Recently, Monica sent us her very detailed weight loss story. She provides in detail the background behind her decision to have weight loss surgery at 256 pounds (4ft, 11″ tall). I think her story reflects that weight loss surgery is not only a very personal choice, but also one that is not just about losing weight and looking good. The reasons behind eating and food addiction are not just about liking food. For Monica, years of medicating pain with food were helped by this surgery. Here is her story:
In March 2008, I went to my new family doctor. I weighed 256lbs (I am 4ft.11 inches tall). She put me on a diet immediatly. At the same time, my then husband started talking to me about getting a gastric bypass. I went the first meeting for gastric bypass. I got so much valuable information. It was then that knew I needed to get this done. Keep reading cause I explain what had happened to cause the delay in getting my surgery.
May 18,2009 I got my gastric bypass. Till this day I can’t believe I had this operation done. I was so afraid when I went into the hospital the day of the surgery. I was in so much pain after the surgery. Thank God for the pain medication they gave me. After it was done, I knew there would be no turning back. My body was altered on the inside. That was the day my life totally changed. I knew it because I felt in my heart that I was in for a lifestyle change. This operation was going to be a change in my life for the better. I wasn’t sure what would happen but I knew it would not be the same anymore. The day I had the surgery I weighed 225 lbs.
Diet after surgery:
- A liquid diet nothing to eat just liquids for 14 days
- The pureed diet for 14 days.
- The soft food diet 14 days.
All these diets were brutal. I still had the feeling of wanting to eat, but I played by the rules. I cried a lot. I missed eating so much. All I thought about was chicken wings and spare ribs. I cussed out the kids. I screamed. I yelled a lot every time I saw someone eating. I missed food like a lover. It was painful. At some point, I could not figure out how I was going to do this. I had to wrap my mind around the concept that I will never eat the way I used to eat ever again. I was the type of person who really loved to eat. I loved eating with my family. Entertaining family and friends meant lots of food and drink. I compare this experience as saying goodbye to a wonderful lover who I had loved for years. I have my memories and pictures of me eating. I still miss food, but it’s not the same…I got over that now.
Back to 2008 – March 3,2008: From the time we met he was telling me that he had good insurance and that I could get a gastric bypass on his insurance. I went to the hospital in Flagstaff, AZ. I met with the doctors I thought would be conducting my surgery. They told me since I had no previous weight history with a doctor that I would have to go through six months of visits with other doctors who would have to approve my surgery in order to get it done. He was very upset. He did not want to wait. As a matter of fact he had contacted the insurance company and yelled at them over the phone explaining to them just how important it was for me to get this operation as soon as possible.
My ex husband and I broke up. My sister paid for a plane ticket and $100,00 cash for me to go back home to PA from AZ. When I arrived in PA I was so upset. I was like a broken woman. I couldn’t even think straight. I stayed at my daughter’s house and she convinced me that I could still get the surgery here in PA. I went to the University of PA where I met with doctors. They made me get a battery of tests over a period of six months. Then I found out that I would need an additional $275.00 for the nutrition class and an addiction class. $275.00 for the Psyche doctor too. Thank God for Mark, the man who would help me out. He bought me a car, clothes and jewelry he paid for the additional things that I needed in order to get the operation.
He also gave me Sparky a 1-½ yr. Old pure breed mini poodle. Without Marks help I don’t think it could have been possible even with good health insurance. After all was said and done, the initial operation itself was $69,0040.00 and the test leading up to the operation must have been something like $5,000.00 in total.
Let’s jump to May 21,2010 and me being healthy and joint pain free @ age 44. Priceless!
Everyone who has gastric bypass has a story. I don’t think mine is so different. It’s just my story.
How did I gain the weight?
15 yrs. old and pregnant: 1982. I was always a nice healthy weight. I started having children when I was very young. I was 15 yrs. old when I got pregnant and I weighted 115. I gave birth when I was 16 yrs. old. I weight 145lbs. I thought I was so fat. I lost most of the weight by the time I got pregnant with my second child.
18 yrs. old and pregnant: 1984 I was 18yrs. old. I weighted 135lbs. I gave birth to my second child I weighted about 165lbs. Now I thought that was really fat. 18 months later: 1986 about 20 yrs. old. I was about to turn 20 yrs. old. When I found myself pregnant with my third child. I don’t remember how much I gained and lost. I was more concerned with the health and well being of my child at that point. About 235 lbs. me and my daughter Moriah
24 yrs. old and pregnant: 1990 I gave birth to my forth and last child. I had my tubes tied about a day after giving birth. I weight 211lbs. I was huge I didn’t think I could get any bigger.
1991 The death of my son @ the tender age of 4 and half yrs. old Six weeks later my third child had died in his sleep. Due to complications from multiple seizures. I weighted 190lbs. I didn’t think life could get any worse. Somehow, I ate and ate. That’s the way I dealt with my extreme depression. I almost never recovered from the death of my son. I ate away my pain and the guilt that all parent suffer after the death of a child. I accept my lost now. I never stop thinking about him or talking about him. This is really when my eating large amounts of food came into Vogue for me.
