Jamie’s turning point!
Part one is located HERE.
Part two is located HERE.
This brings me to the present. In January of 2014 I got a position as a field engineer and I ended up getting injured my second week, my left knee again. I ended up having to resign because my company could not maintain my work per doctor’s orders and my knee was just getting worse. We had just bought a house and I couldn’t go upstairs due to the pain. I looked in the mirror at myself one day and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had exploded from the 220 of a fit, muscular athlete to someone that couldn’t walk right, couldn’t do stairs, can’t bend, I can’t get off of the floor without help, I don’t know where to put my arms because my breasts and my belly get in the way, and I knew I had nowhere else to go but fatter.
That March I had started to build my relationship with Tamera. We had met the prior December on a bus trip with our church. I couldn’t help but to think that poor woman needs to eat. She is so tiny! Little did I know that she had gastric bypass, same as my sister. Tamera started to talk to me about weight loss surgery and how I could really benefit from it. I just have to jump the hurdle of my sister.
My sister JoLynn had died in September of 2012 from a drug overdose. She had a gastric bypass RNY in 2002 at the age of 20. She was in the upper 300-400 pound range. She did not follow the program as it was supposed to be used. She did not value protein as she should have or make the life changes required. She still ate all of the same foods she ate pre-surgery. Just before she died her diet included a Big Gulp of Mountain Dew and fast food every day.
She got pregnant four months post-op. As time went by she ended up requiring a hip replacement, she lost most of her hair it was still very thin up until her death. At this point her health story got very shady because of the drugs, but she had a heart issue that would cause her to pass out randomly. She had colon polyps and claimed to have colon cancer. She was in and out of the hospital all of the time but none of the tests would show anything.
She got hooked on pain medication post-hip replacement and it just kept escalating. She had ruined our family and trust and there was almost a relief when she died. I am scared because of her addiction because I know that anti-inflammatories aren’t allowed and that is why they always jumped to a narcotic. I currently live on ibuprophen and naproxen to control my joint pain. I don’t want to end up in the same boat as my sister. Yes, she did lose a lot of weight and she started stealing my clothes.
I went to the bariatric orientation in late April just to see what the options are. I got an initial consultation with my surgeon, Dr. Anne Lidor, in June. I spent all of May thinking about the pros and cons of the surgery.
My husband and I took a vacation late in May to Aruba. I remember standing in the airport before we left just regretting choosing Aruba as a vacation spot. I didn’t want to wear such little clothing, why couldn’t we just go somewhere cold where I can hide in a big winter coat? I spent most of that vacation wearing as little clothes as I could get away with because it was just too hot not to. This still meant covering up to my knees at all times, a swim suit with a skirt, and shirts that always covered my belly that weren’t so tight that you could see my fat rolls. I looked around and people on the beaches didn’t care if fat people were wearing less clothes that normal, but I still felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. To make matters worse I was sweating in places that I didn’t know I could sweat which then would get a rash and then add the worst sunburn I’ve ever had in my life just to make my vacation miserable.
After Aruba I tried to convince myself that if fat people can go to the beach in skimpy clothing and be accepted in one of the most beautiful places in the world, why can’t I feel comfortable in my own skin? I was noticing how big people were around me and how it has become so normal. At that point I was saying to myself “I’m only 28, I can still live fat like this for the rest of my life.” I worry about not being able to eat the foods that I love. Food is how I communicate love and comfort. When I get home sick I go to Buffalo Wild Wings and get Buffalo wings to remind me of home. When I feel down I send my husband to Wegmans to get me a cake to remind me of my mom. Bread is my best friend, I’m not ready to let go.
When I got home from Aruba, Tamera started handing me books to read to understand more about the surgery to get beyond my fear of my sister. I started to think that maybe the surgery was a good idea. I started going to doctors in May because I wasn’t able to eat without feeling really sick anymore. Even when I didn’t eat I felt nauseous. After blood, breath, and an upper endoscopy we’re left with having way too much stomach acid; so heart burn. I don’t feel any burning; I feel pain, I feel fullness, I feel nauseous. I’m still in the middle of figuring this one out. I also am noticing the crazy amount of smell that I produce, the rashes, boils, and cysts that I am getting in my folds of skin, and my inability to sleep less than 10 hours a night plus an afternoon nap, and a total of three years trying to get pregnant with no success. To put a cherry on the cake, in July my orthopedist and physical therapist said that my only option at this point for my knee is surgery or to lose an extreme amount of weight quickly. Not only did my knee surgeon say that but so did my spine surgeon, OB/GYN, primary care, and pain management doctors. All of the fingers point to this surgery if I want to ever have a working body.
So far in my steps toward surgery:
1) Orientation (April 2014)
2) Consult (June 2014)
3) Psych Consult (July 2014)
4) Gastroenterologist (August 2014)
5) Sleep Study (September 2014)
6) Nutritionist (September 2014?)
More to come as Jamie continues her path toward WLS.