As I briefly mentioned in the About Me section, I started considering bariatric surgery approximately a year and a half ago. It began as just a fanciful idea – what if I got surgery and dropped 100 pounds and looked normal for once? I’d mention it casually to my husband as an option, which I’m sure he didn’t think I was actually serious about.
Then I started to do some research online and talking to friends that had previously had surgery. I highly recommend that if you are seriously considering bariatric surgery to not skip this step. The Internet was a great resource for everything from what to take when my gas pains were unbearable after surgery to how long I could expect to have hair loss. Being able to sit down with a friend I could trust was also much needed. She was honest about the practical difficulties after surgery – like not being able to actually eat AND drink at a wedding, and still dealing with getting sick when she overate.
Finally, I approached my primary care physician and gynecologist for some medical advice. I recommend using the physicians you already trust as resources for surgeon recommendations and as sounding boards. That was how I found my surgeon, who I couldn’t have been happier with. Once I established a relationship with his office, I felt comfortable using his staff to discuss specifics. For example, helping me have the surgery fully covered by insurance and when I could expect to resume certain activities.
While making the decision myself was pretty difficult, I wasn’t prepared for how tough it would be to share with my loved ones my choice. My mother literally started to cry when I told her that I was seriously considering surgery. She was scared that it had come to this and upset that I had been seemingly left with no other options. My husband just didn’t understand at first. To him, I had always been beautiful. Even more than that, I was lucky enough that although clearly plus size, I didn’t necessarily show my true weight. He couldn’t believe that I would A) qualify and B) not be able to take care of my weight issue without surgery. But once I finally told him how much I weighed – a truly terrifying experience – he understood why I needed to do this for myself and for us.
Working in an office that deals with the medical field actually made the conversation easier at work. My bosses also didn’t think I needed the surgery, but were fully supportive and understood what it entailed. Moreover, they were incredibly flexible with the scheduling process and checked in with me following surgery to make sure I was okay. Having people I work with know about the surgery was also helpful after I returned to work; I had a built in support system that didn’t question when I only ate 2 oz of tomato soup for lunch and continually encourage me by complimenting my progress. Although it was scary to share something so personal with my work, I’m so glad I did.
Another important person I had to tell about surgery was my CrossFit instructor. I was eager to return to CrossFit as soon as medically cleared to do so by my surgeon, but as any CrossFit enthusiast knows the workouts are demanding to say the least. I knew that at first I might need some modification due to my weakened stomach muscles or the workouts just might take me longer than expected. Also, if there was ever an issue in my recovery (G-d forbid), he needed to know what was going on. Honestly, I was concerned about my instructor thinking I had failed him in some way by choosing surgery to lose the weight. However, like everyone else, he was supportive and has continued to cheer me on with my progress.
Overall, I found that you have to choose this for yourself. While others may have factored somewhat into the decision process – e.g. to have a longer life with my husband, or to have a healthier pregnancy one day – first and foremost I chose surgery for me. This was absolutely crucial as I am the one who had to face the recuperation and the daily difficulties of post-weight loss surgery life. But, what I learned most during the difficult conversations I had leading up to and after weight loss surgery is that I had to have more faith in others. Consistently, my family, friends, and colleagues surprised me by their support and lack of judgment. I feel blessed for their encouragement, and lucky to be reminded that those around me want me to succeed. From choosing weight loss surgery to telling others, it has not always been easy, but it is a decision I’m thankful I made everyday.
xo – SavvySleever