Weight Loss Surgery: My Tool for Gaining Control of My Life
Submitted by: Misty Willis, FNP-BC
“But I love you the way you are!” I can still hear the words echo through my head. Those words came from my husband, after I informed him of my decision to have LAP-BAND® surgery. My simple response, “But this isn’t about you.”
It was 2008; I was 25 years old, a student in nurse practitioner school and weighed 225lbs. I, like most of overweight America, had struggled with my weight since I was in high school. I had ridden the proverbial rollercoaster more times than I cared to – losing weight only to gain it, plus some, back. My weight was starting to play a role in my health – I had already been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) - which is most commonly associated with obesity – although not always, mild hypertension, high cholesterol and insulin resistance. 25 years old and on high blood pressure medicine, really? To top it off, my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for over a year (infertility is very common in obesity and PCOS).
I’d had enough. I wanted to be healthy and one day have a baby. I knew my weight was a hindrance to both of those dreams, so I decided to do something about it. Deciding to have weight loss surgery was not one that came overnight. I did my research and then researched my research. By the time I decided to tell my husband about my decision, I’d made up my mind. It would have taken an act of Congress to change my mind at that point. After pleading my case with him, he reluctantly came on board and supported my decision.
As I anxiously awaited my surgery date, I educated myself on the dos and don’ts the wills and won’ts, the good, the bad, the ugly. I was prepared! I went into this thing with my eyes and mind wide open. I’d read about the successes and the failures and I made a promise to myself that I would be a success. Then it was time.
The surgery was a piece of cake (no pun intended). I was in and out of surgery in less than 30 minutes and making laps around the nurse’s station within a couple of hours. I went home the same day and had very little discomfort during my post-op period. However; in the days and weeks following surgery – I was not so fortunate. That was a true learning time; learning how to eat, learning what to eat, learning when to eat, and when you better stop or you’re going to wish you would have. Learning that although you feel like you’re starving, you’re really not and it’s then that you realize how greedy you’ve been the last 10, 15 or 20 years with your eating habits.
I lost 40lbs in the first four months. I’d had two LAP-BAND adjustments in this time frame and I was already beginning to see the health benefits – I was already off of my blood pressure medicine and some of the signs of my PCOS were disappearing. By the time I was 1 year post-op, I’d lost 75% of my excess body weight, my cholesterol & blood pressure were normal, I had no signs of insulin resistance, and all symptoms of PCOS were gone.
That was 5 years ago. I sit here today “a success” – as I claimed in faith I would be. I’ve lost a total of 75lbs (approximately 90% of my excess body weight), I have absolutely no health problems, & I have beautiful 19 month old daughter and another baby girl on the way. What do I say about my band today? I am more in love with my band than any type or amount of food you can put on a plate. It was the tool I needed to gain control of my life. Has it all been easy? Absolutely not. Nothing worth having comes easy, right? Has it been worth it? I only have to look into the eyes of my little girl to give you that answer….absolutely!
For more information about bariatric services available in Southwest Georgia, visit www.phoebeputney.com/bariatrics.