Monday, March 26, 2007


So. A week from tomorrow, I'm having gastric bypass surgery.

I feel weird about making this grand announcement type of thing here. Attention whore that I am, there are still some things I get skeeved by talking about. Sex is not one of those things, but my weight is.

I wasn't going to say anything about the surgery at all, actually. But I figure there's prolly people out there who, like me, are seriously overweight and considering this surgery as an option. Or maybe there are people who are just interested and would like to know more about it. Or maybe there're some people who want to talk about weight issues. Whatevs. I'm cool with that.

I'm going to make this a public record of my progress and just the general process – for myself mostly, but also in case the first-hand information might be useful for someone else. Feel free to ask questions if you have them. Weight is a sensitive issue for many people, including myself, but I will try to be as open and honest as I can, as long as you are friendly. That said…

One caveat: If you have opinions along the lines of either A) Don't have the surgery or B) Stop being a lazy slob and lose weight the old-fashioned way or C) Any variation thereof; keep 'em to yourself. That kind of thing is neither useful nor constructive. I don't want to hear it, and neither does anybody else who has had weight issues their entire life and tried literally everything to lose it. This is a last-resort for me, and a decision I did not make lightly. I've got the full support of my family and close friends and a year's worth of research behind me.

And in the end, this is my playground and I get to make the rules. Rule number one? Play Nice.

So, if you're interested and you're down with playing nice, read on for more.

Vital stats: I'm 5'1" and as of Friday, weigh 265. That's considered "morbidly obese" on the BMI scale. At my height, anywhere from 98 to 132 pounds is considered normal. The goal my surgeon set for me is 135, which is what I weighed in high school. I was never thin; I've always been curvy or voluptuous, I've always been packin' the T&A and that's never going to change. I have no unrealistic expectations of looking like Mary Kate Olsen or Nicole Richie, who are both roughly my height. (blecch, not that I'd want to! Also, not that either of those girls actually comes anywhere close to weighing 98 pounds soaking wet.)

All I really want is to make sure I'm healthy and can have children soon. Not hating movie theater seats and being able to cross my legs are just bonuses.

Health: Now, I'm not anywhere near death, as the title "morbidly obese" would seem to imply – actually I'm in very good health considering my weight. I don't have most of the problems typically associated with someone so significantly overweight, such as sleep apnea, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and joint pain.

I do get upper backaches from hauling around these enormous tits. And I've got PCOS, the cause of which is often weight-related, but, in a nifty little Catch-22, it also makes it difficult to lose weight. It also causes infertility. With weight loss, the PCOS should resolve itself and Mr. Fantastic and I will be able to have kids before I stop being a late-spring chicken.

And of course, you all know I've been pretty depressed over the last while, although that's vastly improved since Mr. Fantastic started his job. (Personally, I don't think the depression is weight-related. I'm pretty self-confident and I don't go around bemoaning being fat all the time. I'm active, social, have lots of friends and in general haven't found that my weight has limited me. But I digress.)

The combination of my weight and PCOS puts me at extra huge risk for diabetes and high blood pressure & cholesterol, but amazingly, I am not currently having nor have I ever had those problems. But the older I get, the longer I go being overweight like this poses an ever-increasing threat to my overall health.

The upside of all this (if you could really say there's an upside) is that according to my doctor and my insurance company (which just happens to be the company I work for), my health is at risk enough that they will pay for the surgery. So instead of being out ~$20k, I have to pay my coinsurance and my health insurance pays for the rest.

Surgery: The surgery is Tuesday, April 3 at 9:30 a.m. Mr. Fantastic and I have to be there at 6:30 (oy vey!) for all the prep and junk they hafta do ahead of time, like IVs and such. The surgery lasts 1 ½ - 2 hours and is done laparoscopically with six ¼ to ½ inch incisions. Afterwards, I'll be in recovery for another hour or so before they take me to my room.

They'll keep me in the hospital a few days to make sure I'm getting enough nutrition and that everything's okay, and I'll likely be released on Friday the 6th. After that, I've been instructed to stay away from the office for two to three weeks, but I am allowed to work from home for short periods as long as I get up and walk around at least once an hour.

In Conclusion: I thought about the surgery, researched it, talked to people who had it, talked to Mr. Fantastic about it, talked to my dad and brother about it, talked to my friends and other loved ones about it, talked to my PCP about it, attended a seminar about it.

Then I had a consult with the surgeon and he sent me for a bunch of tests, including the sleep study I mentioned, a psychological evaluation, a pulmonary study, a bunch of blood work with my PCP, chest x-ray, EKG, and more blood work, a nutrition class and more consultations with the surgeon.

I've got all sorts literature and instructions provided by the nurse (who does the nutrition) and the surgeon and am really, really excited and looking forward to this life-changing procedure.

Of course, all this means I'll be bored out of my mind while in the hospital and at home during my enforced captivity recovery period. So, anyone who wants to write me or something to keep me entertained during that time will have my utmost graces and thanks, be adored and petted from afar, and surely will earn many positive karmic points.

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