Well. The appointment went well. So well, in fact, that I'm scheduled to have the surgery in a month. A few days after we get back from Germany and about six weeks before we go to the beach in New Jersey with my family. I was prepared to wait until after the second trip, if necessary, but the surgeon told me that it's fine to travel after about two weeks--and I'll be on a normal diet by four weeks out.
The surgery that I'm having is the less invasive procedure, the lap-band. I'm a good candidate for that procedure because I'm young (and apparently younger people have a better success rate with the lap band), I don't have any health problems that require me to lose a lot of weight immediately, and I don't have a weakness for high-calorie foods that go right through the pouch, such as ice cream or cream soups. Granted, I LIKE those things, but it won't be a problem not to eat them.
Lap-band surgery is different from gastric bypass. Gastric bypass is the most common weight-loss surgery, the one that most people think of when they're talking about weight-loss surgery. It's very effective. If you have gastric bypass, you can expect to lose a lot of weight very quickly. This is because you come out of the surgery as restricted as you're going to be. A small part of your stomach has been cut off from the rest and attached directly to your small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and part of the intestine (hence the name). It's a more risky, invasive surgery, and it leads to malabsorption of not only food but also nutrients, pills, etc. It also leads to dumping syndrome (when your body reacts negatively to high-fat, high-sugar foods). It's a great surgery for what it is, and it's right for a lot of people, and it's very effective in curing diabetes--but it just didn't make sense for me.
Lap-band surgery is different. It's done laparascopically, which means that there will only be a couple small incisions in my abdomen and the surgeon will use a camera to see what he's doing. Nothing in my stomach will be cut off or rearranged. Instead, a band will be attached around the top of my stomach, creating a small pouch. The band has chambers attached to it that the doctor will fill over the course of a few months post-surgery. As he fills the chambers, they will press more tightly against the stomach, further restricting the opening between the pouch and the rest of the stomach. This means that the amount of food that I can eat will get further restricted over time, unlike with the gastric bypass.
The post-surgery diet is a lot less restrictive. It's about portion control more than anything else. This doesn't mean that I can go eat only unhealthy crap and expect to lose weight. Once I've reached full restriction, I will likely be able to eat between 3/4 and 1 cup of food, three times a day. The majority of that food needs to be lean protein and the rest can be made up of complex carbs or whatever else I want. There's more of a learning curve with the lap band. A Weight Watchers-style eating plan should be very effective.
The weight will not pour off like it would with a gastric bypass. Instead, I can expect to lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week--but the weight loss will continue over a longer period of time and will end up at about the same as the gastric bypass after three years or so. Plus, because it's a tougher battle at the start, it means that it's easier to avoid regaining weight down the road.
The social worker I met with warned me as well that after the surgery, there will be a point when I feel discouraged, like it's not working and I tried everything and surgery was a last resort and even that isn't working and I'm doomed to be fat forever. She says that because lap-band surgery is so slow to start being effective, and because it's more of a tortoise than a hare approach, nearly every lap-band patient feels that way sometimes. That was actually really encouraging to hear, and I repeated it to Torsten so that if/when I start feeling that way, he can remind me that it's normal and I was told it was going to happen, and that I will move past it.
And I will. I'm so excited about this. I can't believe it's really happening. Everyone I've met with thinks that this is the best option for me, and I totally agree. The main driver being my health--I don't want stress on my heart. I don't want stress on my joints. I don't want stress on my future fetus. But there's another side to it, too. I want to fit into the world. The surgeon's office, being designed for overweight people, had this extra-wide chairs? And I sat in one and there was SPACE on either side of me. It was such a novel feeling! I want to fit into chairs. I don't want to worry that I'm going to be squashed whenever I fly, or go to the dentist, or go to the hairdresser. I want to be able to find bras that fit. The world isn't designed for fat people, and therefore being fat is UNCOMFORTABLE. I'm so ready for that to be over.
I may never get into a bikini, but I will get to a healthy weight. I WILL. And the journey starts now.
P.S. I have to wait a year after the surgery to get pregnant. So all of you people on Baby Watch are just going to have to wait. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
New Recipe: Greek Penne Pasta - This recipe sounded delicious to me when I came across it, and it turned out that it was. Also, I've reached the point with cooking where I can make a few ...
7 years ago