my body, brain, emotions to gradually adjust to the weight loss. I want the weight loss to be permanent and I think slower is better - for me, at least. The surgeon says that an average of 2 lbs a week is normal. That seems reasonable.
5) LB is out-patient surgery. I'll go in on the 23rd and come out the 23rd. Because of this, it's also less expensive than GB. I'll only need a week off of work and the surgeon's staff told me I should be feeling okay for Christmas Day - some discomfort but able to move around and participate in the festivities. Oh good. :)
I'm not really scared of the surgery. I'll be asleep, so if I die, I'll just wake up dead. Not a bad way to go, I figure. Plus, if I don't lose weight, I'll probably die sooner than later anyway. I'm a little nervous about the pain, but mostly because I'm not big on pain pills. Nothing personal against them, I'm just not good about remembering to take them (there is one exception). I guess, if the pain's bad enough, I'll remember to take the pill. That simple.
Here's why this is a scary decision:
1) Pre- and post-surgery liquid diet. I have to be on a slim fast diet for 10 days before the surgery and a clear liquid diet for a week after. The second week after the surgery I can start consuming non-clear liquids, but nothing solid 'til the third week. Not really looking forward to almost a month of liquid. No wonder people lose weight!
2) Once I resume eating solids again, my meals will consist of 4 oz. of food. That's it. Do you know how little 4 oz is? It's about 1/4 cup. The next time you eat, try to imagine fitting what you're eating into 1/4 cup. It's not a lot! I'm sure that physically, 4 oz won't be too hard to manage once I get used to portioning out my food. I worry about emotional eating. Eating even though I'm not hungry. I'll totally need to change how I look at food and eating. And, I'll need to come up with alternatives to eating when I'm bored, sad, stressed, etc.
3) I worry about doing something this drastic to lose weight then failing. It happens. I don't want it to happen to me. I want to be fully committed to doing what I have to in order to make this work. I worry that I'll give up, that I'll get tired of trying, that I'll do stupid things, that I'll...fail.
That last one made me want to keep this surgery a secret. If only a few people knew about it, then only a few people would be disappointed in me if I fail. As I thought about it, though, I realized that I'll need as much support and encouragement as I can get. I have no illusions of this being easy. I'll need help. Besides, after the surgery, if you ever eat with me, I'm sure I'll have to explain why I'm eating so little. Did I mention that 1/4 cup is all I'll be able to manage? Yeah. Wow.
Sigh. That's only 1 piece of sushi. Maybe 2.
This is going to be interesting. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!!!