Procedure: Gastric Sleeve
*results may vary
I’ve been overweight for the last twenty years or so but I started packing on more and more weight when I quit smoking in 2008. My doctor at the time said she’d rather see me pack on a few extra pounds rather than smoke so I took that as a good excuse to eat and drink whatever I wanted to. The more I ate, the harder it became to be active and the less active I was, the more weight I’d gain. It became a vicious cycle. I tried diets, workout routines, diets with workout routines and nothing ever stuck. I finally resigned myself to the idea that I’d always be “big” and would just deal with the consequences as they came. I became more distant to my wife and children as they would go places and either I was too self conscious about my looks or my weight would simply hamper any fun I would have. I missed out on years worth of field trips, trips to the zoo, pool excursions and much more. I simply couldn’t do it. In the summer of 2016, my wife convinced me to go with her and our children to a camp that is held every year for children with special needs. Our kids love the camp and it’s important for them to get to go so I forced myself to go. I found that I could do little with my children. I couldn’t ride the horses, wouldn’t go swimming because I refused to take off my shirt, the craft building was too far for me to walk to; you get the idea. At the last night at camp, I missed a step while walking onto the deck and severely sprained my foot. I ended up in the emergency room the next morning because the pain was awful. The ER doctor looked me square in the eye and said “you know, this wouldn’t be so bad if you weren’t so fat.” She didn’t say it with spite or malice but those words hurt anyway. As I sat on the table with tears in my eyes it dawned on me that she was telling me what nobody else would and what I was choosing to ignore. At my followup appointment with my nurse practitioner, she told me that I needed to do something before I ended up having a heart attack or stroke or something else. She suggested that I at least consider weight loss surgery. I went home and spent days researching all aspects of each of the surgeries. Despite my huge fear of doctors, I decided that I’d at least go and hear what Dr. Snow had to say. Dr. Snow spelled out the pros and cons of each procedure and explained the process in great detail. At the end, I found myself saying words that I didn’t even know were in me. I said “you tell me exactly what it is that I have to do and that’s exactly what I will do.” I weighed 325 pounds that morning. I followed the liquid diet to the letter (though you’d be hard pressed to ever get me to eat sugar free orange Jello again) and my surgery went well. I started walking within hours of my surgery and honestly I haven’t stopped. I was gifted a used elliptical and it’s been a trusty companion throughout my journey. I was sleeved on 10/24/16, just a month before Thanksgiving. I battled through the holidays and rather than feel like a failure if I had a meal or a food choice that wasn’t on my plan, I just owned it and kept moving forward. It’s the mentality that I’ve chosen to keep throughout. I don’t want to be defeated so I refuse to feel defeated. I exercise six days a week and I’ve worked my way up to fifty minutes a day from fifteen minutes per day. I get up at 4:00am so that I can exercise and shower before I get my kids up and ready for school. I’ve found that if I wait until they leave for school, it’s harder to motivate myself to exercise. It’s not always easy but I force myself to do what is necessary to stay on my journey. If that means getting up at 4:00am to exercise then so be it.
It’s been almost four months and I’ve lost 110lbs so far. I still want to lose another 25lbs and I’m confident that I can do so. I cannot thank Dr. Snow or his staff enough for the encouragement and the guidance that they have given me. I play with my kids, I spend time with my wife; I feel like I’m alive again. This has been an amazing journey so far and I’m excited to see where it takes me.