My estranged brother died in 1999. I ate that was so depressing. I couldn’t take the pain of losing another sibling. He was only 44 yrs. old. In 1999 the death of my Mother hit me hard. My beloved Mother died after a long battle with heart disease and diabetes. It was so painful losing her. I turned my drug of choice food. I had such a good time in life with my Mother. When she passed away I never wanted to morn her. So I ate a lot more. I couldn’t deal with the pain in my heart of losing my best friend in the whole wide world. It was just too over whelming.
In 2000 I lived and worked in NYC corporate America. Ate on the run all the time. I ate at some of the best restaurants in New York. I ate till my hearts content. Loved all the foreign food restaurants in Manhattan. 250 lbs. Vineland, NJ on one of the many stays a ways for merchandising job
2002-2008 traveled a lot for work. Picked up some real bad eating habits. Drank too much vodka. Joined gyms. Didn’t exercise. Ran up some high bills not paying my gym memberships. Lost a pound or 2 here and there but nothing really. I moved to AZ to get a fresh start. By the time I got to AZ I was holding down 240-250 lbs. easy. I really ate a lot by this time. It was way out of control. Huge portions of food. Tex/Mex was my favorite. But for the first time dinner and desserts had become my favorite foods.
I have tried working out a little. Put my finger in my mouth to throw up. Dextrin. Drinks and shakes. Lots of diet pills. Sweat bands and sweat belts. Plastic wraps and wrapping myself in trash bags. Giving myself water Enema’s. You name it, I have tried it. All meat diet. All fruit diets too. Where you only eat meat or fruit. I thought they worked cause I saw a few pounds come off.
Had really abusive boyfriends. Had abusive husbands too. Mostly everyone picked on me about my weight. My sisters picked on me too. My kids would say stuff to me now and then. My Mother picked on me about my weight. But it was always ok that my Mother and sisters would pick on me. They were family and I was used to the jokes. I didn’t bother me until the men really started saying some real mean things like: I can’t get in there because of you belly being in the way. Now that really hurt like hell.
In AZ wherever thing is hiking, walking, fishing, hunting, gardening and other outdoor healthy type of living stuff that you can imagine. I was truly a fish out of water.
Before the surgery:
I wanted to lose the weight and get healthy. My Mother died because of complications of diabetes and high blood pressure. I didn’t want to end up that way. I lost 25 lbs. I was so out of shape. I could really walk far. I had serve joint pain. High blood pressure. I had good cholesterol and no diabetes. One problem, I am 4ft.11 inches tall. I had a BMI of 47, which is really bad. The avg. person my height should be 100lbs. 125 lbs. at the most.In AZ I had a family doctor who got me started on a good diet. I lost 4 lbs. in month. I was amazed. It went like that until I got the surgery. Just gradually losing 4lbs. a month. I talked to the nutritionists at the University of Penn. They got me on one of the best diets I have ever been on. It went like this: Masticate your food well/Wait 30 minutes and sip your non-caloric beverage. Walk 60 minutes a day everyday. In August 2010, I got Sparky my poodle as a gift. We walk 60 mins each day. Walking him has helped me get in shape. Plus Sparky made walking fun for me. I have never walked this much in my life. Sparky has made the best companion for me during the recovery process.
Life after surgery:
Everything has changed for me now. The first thing I noticed was my kids and grandkids reaction. They had a hard time excepting their Mother looking different. When I reached about 180 lbs. or so it became very noticeable. They called me named like skinny, crept keeper and bobble head doll. At first the comments really hurt me for bad. Soon after that when I lost even more weight. I just got used to the names. For a minute I wanted to stop dieting and start eating again. I had to tell myself not to get upset and undo all this hard work it has taken me to get to this point. They eventually got used to me looking smaller. But I knew it must have been hard for them to see me like this. It meant to them that their old Mom was dead and this new Mom replaced the old me.
Reaction of men/women in my life:
The men at work started to be real helpful to me. Men want to open doors for me. I couldn’t believe it. Men who have met me a year ago suddenly have started talking to me at the bars and clubs. I couldn’t handle the new found attention. I have always been an out going person. Ever since I was very young. I have been loud and the life of the party type. Now, I find myself to be quiet and not so talkative. This change has been strange even to me. As of late I don’t need to talk. I get plenty of attention from men and woman. Now people touch me all the time. I find this touching to be weird and uncomfortable. I don’t remember a time when people have been so nice and sociable to me.
I still have another 20-30 lbs. to lose. I’ll get there.
I want to tell as many people as I can about this surgery. Giving real information. I just want others to feel better and look better. There’s so much life left to live and I want to live it to the fullest now….
Thank you, for reading my gastric bypass story.