Tough Decisions

DISCLAIMER:  This is NOT a judgment piece of anyone.  These are my feelings and opinions about me and only me.  I love and respect a number of friends and family that have chosen bariatric surgery in their own journeys as a tool to wellness and support them wholeheartedly in their choices.  That said, happy reading!

I made a difficult choice.  I have chosen not to pursue bariatric surgery as a means to lose weight at this particular juncture in my life.

I’ve toyed with the idea for about a year, convincing myself that it was my only hope to lose weight.  “Toying with the idea” is definitely the right way to phrase it, because in all my research, thought, and prayer, I have simply not been able to truly wrap my mind around the idea of modifying my body from how it was designed.  I just haven’t been able to sit comfortably with that thought.

In my delirium laying in bed the last couple weeks, I have really spent a lot of time in my head–a scary, scary place to be–and started to convince myself again that bariatric surgery would be the answer to my problems.  I would lose weight, get fit, live a healthier lifestyle, and all my problems would be behind me.

But that’s not reality.  None of those things happen as a direct result of bariatric surgery.  Bariatric surgery is simply a tool to aid in attaining those things–it’s not a means to an end.  I could get into all the science and research and pros/cons and blah, blah, blah…but what it comes down to is a choice.  Is this tool for me?

I went as far this time as to do my homework and seek out a doctor.  And boy, I found a good one.  One of the leading bariatric surgeons in the country who performs the surgery at the hospital that leads in the nation the number of bariatric surgeries performed.  I even called and scheduled a consultation, which I am cancelling.

So, why isn’t bariatric surgery a choice for me?

Well, I mentioned before the whole idea of altering my internal organs is a pretty substantial reason, but there’s more to it.  I have very little reason to believe that I have the follow-through to be successful in using this particular tool.  It’s not like a diet where when you get tired of it you can just walk away–you’re stuck with the changes.  I would be making a commitment that would affect the rest of my life in how my body works.  I’m just not sure that I’ve got that in me to take on.  Just the precertification process with my health insurance takes almost a year to navigate…and finding out all that’s included in that process has been a huge turn off, even with the support of this “amazing doctor” and his staff that commit to make this a “fun” process.  If I can’t commit to a year to prepare for such a surgery, what right do I have on God’s green earth to think that I’m willing to make a decision that’s going to affect how my body works for the rest of my life?

This was a hard choice for me to make.  I’ve grieved over it.  I’ve cried over it.  I had a tearful conversation with my husband when telling him that I felt like I couldn’t pursue this anymore. (which again, I have an amazing husband, who supports me unconditionally)

Is this the end of the road? Nope.  Will I ever revisit this idea? Maybe.

Here’s what I do know:

I serve an amazing God who will provide what I need at the right time.  God has provided me with great family, friends, and accountability that support me right now.  Right where I’m at.  Yes, absolutely, there’s huge changes that need to be made in my life to live a long and healthy life.  But I have time to make these changes methodically and intentionally to have them become permanent changes.  I’m not staring down the barrel of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.  (Yet.)  I’m just fat.

I’ve made a lot of changes in a short amount of time, and it’s paying off.  I want to see where this leads.  I have a lot of peace in the journey I’ve chosen to take.  It’s not a sprint to the finish, it’s pacing myself for the marathon.  Let’s see what happens next…


Well, a new blog platform calls for a new blog post. I’m not a WordPress fan, but now that I discovered they have an app I can blog from, they scored a few points. 

Officially today I am 35 pounds down on this journey.  This brings me to my first milestone. Basically it means to me that I’m not “too fat” for a particular item anymore. That feels pretty darn good. Finally, something of tangible value!

I still don’t see changes, I still don’t feel any different, and my clothes don’t fit any different…but to fit into the weight capacity of something feels good. I feel a little less like a freak of nature. 

Today my husband and I joined a gym. It’s simply too hot here on the face of the sun to go out walking whenever we please, plus I like having the accountability of paying for it–then I’ll use it. I just have to get my back a little better to get to start using it for more than the stretching classes.

Update on the back: waiting to have some more tests done when we go to Las Vegas later this week to teach some classes on Friday/Saturday.  Starting physical therapy and pain management in the meantime. Pain management is starting to work, I can sit up longer and walk at almost normal speed, but standing in one place and bending are still tough. This (excellent) new doctor I saw thinks that in addition to the herniated disc, I probably have arthritis too, so the tests will confirm that and we’ll get a course of treatment figured out later this month. 

