Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Weight History . . .

I've been asked to post to this blog to tell my gastric bypass journey. I don't really know where to start BUT I know I'm always happy to meet a fellow GB patient and to hear their stories so . . . Maybe I'll use my first batch of posts to just give you a little background on me, my weight, my family, my experiences before surgery and how I got "here."

Then I'll get more in to the surgery itself (fears, realities, the socks they give you with the grippy things, etc.)

I'll just talk today about my weight history today. It is boring and sort of unnerving to tell the world (or the two people who might actually read this post) my weight history BUT I think it is an important part of who I have been and who I am. You should know sooner v. later that I don't have self esteem issues, I'm no shrinking violet and I'm not ashamed of my weight or who I have been or am.

It all starts 31 years ago. I was born to two loving and pleasantely rotund people that each come from a long line of moderately overweight to obese people.

I have always been overweight, I think. I remember being "husky" and I remember being only 10 the first time the doctor talked to me about a diet and 12 the first time I started shopping in the Men's Department and by 16 I was getting all of my clothes from Big & Tall catalogs (if you want to ensure "coolness" in high school, shop EXCLUSIVELY at the fat man's store). I weighed 250 pounds when I left for college at the age of 18.

I came home for Christmas of Freshman year weight almost 300 pounds and I went back weighing 310 pounds.

I was back down to 250 again when I graduated from college. By the time I finished graduate school - two years later - at the age of 24 - I weighed 350 or so pounds. I haven't seen a 2 at the begining of my weight since college. Sadly.

By the age of 27, I weighed in at 530 pounds. That's right, 200+ pounds gained in a little under three years. I know people that freak out when they gain 5 pounds or so per year.

I'm not taking that number lightly (no pun intended). That is a bad weight. A troubling number. A lot of man. That is the heaviest I have ever been. I can honestly tell you that I pray to God every night before I go to bed for four simple things 1) the health, safety and happiness of my wife and daughter 2) the health, safety and happiness of my family and friends 3) that I will never see 530 pounds of my own mass again and 4) that I might someday own a pony (I've been praying for that for a very, very long time now).

I met the woman who is now my wife when I was 27 too. I was a very "thin" 485 when I met her. I had done some dieting that summer and had some good success. I ate nothing the week I met her. NOTHING. Not healthy either but - that's for another blog. Anywho my wife, Joy, somehow found her way to loving me at nearly my heaviest and she has stood by me through the ups and downs of life and my weight ever since.

I was supposed to have GB in the fall of 2005. I got down from 480 to 430 that summer because Joy and I got married and I was trying to minimize my risks on the surgery table. My insurance company decided that if I had lost 50 pounds on my own - I could lose the other 200+ on my own too. I gained 40 of those pounds back in 6 months from depression and general anxiety - fearing I would never lose the weight and I would not be long for this world.

I was back to almost 500 again when I turned 30 in the spring of 2006.

My daughter was born later that summer and I had lost 20 pounds to look as good as possible (it was all relative at the time) for her birth. She weighed less than 7 pounds. She fit - FIT - in one of my hands. I realized I could stand to lose a fewwwwww more pounds. I tried to convince her when she was about one month old that I would lose one pound for every pound she gained. I've since let her off the hook . . .

I have lost and gained probably a thousand pounds in my life. I'd lose 10, gain 12, lose 20, gain 30, lose 50 . . . gain 75. Always ended out heavier than I started and I always could sense when a diet was about to fail (the weight loss would slow and I would bail out on the diet). I knew I needed to do something permanent - the risk of surgery is often thought to be high but - what is the risk of doing nothing? I know that risk is MUCH higher in my case.

Anywho, I entered the surgery program at Danbury Hospital in November, 2006. I was at 490. While I have been VERY lucky to avoid high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart or lung issues, joint issues, muscle aches, etc. etc. etc. - my sleep apnea was fierce and I had significant lymph adema in my left leg. I knew the rest of the "co-morbidities" were just a matter of time.

I want to be clear - I had the surgery for me. NOT to lose weight. NOT to look good in tight jeans. NOT to fit in an airplane seat. NOT to go on a roller coaster again. NOT to not get stares from kids. NOT for any vanity or anything superficial. I did it for ME - BUT I really had the surgery for my commitment to my wife and my daughter to be here for them and to love and support them for a very, very long time. Make no mistake - you can not have the surger "for" any one or any thing else, you have to do it "for" you BUT I am also positive that you CAN (and maybe should) have other people and skinny jeans and cross-country flights on your mind every step of the way through the surgery program and during that chilly ride down the hallway on the guerney the morning of your surgery. AND especially in the days, months and years after your surgery.

Anywho, I went in to the hospital the morning of my surgery at 483. Today, 4 1/2 months later, I weigh 358. I've lost 125 pounds already. It feels great BUT I know there is a long road ahead of me. I want to lose another 135 pounds (at least) and THEN I need to maintain or lower that weight for the rest of my life - which I likely have added many, many years to through the surgery.

Now you know one of my stories. I promise they won't all be this long!

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