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Yes, I’m still alive

And not only alive, but doing well. I know one of the things people want to know most about is one’s experience in the hospital and immediately thereafter, so I’ve been trying to keep the details in my head as fresh as possible. I’m way past due for an update and I don’t want to put anything off longer lest I forget something, so let’s get this show on the road, shall we?

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Approaching the Starting Gate

Just a little over two weeks to go. I’ve kind been in this low level state of panic for about a week now which just seems to get worse the more I let myself think about things. I haven’t changed my mind, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my doubts. It’s a scary thing to undertake, one that I don’t think I could ever really approach with the blind enthusiasm I’ve seen in others.

And I realize it is just a starting point. It will change my body so radically in so many ways that it will always be a dividing point in my life: life before and life after. Life before I’m used to. I’ve had 30-odd years to get used to it. It’s not pleasant most of the time, and I’m not exactly all that happy with it, but it’s… familiar. Life after holds a lot of potential for great things. And just as much for bad. It’s that uncertainty, that complete relinquishment of control for some shadowy unknown that so frightens me. It’s always frightened me.

My response, also nothing new, has been to retreat within myself. Retreat not only from the people who have been in my life before I made this decision, but from the support system I found afterward. And that I worry may be a risky move on my part. But sometimes I simply do better handling things on my own, no matter how lonely it makes me (which probably make no sense at all, but there it is).

A profound moment

Wednesday night I had my first ever hypnotherapy session. I thought I would look into other therapeutic methods to try and address my eating disorders. It was only one session, and I don’t know how much impact it had in changing my habits, but it was a remarkable experience just the same.

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One hell of an update

So! It’s been a while since I’ve posted and whoa, nelly have there been some changes.

According to my previous posts, you would probably expect me to have had surgery by now. But you would be wrong. It’s a long story so make sure you’re comfortable.

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Moving along

All of my hospital tests (abdominal ultrasound, EKG, arterial blood gas, and chest xray) are now done. I’ve had my initial consult with the nutritionist as well. All that’s left is some blood work, two more visits with the nutritionist, my psychical therapy exercise consult, the psych evaluation, and my visit with the surgeon and they’re all scheduled. Things are moving along nicely. Once I have my visit with the surgeon, they’ll submit all my paperwork to the insurance company for approval. Fingers crossed until then!

And so it begins

I had my intake appointment today with the nurse coordinator for the bariatric center I plan to have my surgery with. Some further appointments were made, including one with my surgeon on November 30th. It seems like both a long way off and scarily soon at the same time. All of these preparations are just cementing in my head the fact that I really am doing this and I can’t help but feel excited, anxious, and afraid.

I’m looking forward to living without so much extra weight, but there’s also the fear that goes along with having surgery (as this will be my first) along with the fear of failure afterwards. Whoever thinks WLS is the easy way out is obviously off their rocker. There is so much involved in making sure to maintain the dietary plans established for you after surgery as well as making the necessary adjustments to life with a much smaller stomach. I’m not gonna lie; I’ve always tended towards laziness. But I know if I want to be successful at this I’m going to have to put in the effort.

But first I need to start making changes with my relationship with food. Tonight I drove all the way to NJ to go to a restaurant I used to frequent. There was a particularly item I had been craving recently and it was pretty much a way for me to say good-bye to it. I think changing the way I react and respond to food will be one of the most challenging aspects of this new life. It’s hard when you’ve relied on something so much for pretty much all of your life to fill a variety of roles such as boredom reliever, stress release, comfort giver, and celebrant. I’ll need to find new ways to accommodate those needs. I only hope I can do so.

What a “New Me” means

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this surgery, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. I mean this is the sort of thing that demands a great deal of thought. At least, it should. But I’ve been thinking about the process as a whole and how I expect to be changed by it.

I obviously expect to lose weight. But there’s more to it than that for me. I’m also hoping to develop more normal, healthy eating patterns. But I’ve been wondering how all this will change me as a person. I’m not expecting to be the same person I am now, but I’m hoping that any changes that come are for the better. I hope that what my friends like about me remains but what I don’t like about myself will driven away.

I’m assuming that my body image issues will improve after I’ve lost weight, so I can only wonder whether the qualities I associate as being inherently me will also be lost, because they might be connected to those issues that plague me now. Will I still be the same quiet, asocial introvert that prefers to keep to the shadows while she observes the world. Will having a new body make me more comfortable in putting myself out there?

Now that I’ve decided to have surgery, I still have a few decisions facing me.

I have Aetna and they will supposedly cover my surgery 100% as long as I meet the criteria. The problem is, I’m worried I’ll get denied because I don’t have the adequate weight history, which means I would have to put off the surgery until the summer of next year.

The problem with that is that I’m a temp and don’t know if I’ll even have the same insurance by that time. In which case I waited for nothing.

What I could do instead is apply for financing and get the surgery done in Mexico. In which case I would try to get it done sometime before Christmas or just after New Year’s.

What I’m having trouble deciding is if it’s better to go through the three month hoop jumping to see if I can get approved with my current weight history at the risk of getting denied, just put it off altogether and hope I have the same insurance next summer, or proceed with trying to get it done in Mexico, and even there should I try for December/January (when I’ll have a break from school) or use it as a last resort if next summer doesn’t pan out.

I think what I’m having most difficulty is with the idea of waiting nearly another year when I’ve already made up my mind. I kind of want to just get it over with, you know? But maybe waiting that long would actually be a good thing as it would give me tons of time to prepare.

But I think what I’ll end up doing is see how far I can go with the three month program at my local bariatric unit before deciding to get surgery out of the country. Which most likely will mean a January surgery date for me either way.

It’s official

I’ve made the decision and have come to the conclusion that I definitely want to have weight loss surgery. Although my initial interest was piqued when I saw my current insurance covers bariatric surgery, I’ve realized now that I will most likely get denied and will have to find a way to pay on my own. But at this point I’m dedicated enough to this that I’m willing to do what it takes. The surgery I’ve decided on is called a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.

This was not an easy decision for me to make. I’ve struggled with body image practically since I can remember. It’s only been relatively recently that I learned about body/size/fat acceptance. And I welcomed it as a refreshing change to the voice of criticism that I always hear in my head. However I knew deep down I could never truly embrace such acceptance for myself. Not as I am now. I believe in Healthy At Every Size and know that it does work for many people who identify as fat, however I knew it would not work for me. Having an eating disorder puts a totally unhealthy spin on my relationship with food and I know that living a healthy lifestyle is not something I can manage without significant help.

I believe that WLS will provide me with a means to make those healthy changes. Ongoing therapy is another tool. I know not everyone will support my decision in this, but I hope everyone at least respects that it is my body and ultimately my decision to make.