Taking some strides in the emotional and spiritual realms of my journey too.  At our community Christian weight loss support group last week, I was asked to lead us through a 12-week study starting in May. I’m excited for that. I just got all the leader materials and my workbooks last week and can’t wait to dig in. Also, tonight my husband and I and some members of our church are going to begin attending Celebrate Recovery–a Christian 12-step program. Somewhere I definitely belong. 

All-in-all, things are getting better and going well. I’m feeling more hopeful.  Change is a process and not an overnight fix…that I have to constantly remind myself. I’m not on this road to get skinny, I’m here to be the best version of me–the one that God created me to be. There’s going to be good days and bad days, and setbacks along the way. 

I’m not walking away. Not this time. 

Satan’s Scheme of Discouragement

Posted on March 30, 2015

I must admit, the thing that gets me more often than not is the idea of discouragement.  It’s the reason why I give up and walk away from things.  I give in to discouragement easily, often, and do it well.

The past 10 days have been beyond trying on my heart.  But I haven’t walked away…yet. (C’mon, let’s be real here–frustration and discouragement go hand-in-hand)

It started just as a normal Thursday morning.  We were amping up for a big weekend with a training course, attending fellow officers’ retirement celebration, our own worship services, and heading to officer roundtable meetings all in the course of four days.  I had just counted out the Ziploc baggies to portion out our dog’s food to board her and *barely* bent over to scoop food and my back went out.  I made my way to the counter where we keep our medicine and quickly took a muscle relaxant and pain medication and started the agonizing trek to our bed.  I called the chiropractor the second they opened and got in an hour and a half later for an adjustment.  Was told bed rest and to come back the next day for another adjustment.  As the day progressed, the pain got worse and worse–I got up to move the 10 feet to the bathroom and was literally screaming in pain.  My husband called the ambulance and went to our local ER.  They did what they could, but because of the limitations of our small-town hospital, I was transferred by ambulance to Las Vegas for further testing and treatment.  Not much was done for me in Las Vegas other than diagnosing a herniated disc and sending me on my way with orders to see a back doctor.

So after this day and a half ordeal, I’m home incapacitated in bed and get an appointment at the local back doctor for Wednesday…so a few days in bed go by and my husband helped me get dressed and to the local back doctor.  I was crying because I was in so much pain by the time the doctor came in.  His first words to me were to stop crying because crying doesn’t help anything.  Needless to say, the appointment went downhill very fast and he did nothing but crush any hope I had of feeling better.  He was rude, unprofessional, and completely out of line with his words to me.  If there was ever a time I wanted to deck someone, that was it.  So I came home with less hope than I left with and cried most of the afternoon in desperation to feel better.

The next day I had an important meeting that I couldn’t miss, so my husband helped me get ready to go to the office and attend the meeting painfully but successfully–that was Thursday.  It hurt, but was amazing to be out of bed and doing my job.  Friday I had to get moving again because I was scheduled for a radio interview to support our local United Way’s fundraiser and did that successfully, more hope restored.  Yesterday (Saturday) was mostly in bed, but when I did move and get up, I was able to do so without using our walking cane–huge boost–there’s something in me that finds using the cane so degrading.  So, pretty much as it stands today, I can get out of bed, get myself ready, sit up for a short amount of time, but the vast majority of time is still in bed.

Have I mentioned yet how amazing my husband is?  Just in case I haven’t, here’s your notice.  He has taken amazing care of me the last 10 days.  While I was crying in bed of self pity, he did the research and found a back specialist in Las Vegas that I will be seeing this coming week that is better prepared to work with me.  (My back pain is chronic…this happens about once a year for it to go out, but this is the worst it’s ever been.  I’ve done the PT, chiropractor, etc…this new doctor has the experience and the tools to work with me to come up with treatment).  So right now my hope is in that.

So, back to discouragement.

I have been so committed to my change to a healthier lifestyle and weight loss the last couple months and have been so inspired and motivated.  This back thing has been such a huge setback for me.  Every second of every day laying here I’ve just wanted to say “screw it” and eat everything in sight.  I miss cooking good healthy meals.  I am miserable because I can’t move without pain and can’t go out for walks with my husband and our dog like I have been.  I’ve been throwing the most awesome pity party you can possibly fathom.


