Biological Clock Embroidery by Maximum RABBIT Designs
Ok, well it looks like this is becoming a bit of a series, this whole Confessions thing. I’ve been trying to be as honest and open as possible about my efforts to lose weight, as well as about my issues with infertility. I think the greater part of my reason for it is because it makes me feel better to get it all out. I also continue to do it because I know that there are other people out there, like me, who find it helpful when others open up about their experiences. If reading my story can help inform someone or, at the very least, let them know they aren’t alone, then that’s a great reason too.
Anyway, let’s get down to the reason why I’m writing today. There’s no leading up to this and I’ve found that the best way to do it is the tried and true ripping off the bandaid approach.
I am going to have weight loss surgery. On January 18th, 2012 I am having gastric bypass surgery, which is shown in the video below, for those who don’t know what it is.
Ok, now it’s out there, there is no turning back. I know some of you already know this, but many don’t and I’m sure for those people it has come as a bit of a shock to your system but that’s ok. It was a bit of a shock to mine as well!
If you had asked me this time last year where I’d be right now, I would have said that I’d have all of my weight off and be about to start IVF. I was after losing 85 pounds, feeling great and was well on my way to reaching my goals. I would have puffed my chest out and exclaimed that NOTHING was getting in my way, I was a woman on a mission and I was kicking ass and taking names.
That was before this happened, before the fertility treatments began, before the hormones, stress, and disappointment that came along with the six months of fertility treatments. I had totally underestimated the toll that would take on me and how difficult it would make losing weight. Hell, how difficult it would be to keep the weight I’d already lost off… because I am an emotional eater and this was one of the most emotional experiences I have been through. I wish I didn’t, and I’ve tried to change it over the years, but food has always equaled comfort for me. So when I was loaded with hormones and dying with anticipation and anxiety over whether I had gotten pregnant that month, I ate. When I realized I wasn’t pregnant again that month, I was sad, angry, and disappointed…. so I ate.
In the last year I have tried time and time again to get back on track and find that strength I had the year before. I’d do detox after detox, tried having my doctor send me to another dietitian and still I couldn’t seem to make it happen. Instead of continuing to lose the weight, I gained back half of what I lost and it felt horrible.
The thing is, I know many people feel that if you want something badly enough you just do it. How I wish it were that simple, and I think if it were the world wouldn’t have the obesity problems it has today. Nobody WANTS to be overweight, nobody wants to have the health issues that come along with it or to be made fun of and have their self esteem trampled into the dirt. Nobody wants that.
In my experience (and I fully admit this may just be me) I have found that the more I had riding on this, the more difficult it became. My biological clock has been ticking VERY loudly and not only my chances of having children, but also my husband’s, relied on me losing weight. That’s a lot of pressure and that pressure and stress turned out to not be a motivation for me, but an obstacle. It was constantly there nagging at me and stressing me out.
Weight loss surgery was first suggested to me by my gynecologist in 2006 and let me tell you, I did NOT take kindly to that suggestion at all. I was furious that she would even suggest that to me because I’d started losing weight on my own and was convinced that I could get it done. That was one of many times in the past six years when I was convinced I was going to get it done on my own.
Over the years I’ve tried the general eat less move more method, Weight Watchers, Low Carbing and everything in between. Generally I’d lose 25-30 lbs and then whatever would happen, whether it was a family member dying back home, other family issues, winter blues or whatever, I would then turn around and gain it back… and then some. Which lead to the great scale disaster of 2008, when I stepped on and realized I weighed over 300 lbs.
How fucking embarrassing it still is to say that.
As I said, I thought the recent 85 lb weight loss was really going to be it, as I’d gone further than I ever have, but it wasn’t, and what can I do about it now after letting another year slip by and gaining half of it back?
The weight loss surgery was given to me as an option by both my fertility specialist and my family doctor over the years. They didn’t really push it on me, rather just let me know it was there. Every time I’d hold my hand up and tell them no. I mean weight loss surgery?! Were they out of their freaking minds?!! When I declined they would do whatever they could, whether it was sending me to a weight loss program that paid for a gym membership, or to a new dietitian, they really did try to help motivate me and give me what I needed to try to lose the weight.
Looking back, I think the one thing we should have done, but didn’t, was see a therapist about WHY I am an emotional eater, and try to solve those problems. I think that would have gone a long way to helping me finally beat this issue once and for all. Oh but we all know about hindsight…
After recent talks with my doctor, and the new dietitian (who I absolutely ADORE) together we have come to the following conclusions:
1. I will be 37 years old in a few months, and once I hit 40 any chances I have of having IVF are over.
2. After 35 years of age, the success rate with IVF pretty much drops by half every year.
3. After the re-gain, for me to now get to the HIGHEST weight acceptable for IVF (which also means the weight that gives me the lowest chance of success) it would take me 12-15 months. I would still be considered overweight, still be hovering around the 200 lb mark and while I would be ALLOWED to have IVF by slipping in under the line… when taking my age and weight into consideration, my chances of getting pregnant would be very very low.
4. In that 12-15 months, with the surgery, I could not only get to a weight to be allowed to have IVF but surpass that and reach a much lower and healthier weight. This would not only increase my chances of conceiving greatly, but put me in a much better position for a healthy pregnancy if I’m lucky enough to have one at all.
