How Do You Decide?

April 11, 2016

HowDoYouKnowHow do you KNOW that surgery is the right option for you? Well, for many of us, we get to a point that a doctor looks at us and says “you need to lose weight now, and fast, or there will be serious consequences”. I had already made the decision to have surgery when a back surgeon told me that. The nature of the surgery I would have needed came with the risk of paralysis-as did leaving the issue alone. Since I was in the program for WLS, we took a wait and see approach in hopes that my spine would decompress and not need rods to open it back up. It worked for me. In under a year after my gastric bypass I had lost roughly 120 pounds and GAINED an inch back in height. I was no long in daily pain and could walk for more than 15 minutes without nearly collapsing.

For some, the weight loss is to help their hearts pump more efficiently. For some, it cures their type 2 diabetes, it stops or reduces their sleep apnea. It can help blood pressure, joint pain, fatigue, shortness of breath. For even more-it is just about comfort. They are miserable living a life carrying around enough weight for an additional person, and for others, 2 or more people. Imagine living your daily life with a teenager strapped to your back. Those of us who are 100 pounds over weight or more, that is essentially what we are doing. Those who are 200, 300 pounds over, they have 2, 3, some even more additional people on their backs. Our bodies were not meant to live this way.

Now, many patients do not have any urgent issues that really need correction. For many their numbers for various issues are all in OK ranges, or just barely not OK, making it so that no one is overly worried about them YET. Maybe they could lose weight on their own. Most of us, though, cannot. Once you get to be 100 pounds or more overweight, it becomes nearly impossible to actually lose the weight on your own, and KEEP it off long term. We were all masters of weight loss. We could drop 20, 30, 40 pounds, fairly quickly. Almost all of us would then gain it back, often adding even more pounds than we originally lost. Not because we were no longer trying to lose, but because our bodies at times give up. Much of this comes from how we have abused our bodies for years. Altering our metabolisms to the point of destroying them thanks to fad diets, diet pills, starving ourselves, and somtimes, even abusing working out.

Eventually many of us have to come to a choice. Give up, or give in. Can we keep riding this ride of highs and lows, or are we done and ready to win? I for one, was ready to win. I knew I could no longer do this on my own. I did my years of ups and downs and came to a point where things became critical. I needed this surgery to save myself. I am daily grateful for the tool my Roux-en-Y gave me. Many others are as well. Yes, I went through hell after my bypass, but it was my own doing. Knowing what I know now, I would still decide to have the surgery again. Even if I knew that I would go through everything all over again. It was still worth it.

In the end, the choice to have WLS is a deeply personal one, and only one the patient can make. There will be people on both sides in your life-those that cheer you on, and those that insist you do not need it. Do what you need to do, to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

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