I’m Having Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Here’s What I Want to Tell You…
Tuesday morning, Roger and I will be at the hospital at 5:30 AM and I will be going in for the gastric sleeve surgery. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the Wikipedia page.)
While I’m a little nervous about the surgery, I’m mostly excited. (I liken it to when I had babies – excited about how my life is going to change, but also appreciating that I have no idea of all the ways it’s going to change.) But the thing I’ve been most nervous about? Telling people.
There is a lot of shame that comes with having a weight problem, (and for those of you who don’t have a weight issue, I know there are other areas that can land you in that shame place just as quickly) and while I’m not on the cover of People magazine, I do have a lot of friends and followers that I wanted to let know in some way. It feels a little weird putting it out on the internet for the world to see, but I would hate it even more if anyone thought I was trying to hide what I’m going through. Because for me, this weight thing is the biggest thing in my life.
I’ve always watched those shows like “Biggest Loser” or any talk show with someone who has lost weight as they’ve talked about how miserable their lives were before they lost weight, and how magical and fairy dust-covered their lives were after losing the weight, and here’s the thing: I could never relate.
Yes, I’ve had hard times in my life. I’ve gone through a painful divorce and been rejected by people I love, but one thing has remained true: I love my life. I love the God who loves me back. I have joy that not weight or circumstances can take away from me. On top of all that, I have a husband who adores me, a family that not only loves me, but likes me a whole lot of the time, friends that love and accept me, and the best dang job on planet earth.
I’m not having this surgery to change my life. I’m having this surgery so I can keep showing up for the life I already have.
Right now I’m in good health. (The intake nurse told me this morning that I was the easiest intake she’d had all month because I don’t have complications.) But I know what is shortly waiting for me around the corner: I already have high blood pressure, and I have a family history of diabetes, cancer, stroke and more. It’s possible that losing weight can help me avoid some of that. I want to have the surgery while I’m still a great candidate to do so.
This has been a lifelong struggle. When the nurses ask me when my weight problem started, I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when it hasn’t been an issue. And I’ve lost weight before. Two times I’ve lost more than 65 pounds, and 20 pounds a dozen times over. But I’ve always put the weight back on just as soon as any other struggle has come up in my life. And after a while, I had failed so many times that it was easier to give up than it is to fight my way back.
But whenever I would give up, sooner or later there was something that lurked inside of me that said, “Don’t give up. Keep fighting for your health.”
I’ll be honest. Ten years ago when I heard that people had weight loss surgery, I thought to myself, “Well that’s cheating. That’s not really how you’re supposed to do it.” Now ten years later, I think that people who say, “I’ve tried everything I know how to do, and now I’m trying one more thing, surgery” those are some brave people. It took me ten years to get to the point to stop giving up on myself and start speaking up and saying that I need help.
I was afraid to tell many of the people I love about the surgery, since I thought they would have a similar reaction. “That’s cheating.” or “I’m just going to pray that you don’t have to have the surgery.” I was especially afraid to tell people who I know had lost weight “The right way.” They were Weight Watcher leaders, and one friend founded an international weight loss program. And I was terrified to tell them.
Boy, did I need to have more faith in my friends.
Every person I respect, without exception, has expressed nothing but love and support for this decision. My friends who have done it “the right way” have been over the moon for me and have loved and supported me every step of the way.
This decision for surgery has come after a lot of discussion, soul-searching and support. I’ve consulted with my primary physician, a gastroenterologist, my psychologist, and a nutritionist and have even talked it over with my pastor. But most importantly, it has come after a lot of prayer. I now have the confidence that this is the right decision for me. It took me a long time to get there.
God has brought me through a huge learning curve about myself and his love for me, and people’s love for me. To those of you who’ve known and encouraged us, thank you for your unconditional love and support. I am grateful and I feel powerful because I know that I have so many people who love and are praying for me and Roger.
If this is something you are struggling with, I pray that your path would be made clear to you, whatever that might be. If you know someone who is struggling, I hope this may give you some insight into what they are going through.
Oh and one final thought: if you have some objection to the path I’m going down, please let love and support be your guide (in other words, Roger may delete any comment that isn’t helpful or constructive before it shows up on the blog!).
With great anticipation about what God is going to do,
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.