Shadow Of Victory

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

One Year On......




On 4th January 2011 I made a life changing decision....I made the decision to have a Gastric Bypass and began the process of research and costing. The NHS would not help me as I was actually quite "healthy" and had none of the Co-morbidity's such as diabetes or high blood pressure so the only route open to me was to go privately. We had been debt free for over a year and God has been so good to us in the whole realm of finances so we were in the situation where we had funds available to us and both Chris and I felt that the huge cost would be an investment that could make a huge difference to my quality of life and certainly would increase my life expectancy.

I weighed myself on 4th January 2011 and the scales touched 20 stone 9lbs and I was wearing clothes that were size 24/26...my BMI was 52 and I was in the "super morbidly obese category " this was the heaviest I have ever been and I was so depressed....I think I cried for days ! I contacted via the Internet a surgeon and was quickly given an appointment later in January and began the process of appointments that resulted in my surgery being booked for a few weeks later.

For someone like me this in itself was a huge undertaking...I have a real phobia with needles and any kind of medical procedure..I need to lie down when blood samples are required and for things like smear tests I need to take diazepam.!!! I really really really don't do hospitals. The surgeon and staff were excellent and altho I wept a lot at the various appointments I finally went to theatre early on the morning of the 26th Feb. . The stay in hospital was 4 days and a lovely mix of morphine and sleep as well as constant walking up and down the corridor ...dragging my drips / catheter and various attachments with me..

Gastric Bypass surgery is not for the faint hearted and altho it is a keyhole surgery it is still major intervention...my stomach is cut so I have only a small pouch..think goose egg size ...and the rest is stapled off and left in situ....this small pouch is then re-connected to the small intestine..bypassing a few feet of this so that not only can I only eat very small portions but the absorption rate is also slowed down due to minimal intestinal area. It is also non -reversible and is for life. The next few weeks were a gigantic learning curve ...liquids only for 4 weeks...pureed food for next 4 weeks...mashed food for the 4 weeks after that then introducing ordinary food one food group at a time. There are some foods which I cant tolerate and result in illness....nausea or sitting on the loo...so it has been a few months of trial and error. This last 3 months life has begun to revert back to some semblance of normality as I pretty much know what I can and cannot eat and I very definitely know the actual portion size I can cope with....(think very small )

So....one year on what changes have occurred and was it worth it???

Well....I weighed myself this morning and the scales touched on 12 stones 8 lbs...so I have lost just over 8 stones...and my clothes size is approx 14/16 depending on where I buy and what style ....my BMI is 29 and altho I am still in the obese range I am not morbid or super anything.!! I have lost the predicted 70% weight reduction and whilst I was losing a stone per month I have slowed down as expected to approx 5lbs per month and probably will settle round about the 11 stone mark which should give me a BMI in the healthy range and weight classification as normal .

It has been an interesting process for me discovering aspects of myself which have encouraged me but also which I know I still have to work on. It is very true that weight doesn't really affect who we are deep down ...altho it does affect greatly how we function. I am still the same person with the same failings...the same character flaws ....but because I am not labouring under so much unhealthy - ness I am more able to deal with the day to day stuff that comes my way. I have more energy...more joy...more hope...more peace....more determination...more confidence....

So....what are the huge plus points .... the compliments are lovely....altho I do smile when the odd person says..."don't you go wasting away now."....I love shopping for clothes and being cross because the garment I like doesn't come in smaller sizes...what a hoot that is ! I still sometimes change my outfit several times before I go out...but now its because I have a great choice rather than hating how I look. I don't mind getting my photos taken....I can get down on my knees and play with Elisha...I can walk further and quicker than before. I don't have mysterious aches and pains....loads more but wont bore you.

The biggest negative is one which I realised only in this last month...and it surely is a spiritual battle which I may be destined to fight for quite some time. It reminds me of Paul when he wrote about the "thorn in the flesh " that he prayed for God to remove it from him....I have written in past blog entries about "thorns" and about some areas where I am still living in "the shadow of victory" and this particular thorn is still with me ... The desire to eat wrong food....I have never eaten huge amounts of what I call ordinary food..eg..potato..meat..bread etc...my overeating has always been sweet things...chocolate and ice cream and biscuits etc I have been shocked that I still want to eat these even when I know I cant and shouldnt and it could make me ill....Over the festive season I have nibbled away at things like shortbread...chocolate yule log etc and paid the price the following day. The emotions behind the sweet addiction are still there...surgery only dealt with the physical aspect of my over eating not the emotional reasons and I am setting my face towards God in 2012 in the hope that He will enable me to win through.

As friends have asked me how I am losing weight I have been honest and told them...and I have had several conversations with women who have dieted for years...like me dieting is the thing they can do and do well...but maintaining a healthy weight is the difficult part.Several times these conversations have led to tears as they have shared how they are weary of the fight!! I am so aware this is a battle field for many of us and have such empathy for those who are still struggling. It has made me also think about how we as a society view obesity . I truly believe it is an "illness" and I am not using this as a cop out but for me it has never been a simple case of " lose weight"...there are many reasons behind why I was overweight and eating too much is way too simplistic. It is an addiction but unlike other addictions it is portrayed as being easy to overcome....with so many TV programmes dedicated to dieting..so many magazine articles...so many celebrities pushing their latest DVD , We also embrace obesity as part and parcel of life...it is acceptable to offer the overweight person a piece of cake or buy them chocolates...yet we wouldn't dream of offering heroin to a drug addict or a large whisky to an alcoholic. I have no idea how I can change the way we view obesity.....or how I can be of help to others...maybe this is yet another dimension to my life that God has chosen for me to think and pray about.


2 comments:

Geri said...

My mom went to 'Over eaters Anonymous', using the same sort of 12 step program as AA. I don't remember if they considered it an illness but they certainly looked at the reasons behind why people over ate and (i think) called it an addiction. Well done Irene - I am once again encouraged by your honesty as well as your tenacity! xx

an american brit said...

Thanks for the post Irene- for your raw honesty and hopeful belief. You look fantastic, but you are right about the spiritual battle that the flesh wages. I think many people who talk with you will hear the battle but also the hope there is.