Project Ramona: In Da Club
6/27/2012 5:19:00 PM
It doesn't matter where I go, I meet someone who has a surgical weight loss story to share. It's like I'm part of a secret club now. Last Friday night a man at the Uptown Charlotte Jazz Festival talked to me about losing 212 pounds after his surgery 3 years ago. His insurance wouldn't cover it, so he paid out of pocket and hasn't looked back. On Saturday night a woman told me about losing 167 pounds after having her surgery 5 years ago. On Sunday when I was hanging at NASCAR Speedpark, three different people told me about their surgeries. It's far more common than you think.
Some thank me for sharing my story, hoping that I can shed some light on the plight of people who've tried for decades to lose weight on their own. Many have thanked me for being honest about the emotional issues that face people who opt for surgery. I get high-fives from other people who've used the surgery to beat diabetes. Others give me stern warnings about taking my vitamins, the changing attitudes of friends and the effects of drinking too much alcohol post surgery. They share pre-surgery fears and post-surgery triumphs.
It is more than just a medical procedure. It opens the door to a new life. A woman told me Sunday that it gave her the opportunity to embrace her health. The food choices she needed to make felt impossible before her gastric bypass. The surgical weight management team at Catawba Valley Medical Center realizes the need for support beyond the hospital. The support groups, even their Bari-bites Cookbook were developed with that in mind.
During my 6 month follow-up, I spoke with Lynn, the dietitian, at length about MY weight loss goals. The charts say I should weigh about 132. I'm not even sure what that looks or feels like. I haven't been been 132 since elementary school! I'm currently down to 164 and a size 8. I think I'd like to lose another 20 pounds but my mind has no concept of what that means. I haven't been 144 since elementary school. Lynn told me that lots of patients tell her the same thing. The weight loss success I'm experiencing is so surreal that I can't even visualize 144. Would that be a size 6? Would my freakishly large head look even more freakishly large? I really have no idea. Frankly I found it hard to believe when she told me back in January that I'd probably lose about 70% of my excess body weight by the end of July. I'm almost there. By mid June I'd lost 67%.
The great thing about being in the SWL club is that Lynn and the man who lost 212 pounds give you hope. They help you understand that you aren't alone and you aren't crazy because you don't comprehend people calling you "slim." Long term success is attainable and that means a lot to people like me who've spent their lives in the regaining club.