Tuesday, December 15, 2015

5 Stages

You know that old saying "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?" That's been me the past few weeks. Here is a quick timeline:

  • August - I started getting vertigo. I (and the doctor) thought it was related to tight neck muscles.
  • Mid-September - the headaches started. Again, the doctor thought it was muscle tension. It gave me a whole new appreciation for chronic headache sufferers. Honestly, it was a horrible time.
  • October 7 - I finally had my Lap Band checked and it had slipped. They immediately took out all the fluid. The headaches and vertigo went away within 24 hours. However within a few days, my old nemesis, GERD, made an explosive appearance.
  • October 14 - I went to a doctor that specialized in bariatric and abdominal surgeries. My GERD was eating me alive and my pre-band hunger had returned. I had forgotten how overwhelming that was. The doctor ordered an EGD along with some other testing.
  • November 16 - I had my follow up appointment with the doctor. My diagnosis:
    • Lap Band slip (no erosion, thank goodness!)
    • Hernia (that was new, I didn't have one when I got my band)
    • Loose esophageal sphincter. Wha?
The last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster. I don't think I realized at the time, but once I found out I was losing my lap band, I started grieving. I'm not even remotely comparing the depth of emotion to that of losing a loved one. But I did go through the stages.


During the first couple months of issues, I didn't even want to contemplate that it was my band. Looking back, there were signs, but I didn't want to believe that was an issue. I did not want to face the consequences of what that might mean.

After finding out that my issues were indeed stemming from my band, my initial reaction internally was that it's fine. I changed my life enough that I didn't need it anymore. It's fine.

Those words? "It's fine." I do that a lot. I say "It's fine" until it is fine. Fake until you make it, right?


When the swelling went away after the fluid was taken out of my band, the hunger returned. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I forgot how painful it was. I've experienced normal hunger over the last several years. What I experienced before banding and now? Not normal. It is awful.

Pair that with the hellacious acid reflux that only really feels better when I'm physically eating? It is a recipe for disaster. Damn right I was angry. I had worked my ass off (almost literally!) for years now to get to and maintain a reasonable weight. I wasn't skinny, but I was strong, fit and healthy. I had eaten well, better than most people I know by a mile. I worked out A LOT! And my working out was hardcore. It is just crap that I work this hard to get this far and now I'm headed straight back to zero.


The website says that guilt is often bargainings companion. "If only." If only, if only, if only. If only I would have eaten differently. If only I had lost more weight. If only I was different. If only I didn't have this @#$%%^& reflux.


But I do. I do have this reflux and this hunger. And I have gained 5 pounds on the scale but I know that it is much more than that in reality. I've lost a lot of muscle and my clothes don't fit. I'm the biggest I have been since July 2010 and it makes me really f$#@king sad.


I'm a different person than I was six years ago. I remember when I first decided to have WLS. I was so sad, so anxious, so lonely inside. I'm not anymore. In fact, my life is awesome in every single way. Except for this. The doctor has told me that I can have a surgery that will take away my acid reflux, fix my hernia and help me lose weight in the process. They told me that weeks and weeks ago. But because that corrective surgery is called Gastric Bypass, I couldn't really accept it.

I can't honestly tell you if I would move forward with the surgery if it was only for weight loss. I would like to think I'm strong enough to ignore the societal judgements of it. Because honestly, that would be all that would hold me back.

But the fact is, the only way to avoid taking 80mg (yes 80!) of PPI per day is to have this surgically fixed. (For the record, all of that PPI plus a Pepcid at night when I go to bed, and I still have GERD symtoms. It is crazypants. I choke a lot, classic symptom. I feel butterflies in my chest, classic symptoms. Recently, it has felt like a caterpillar crawling up the back of my throat, that's a new one. And disgusting, I might add.) If I don't have this fixed, I'm almost certainly looking at cancer down the road. At a minimum, there will be long term effects from the PPI. So, to me it is a no brainer. It must and will be done.


I'm adding another stage. Now that I have accepted my future, I'm ready to move forward. Now I'm just waiting on insurance to make a decision. Honestly, I can't imagine how they wouldn't cover this. I have a bariatric exception with my insurance, but the treatment is actually for the reflux. Either way, we can't proceed until we hear from them. Tomorrow will be 30 days from the day I told the doctor's office to proceed. Sigh.

I'm leaving for the holidays on Thursday. I'm going to meet my parents and then go on a cruise with them and my brother's family. It is going to be so fun and I will not let a few extra pounds define me or my attitude. I can't wait!

It would be nice to have all of this done and scheduled so I could enjoy my holidays without it on my mind. But all things considered, it's no big deal. Things will happen when they happen. There is peace in my heart and a smile on my face.

I'm ready to feel better and face anything that life has to throw at me. One day at time.



Lori said...

YIKES! I am so sorry you are going through that. I saw a few comparisons with my hip replacement surgery. I was definitely going through those stages. (Hopefully that means wer are both normal!) As much as I wanted to have surgery on my terms, meaning January, I'm glad it is over now. And in January, I will be able to do things and move like I haven't in a long time. I'm sure once you are over the surgical hurdle you'll feel the same way. I'll keep a good thought for you.

Jen said...

UGH is all I can say. I'm so sorry.
I'm hoping you get the approval soon and it can be scheduled and done with. and you can move on with your happy fun life!
maybe we will be surgery day buddies! I'm scheduled (finally) for my sleeve on 1/18. I put it off forever b/c I just wasn't ready to accept that I needed it. but, it's time.
sending you love and hugs my friend.

Amy W. said...

Great post. So let me ask you this. If you didn't have a band, and had the reflux, is gastric bypass a solution used for relux? I didn't know that. With that said, I can imagine the decision was a tough one for all the reasons you described. It would be so hard for me. But if the bypass will cure the reflux, then why would you choose otherwise? Stay informed and keep blogging. xoxox

Amanda Kiska said...

I have had reflux issues in the past and I know how awful it can be. I'm sorry you're going through this.

I also had band issues last year that required insurance BS and surgery. It was really difficult.

Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful trip.

Darlin1 said...

You are in my thoughts Beth! Please keep us informed!