I’m going to use this space to try and explain my course of action here. I have tried to lose weight since I was 12 yrs old. I’ve tried every crash diet that was ever thought of with little to no success. I have dieted my way up to 247 lbs. I decided to have weight loss surgery several years ago. I chose the 4 cc Lap-Band. My mom and I both had the band placed at the same time. I know some people have good success with the band and lose weight. But for me, that wasn’t the case. The band is a small ring kind of like a little donut that is placed around the top of your stomach. The expandable ring has a tube attached to it that leads to a port just under your skin. The band is supposed to be tightened up around your stomach causing the amount of food you are able to eat to be less. Your new stomach is about the size of an egg and that is all the food it should hold. Having the band squeezing the stomach tissue is also supposed to help with the constant hunger feeling as well. So you should be less hungry and able to eat less food. Voila’ you’re a super model.
Yeah well that didn’t happen. What did happen was that I had the band placed at 247 lbs in Plano, Texas by Dr. Hottie J who told me that every time I ate just a couple of bites of food, I would feel like I just ate a Thanksgiving dinner. Uh huh…. Well I was pretty excited about this. I had to wait six weeks before I could get my first fill. This is the couple of drops of saline that they inject into your port that makes the little ring tighter around your stomach. My band was one of the first to come out and it only held 4 cc of saline. So the doc put in 1.5 cc of saline (300.00!!!)and told me that we have to take it slow because I needed to adjust to the restriction. I left the office and had a chicken sandwich. I ate the whole thing. I don’t believe I have enough restriction. I didn’t feel anything actually. To be quite honest, I could have eaten another chicken sandwich and maybe some fries too. So I called Dr. Cutie Pie the next day and told him that it didn’t work! He told me to give it some time to settle and then if it’s not enough to come back again and he would put some more back in. I ended up getting another fill about 6 weeks later at another cost of 300.00. This time he put in an additional 0.25 cc of saline. Yes, you read that right. A quarter of a ml. Once again, I left and had a chicken sandwich. This had become my “test” to see if I could eat. I always could.
I ended up spending a ton of money getting one fill after another for a solid year. I never felt restriction. I was just as hungry as I ever was and I could eat anything. The doctor told me I needed to use my willpower. Well, if I had willpower then I wouldn’t have gone under the knife and had this surgery! Ok so that was my thinking back then. I just wanted some help. If I’m starving, I have NO willpower whatsoever. I’m H U N G R Y. If I’m hungry that’s it, I’m miserable and I’m going to eat.
Finally, after about a year or so of going back and forth for my saline fills. I was finally starting to feel some restriction. Only it wasn’t the way that Dr. Yummy described. I did not feel like I had just had a big meal after three bites of food. What had happened instead was that I would have ONE bite of food and grab my throat in the typical “I’m choking!!” Stance and sit there while my mouth filled up with saliva that I could not swallow. I couldn’t talk. So I had to sit there and wait and pray that the food would go down! Sometimes it did and sometimes I had to run to the bathroom. How embarrassing.
I told the doc about this lovely little side effect and he laughed and told me to chew my food better. I was chewing it till my jaws wanted to fall off. It didn’t matter.
For the next few years I fought with my band. For some reason, the band never would work right. It was either so tight that I could not even swallow water or it was so loose that I was starving and could eat anything I wanted to. I tried eating the right foods that they tell you to eat which was mainly protein. I nearly choked to death. I could not hardly get any meat in me. All bread was out but I figured that was a good thing. Unfortunately, I was still always hungry. I can’t diet and make good choices when I’m starving. Maybe it’s just me and people will say that I failed the band. That’s fine with me if they think that. Because I know what happened and I got tired of the fight. I couldn’t even do low carb because I couldn’t get the protein in. Now if it was bad for you, it went right on through. You could eat all the junk food you wanted and the band let you. But try and eat a chunk of chicken and man, you are in for it! What kind of message was that!? Well, I went to the interwebs to try to get some advice from my fellow banders. Some were doing so well! I wanted that too. Was I just non compliant? Some said the band was too tight so I went and had a drop taken out. Now, I could eat anything and I was back to starving. BTW they charged me another 300 for taking fluid out too. It was a DROP maybe 0.2 cc and it made a huge difference. After sooo many fills and unfills, I finally came to realize that the band was just not working for me. It was all or none. I could eat or I couldn’t. Literally. I wanted the weight loss so bad that I chose to leave it tight and not eat. So for four months all I was able to get in me was water, milk, or juice. Even soup was too thick and would cause me to throw it back up. But now we were getting somewhere! I was losing weight like crazy! OMG! Ok so I can’t eat food and I’ve developed some sort of eating disorder in the process but screw it, I’m getting thin! Not healthy mind you…but thinner. I ended up losing 99 lbs. Yeah, didn’t make that 100 lbs like I desperately wanted to do. On the day that I reached that 99 lb mark, the ride was over. One thing that I remember was I didn’t look good. Not like I thought I would. My long hair was getting very thin on top. I had been losing hair for awhile but I kept trying to ignore it. I was also sickly looking. I was wearing smaller clothes and I was happy about that but looking back now I remember thinking I didn’t look very good. What was the answer to that? Lose more weight of course! Then I would work on health. That didn’t happen though. I went to the kitchen to get my glass of milk that I would sip on for several hours to get it down and it was stuck. My first sip of milk and It wouldn’t go down. All the heaving that I had done, had swollen my stomach. I couldn’t drink water or anything!! Ok ok panic. I called the doctor and he was mad. He told me to get in there now. Did I mention, I stayed dizzy all through this?? Anyway, so I rushed up there and you know what Dr. Meany Head did?! He took out all my fluid!!! And then charged me 300 dollars. OMG! Three years I’ve been fighting this band getting tiny amounts of fluid put in over and over until it was finally working and he just took it all! I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. I was hysterical. I left there in tears and then ate