My weight had always seesawed as a child. Around eight to 10 years-old, I was heavy, but when I was in high school, my mother had to taper the sides of my shirts so they would look good; I was almost too thin. In my childhood, all celebrations came with special meals, desserts. We had lots of comfort food. When I was young and my body was growing, my metabolism was faster, shaking weight off was easy. The next growth spurt would take care of it. You didn’t exercise, you went and did stuff. You didn’t go to the gym, you rode your bike or played tennis, golfed, hiked. Having a paper route and carrying heavy loads for long distances every day helped to make me “thin”.
College, beer and lack of exercise, plus stress eating, packed the pounds on. I guess it was around 2005, after I had gotten really big, after I had tried everything I could, when I first decided to have the surgery. The bypass really scared me, but I started the program. I followed the program, lost the weight on my own before surgery and got cocky. I decided that I could do this on my own, that surgery wouldn’t be necessary. Then the weight came back, like it always did, and brought some friends with them, like it always did. When I found out that I could have the sleeve done (which seemed more natural to me), it was time to get off the weight roller coaster.
As far as motivation for losing the weight, I was missing out on too much life. I was faced with not doing things that I had always enjoyed doing. I had the largest lederhosen money could buy, and it fit like a speedo, I couldn’t sit in them and had set up elastics to give me some breathing room. I had done dancing for over 30 years and wasn’t going to stop. My children were finally old enough to be in scouts, and I couldn’t hike with them. I had loved playing tennis, hiking, backpacking, swimming, cycling. I was popping spokes on my bicycle wheels like M&M’s. No sleeping bag was big enough. I had to sleep with an arm or two outside the bag. I hated going to Germany because the seats were too narrow. Seats at the amusement park were too small as well. I would go to Hershey Park with my family, and always warm the bench. I had to be careful about what chairs I sat in, especially chairs with arms.
Everyone in the program at LG Health was fantastic! They were understanding of what I went through and was going through. It wasn’t operating by numbers, one size fits all. I felt that they tailored what I could and couldn’t do based on my individual needs. Dr. Ku’s surgical ability, and the concern he showed, and the suggestions he was able to make during visits were among the things I liked best about the program. The support group helped a lot too with expectations and helpful hints and ideas for minor problems that came up. Shauna helped with healthy alternatives to some of the choices I was making.
My life has now changed dramatically. I can ride a racing bike I wouldn’t have dared to sit on before. I have played tennis for three hours, and felt great afterwards, which I haven’t done for 20 years! I have done the mile swim at Boy Scout camp, which I hadn’t done since I was 16. I have gone on every hiking and backpacking trip with the Boy Scout Troop since my operation. I can dance without a knee brace. I go on amusement park rides. I can wear clothes I’ve wanted to wear for years.
Everything has changed for the better. From not having foot pain, increased endurance, strength, and mobility, fitting in clothes I never thought I could fit in again, lots of compliments. I am always looking for an opportunity to be active. I can out-hike and outlast the teenagers in the troop. I have opportunities to do things couldn’t dream of. I’m looking forward to a 40-mile, three day hike this year on the Appalachian Trail. If you told me I could do that a couple years ago, I’d have told you that you were nuts. I have a positive mental attitude. Even reflections are my friends again.
It has all been positive, with no set backs or complications. From the Cindy the receptionist at the door to Ryan in physical therapy, they are a great team and I have only the regret that I didn’t do this sooner.