Sunday, June 28, 2009

476 lbs Teenager

As I was flipping channels today I run across this: 476 lbs teenager (

It is about the 19 year old girl who underwent the same surgery. Her obesity was significantly higher than mine, and her food addiction was without comparison greater. I watched with interest how her initial enthusiasm was met with the new reality and how the therapy was instrumental in reversing her mental state. I was thinking if this is something I can expect?

There are some major differences. First and most obvious is that I am not a 19 year old girl. Her life was threatened by weight; my life was threatened by diabetes.

I love food; I am not addicted to it. I love food for its social and ‘feel good’ aspects. Mostly I am not addicted to ‘wrong’ food. I was not a health food nut, but I can spend the rest of my life without chips, and junk like that. I love some stuff that is NOT a diet heaven – my epicurean paradise is Charcuterie - not a Patisserie. Love good (not supermarket) Polish sausages, Prosciutto di Parma, etc. Love good (translation: high-fat) cheese, and will not live without Époisses de Bourgogne once in a while. They are high in fat (bad) but relatively low in carbs. With the stomach reduction, this will be more acceptable (occasionally) than doughnuts. So I feel OK about not being left feeling deprived.

Ban on coffee and alcohol also is not a problem. Eventually I will be able to have some – but very small amounts – and that is fine with me.

Watching this documentary made me evaluate my goals again.

1. Get rid of diabetes. I could not control it without insulin which caused weight gain. That was one maddening circle.

2. Lose 130 lbs.

That is it. That order.

Day 4

Three days after surgery. The recovery is absolutely remarkable. But I started to believe that it will be a disaster. The first two days were just total misery. Somehow I expected less and my spirit sort of collapsed. Especially on the second day where I had so much pressure in my chest that I thought I am having a heart attack. The nurse forced me to walk, walk, walk, and it did help. By the afternoon of the second day I was off the pain medication and I welcomed day 3 in rather cheerful mood.
Here are my words of wisdom to anyone going through this:
  1. Your waistline will increase substantially after two days of IV and internal swelling. The loose shirt I brought with me was too tight and hurt the incisions. I could not wear it. Bring something very soft and very loose.
  2. Don’t get discouraged after first 36 hours discomfort, but be prepared for it.
  3. After surgery – walk. Force yourself to walk.
  4. Don’t be shy asking for a pain medication. At first I was. Later it not only made my life more bearable, but it knocked me out so time went by much faster with much less memories.
  5. Don’t try to read – just ask for the pain medication.
I went for a nice walk today and I am planning to spend few hours at work tomorrow. I have a lecture to give Tuesday morning; should be ready.
I was suspecting a lot of back-questioning myself about doing this, creating such irreversible procedure that sort of handicaps me for the rest of my life. So far - nothing like that. I feel very euphoric about the whole thing.