a chicken sandwich. That was the first bite of food I had eaten in 5 months. By the end of the second week, I had gained back 19 lbs. That is not a typo. The doctor said I was very dehydrated and it was water weight. While that may be partly true, it wasn’t all true. I continued to gain. I swore that I would not go crazy and eat a ton of food even though I felt very deprived. I didn’t want to gain the weight back. So I kept a food journal and I ate good food. By good food, I mean healthy food. I had protein and I kept my carbs in check. I steadily gained and gained and then gained some more. Finally, Dr. Jackass said I could come back in and we would slowly add more fluid in until I reached a reasonable amount of restriction. This went on for months and months. I was never able to get any more restriction. Come to find out my band had a hole in it. We don’t know how that happened but it had a massive hole. It was broken and so was I. I was given the option to have it replaced or have the gastric bypass. I decided the band was not for me. It may be great for others but I could never get it to work right no matter what we did and it was costing me a great deal of money. So I decided to go with the gastric bypass. I was all set to have it done even though it scares me. I was about two months away from having it done because there were still a couple of tests I had to have first. This is how I found out I have sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and a fatty liver btw. When one day I get a call on the phone. It was my mom. She said she had fallen and wanted me to come over and look at her ankle. Holy smokes mom! It’s broken!!! She was just walking outside to go water her flowers when her leg just snapped. Her leg broke in four places, just from walking!! This is how we found out at 62 years old, she has Osteoporosis. Remember, mom had the lap-band at the same time I did. She fought with it just as much as I did. She ended up losing about 70 lbs and keeping that off. She is still about 200 lbs and can’t seem to get any lower. Even though she barely eats anything. Seems impossible right? It’s not. Her metabolism is just gone. She has gone 8 years with the band now. It’s pretty tight but she wants it that way. She knows that if it is loosened up, she will gain weight. She hates vitamins and supplements so the only nutrition she gets is through the scant amount of food that she eats. It’s not enough. Her body is so screwed up from all this that she can’t lose weight because her metabolism isn’t working right. Her cells and hormones are all in disarray. The poor nutrition has left her bones in really bad shaped. It’s just eaten away at them. So now she has this fight on her hands.
My brother who is a fireman and his wife who is a nurse have been asking me to try these supplements from a company called Advocare. I didn’t want to. I just haven’t been big on vitamins either. I never saw or felt any kind of improvement from them so why bother. Besides they were expensive. Since I started working in the healthcare field, I’ve become more aware of how important supplements really are. Even if you eat the best quality organic foods, you are still not getting what your body needs. Food these days is not what it used to be. The soil is depleted of minerals. Meats are full of hormones and even our fruit is somehow made sweeter. High Fructose corn syrup is in just about everything and that’s just a super sugar that our body doesn’t even know how to handle! I’ll go more into all the reasons why we need to supplement on another page though.
Getting back on track here. Mom has nutritionally starved herself into Osteoporosis. I have gained all my weight back after losing nearly 100 lbs with starving myself using the lap band to do it. And now, I am planning to have gastric bypass surgery by December 2012. This surgery will work in two ways. The first one is that like the band, I will only be able to eat a small amount of food at first. Then the small amount of food that I do eat will not all be absorbed by my body because my intestines will be bypassed. As much as that sounded like a miracle to me at first, I’m now having some major second thoughts concerning my health now that I’m 40 years old. I think mom and I are going to have to do some changes to what we have been doing and change our thinking on what we see as important. If you don’t have your health then what do you have? Up until all this happened, I really just dismissed all the information Ryan (my brother) was trying to tell me about these supplements. He kept on and on wanting me to try them. I sooo didn’t want to! He kept telling me about people he knew at the gym who were taking them and how great they made him feel and blah blah blah. Lol I told him that I wasn’t interested because I was going to have the gastric bypass surgery and that was that. He begged me to please just give it a chance. He asked me to give these supplements a fair shot before I decide to go get another surgery and possibly mess my health up even more. I considered it. Then mom broke her leg and I got scared. Scared about my health for the first time in my life I started to put it all together. Nutrition really is important. I don’t want to get all the diseases that are associated with obesity and I’m headed right there going a mile a minute. So a few days pass and I’m still considering the surgery and maybe trying the pills first…I don’t know…I’m back and forth on it. I decided to do some research on the supplements. I read study after study and all about the different ingredients and what has been shown to work. I read about all the physicians who helped create this line of products. I was blown away by the medical and science board actually. After I satisfied my curiosity on these products, I was prepared to try some. Ryan invited me to a mixer where I was able to meet people who had actually been taking the supplements. I was the biggest person there. Even as humiliating as that was, It was still ok. It was ok because one person after another got up to speak and they showed pictures and told stories of how much weight they had lost and how much better they felt. They were so excited and happy and it brought tears to my eyes. So I signed up. I was told that there was a business side to Advocare too. A way to make quite a bit of extra money working Advocare as a home based business. I make good money in my career so I wasn’t very interested in that part. However, I do want the discount that Advocare offers if you sign up as a distributor so that’s the route I took. Right now, my main focus is to get healthy. I want to feed my body the nutrition that it requires to actually be able to work right. I am not able to lose weight with a sick metabolism that’s for sure. If you want to join me and help support each other, I will be more than happy to help you out as well. Advocare gave me a website for signing up as a distributor so you can read all about it if you are interested. That’s my story so far. Stay tuned to find out how it ends.