Hi, my name is Crystal, and I am 125 pounds overweight. My doctor says I am morbidly obese. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I can barely bend over to pick something up or to tie my shoes or clip my toenails. I huff and puff at the slightest exertion, my joints and muscles ache, my bladder is unpredictable at best, and many of my clothes are tight and uncomfortable. I am tired and depressed most of the time, and my sleep apnea has gotten worse. After trying various diets and exercise along with several different prescription medications that are known to produce weight loss to no avail, my doctor, who is concerned for my long-term health and wellbeing, asked me if I would consider bariatric surgery. I was shocked.
Prior to age 30 (I’m 51 now), I did not have a weight problem. I thought I was fat back then, but looking at photos from the past I was thin and in good shape. Sure, I put on a few pounds during my first job at the Dairy Queen and a few pounds my first year of college, but those came and went relatively easily. I even lost my pregnancy weight with very little effort. My weight struggles began at 30-something when I was prescribed an MAOI for depression and anxiety during the final year of a bad marriage. No lie, within 6 months I put on 100+ pounds–from a size 12 to 22 seemingly overnight, and I could not stop eating. The marriage ended, and I took myself off of the MAOI in favor of other medications that did not cause weight gain or were known for promoting weight loss. During the years that followed, I lost much of the weight that I had gained, and although I was not thrilled with my appearance still, I was functional and content.
Now here I am, years later, at 275 and counting, having put back on all, and then some, of the weight I had lost. Diets are not working, in large part because I am not good at following them. I am hypoglycemic and a carb hound and when my blood sugar dips and I start to shake, I eat anything in sight that is readily available. I have been too tired and depressed and achy to exercise much, and the several prescription medications that the doctor has given me to help suppress my appetite have done little good. In fact, until a few days ago, I had all but given up the goal or thoughts of losing the weight as hopeless.
Tomorrow, I visit the bariatric surgeon. With me as eyes and ears, I will be taking my mother, my sister and my son. This poor doc will not be preaching to the choir. All three of my loved ones are against any type of weight loss surgery believing it to be dangerous and a copout. Me, I just want to lose the weight. I’m concerned about the risk that goes along with any surgery, and I’ve heard the horror stories. I’m concerned about the cost–both of the surgery and of replacing my entire wardrobe. I’m afraid that I will go through this expensive, potentially dangerous procedure only to put back on all the weight I lose in the years to come. I’m a big question mark! I just want to make the right decision for me!
If anyone out there is listening/reading, I would appreciate your feedback. I don’t just want a pat on the back and for someone to tell me it’s ok. I would like to hear from both sides.