5. If, heaven forbid, the IVF doesn’t work, I won’t still be seriously overweight, emotional and trying to move on. I will hopefully have much fitter body, better outlook on life and feel more energetic and motivated to move on with life, free of FAT and INFERTILITY, for the first time in as long as I can remember.
6. I HAVE tried on my own, for YEARS. I have done the work, I’ve fought the fight and really made an honest to goodness effort to do this on my own, that is something nobody will ever be able to accuse me of, not trying my hardest on my own. As much as I’d like to THINK I could get this done on my own over the next year, I thought that last year as well and I was in a much better position then. I was 40 lbs lighter than I am now and felt a million times better.
7. If I don’t decide to take this leap now, and a year from now haven’t managed to get the weight off on my own, it may be too late. As my doctors said, I’m at a critical point now in regards to my weight and age. If I turn down the surgery now, and in a year still haven’t gotten the weight off, I risk missing my window completely… because when factoring in waiting and recovery periods with the surgery, it will be too late. I wouldn’t be able to get it all done in time to still slip in under the age limit for the IVF.
This is not a decision I’ve made lightly, nor is it something I am taking lightly. I don’t view the surgery as a fix for anything and I’m fully aware that unless I DO sort out my issues with food and do the work that I’ll eventually just gain all the weight back. I know all the risks and rewards and have basically dedicated the past few months of my life to this. I’ve been gathering info on the different surgeries available, visiting the clinic, speaking and visiting with people who have had or are going to have surgery, learning more about food and eating after the surgery and talking extensively about this with my close family and friends.
I have also been working hard to set up a support system for myself. I’ve been trying to get to know other people who have been or are being treated by the same clinic, I’ve gone to one of their meetings and that was incredibly helpful and gave me a lot of insight. I have a few friends who have done this and they’ve been wonderfully supportive and I’m currently working on getting set up with a therapist (outside of the one I see in the after care program from the clinic) to really dig deep and help me once and for all put an end to my dysfunctional relationship with food.
Basically, if I’m going to take this drastic step, I feel like I have to really do the work to make sure it sticks, because it’s really not a place I ever thought I’d be in my life. Weight loss surgery was something I never thought I’d even consider because I had a lot of the same opinions other people who have never faced it have… it’s the easy way out, the lazy way out, weight loss surgery is for losers who can’t be arsed to do it on their own.
Boy, let me tell you… has my opinion changed since I have had to stare this beast face to face. It’s anything but easy. In fact, it’s going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s a massive life change, it’s going to be painful at times, sad at times and I’m sure there will be a few screaming fits in the mix along the way… but I’m hopeful that one day it will be worth it.
I won’t lie, I’m scared to death. I’m scared of the surgery, the time in the hospital, making the huge changes that are required, how people are going to react to me doing this, of possibly gaining the weight back someday, of complications or crappy side effects (like losing hair, ugh!) and a million other things.
That said though, I am confident in my decision and I know that this is the right choice for me at this time. It wasn’t six years ago, it wasn’t four years ago and it wasn’t this time last year… but it is now. I will be operated on by Dr. Bruno Dillemans in Brugge Belgium, who is one of the top bariatric surgeons in the world, so that is very comforting. The reason the surgery is taking place in Belgium is because I am having it done via a private clinic outside Amsterdam, rather than one of the hospitals in Rotterdam. The waiting period for the surgery at the hospitals in Rotterdam is between 9-12 months, which when you factor in the 12 months I’ll need to set aside after the surgery for the weight loss, is too long in my situation. Thankfully my insurance company forwarded me to this clinic which has only a 3 month waiting period. The super surgeon is an added bonus.
I have waited until almost the last minute to write about this because I wanted to tell the people who are closest to me and I wanted to give myself time to process it and be confident and secure enough to deal with everyone’s questions and reactions. I was very insecure about this in the beginning, I felt like a total failure and like I WAS giving up, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I know that if all I wanted was an easy or lazy way out I would have jumped at the chance one of the many times it was mentioned to me over the last six years. I also don’t think I have failed, I managed to lose 85 lbs, which is something a lot of people can’t do at all, let alone with as much riding on it as I have had. I have tried my hardest to do this on my own and I no longer see this as a failure, rather just choosing another path that gives me the greatest chance of achieving my goals.
Another reason I feel comfortable enough to be open about this now is because of how unbelievably supportive and understanding my close friends and family have been. In the beginning I was terrified to tell people for fear of how they’d react but everyone has been so understanding and supportive. Sure, they are worried for me as it is a major surgery and a life changing event, but like me they are hopeful that whether the IVF works or not, that in the end this will all lead to me having a healthier, happier and more productive life. Even those that I thought would have a sort of *shock horror* response have not had that at all, quite the opposite actually and their support has meant the world to me.
I will have the surgery on January 18th and I’ve been sure to make no big plans for the first few months of the year, as there is quite a long recovery period and I won’t be working on a lot of calories in the beginning so I won’t have a lot of energy. So for those nearby please don’t be offended if I am a bit scarce for a while, hopefully I’ll be back in action soon! You are all welcome to come by for a visit though!!
Well, that’s all my news! I’m going to stop now as this has, in true Canadutch style, turned into a total novel. I know I’ll re-read this and there will be 100 little bits of info I’d wish I’d included but I’m going to try to restrain myself!