(There’s always a “but”)

While I feel discouraged beyond words, I haven’t given into it.  I haven’t given up.  I used the word “yet” earlier because, well, my track record proves otherwise.  I haven’t overeaten, and if I could, I would be exercising.  There’s something in me this time that won’t let me throw this progress away.  I shared in an earlier post that this is not just a physical reconstruction of myself, but a mental and spiritual one too.  All three are being severely tested right now.  I won’t let discouragement win this time.  I don’t know how, but maybe I don’t have to know how.  This is a scary place to be in for someone who likes to keep control of everything, but I’ve had to hand this one over to God.  I’m out of strength and hope right now–I admit, I’m very discouraged–but that “something in me” is God taking over in His strength and in His hope.  It can be an uncomfortable place to be without seeing the roadmap for the days…even minutes…ahead, but I’ve got to live with that for this moment.  Discouragement doesn’t get to win this time.

A Little Bit of History

Posted on March 18, 2015

Don’t worry, I’m not going to detail 34 years of life…but pretty close.  In AA, they call this your “drunkalog,” and that it’s something that you shouldn’t fixate on–use it as information, but look to the future with hope and strength.  I can get on board with that, but I think it’s important to look at history so you don’t repeat it.  After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I have been overweight my entire life.  No, I don’t exaggerate.  I was born a tiny bit premature, and within a week had reversed the numbers on my pounds/ounces to be larger than my gestational age.

I have tried EVERY diet known to man.  Every. single. crazy, hair-brained, fad that has come along.  I’ve dieted all my life.  I have a vague memory of being in the pediatrician’s office around age 5 and him telling my mom that I needed to lose weight, and then on the trip home stopping at the grocery store and celery was purchased (yes, random memory…).  I’ve been to weight loss “doctors,” gyms, therapists, nutritionists, support groups, twelve-step programs, and even fat camp.  I would venture to say between my experiences and learning how to live with my husband’s diabetes that I have greater nutritional knowledge than some who study the topic for a living.

I haven’t failed at every attempt at weight loss, I’ve had some successes.  That said, I’ve also walked away from those successes and gained the weight back plus interest.  I know I can lose weight, I just don’t follow-through.

So, what’s different this time?

Again, AA–I’ve hit my bottom.  I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.  While I am blessed that I have no weight-related health problems (yeah, that one baffles doctors too), I’m not stupid and I know that won’t last forever.  I come from a family of diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, and other issues.  I am tired of being miserable.  Being my weight is depressing.  I have not been active because it’s very difficult to exert the energy it takes to move this amount of weight around.  I have not eaten healthy, because, well, let’s face it–it’s so much easier to eat crud and I’m a lazy person by nature.  I don’t live my life to the fullest because I am afraid–afraid of fitting in booths/chairs, afraid (humiliated) to ask for the airplane seatbelt extender, afraid of what people will think of me, and generally afraid of anything that I can’t control.

But enough is enough.  I cannot live my life in fear.  That’s not what God has created me for.

So, January 23, 2015, I started this journey at my highest weight I have ever seen in my life.  Will I share that number?  No, not now, because it’s still humiliatingly huge to me.  Will I share it one day?  Perhaps…but don’t expect it soon.  I briefly started using a meal replacement program, but that became cost prohibitive, so now I am following another weight loss program that I have used in the past and have been successful with.

Unfortunately, I do have the need for a structured weight loss program.  It’s just my personality…I need that bit of legalism in my life.  I’m not one of those folks that can just “eat healthy and exercise” and the weight comes tumbling off.  Maybe down the road…we’ll see where God takes me.  That’s part of this journey too.

Losing weight alone is not the answer.  I need a complete overhaul–physically, mentally, and spiritually.  That is going to be the key to success at this current juncture.  I have taken steps to not sabotage myself so that “this time” turns into all the other attempts.  This is a lifestyle change, and I can’t do it alone.  God has blessed me with a husband that is supportive and encouraging beyond my wildest dreams (who patiently listens to my frustrations and wipes my tears when I cry), friends to cheer me on, and several opportunities to stay accountable.  I have people in my life that will kick me in the pants when I need it, and for that, I’m grateful.  I’ve also made myself “facebook accountable”–not the most popular avenue of accountability, but for me, it works.  If I’m going to put this journey out there for hundreds of people and their friends to see, I better be doing what I need to do.

And that brings us to today. 7 weeks into the journey.  I am still plugging along.  I’ve lost 25lbs so far.  Pretty frustrated that I see no change in myself yet, but on the same token, at my size, I may not see change for quite some time. (And for the record, I’m allowed to be frustrated at myself, there’s nothing innately wrong about that) I have gotten eating wrangled in to a healthy place.  I’ve started some exercise–walking and recently some resistance band training.  I’m not setting records by anyone’s standards, including my own inflated standards.  But I’m moving in the right direction.  And for today, that’s enough.