Today is my last day of the three-week pre-op liquid diet and I can't believe how fast that time has gone by! One of the things that helped was the discovery of powdered peanut butter! Low in fat, high in protein, low in sugar, high in flavour....a perfect addition to a protein drink for an added boost of flavour! I started with PB2 (Amazon and Costco) but am switching to PB & Me as it has no added sugar or salt! I'm not really done with the liquid diet though - tomorrow is my surgery and then I will be on more liquids (a larger variety thankfully) for another two weeks as my staple line heals. Then I get to have pureed foods for another two weeks. I'm dreaming of pureed avocado and a soft poached egg!
I've been fielding a lot of questions about the surgery that I'm going to be having. FYI: As an educator I love to answer questions so don't be shy about asking them but please try to phrase them in a non-judgemental way! There are a ton of misconceptions about the surgery (the first being that it is an easy way out) and what the different surgeries are (each with its own issues), and why people do it. I'm fortunate enough to have not only two friends who have had the surgery but also a few medical doctors (versus all us PhDs) who can provide some insight and blunt answers. For those wishing a little info here goes (remember: I'm a PhD not an MD!)
I have chosen to have the vertical gastric sleeve which is essentially the removal of the majority of my stomach (see image from Mayo Clinic below). This really restricts the amount of calories that I will be able to consume at any one time, so combined with behaviour modifications about WHAT I'm eating, it should result in weight loss and weight loss maintenance. It's not fool proof - I can screw it up by continuing to overeat (which will be painful) and by eating the wrong foods (e.g., carbonated beverages which can cause my 'new' stomach to stretch). There are very few limitations on what I can eat once healed; however, I will be taking a vitamin regime for the rest of my life as I won't be able to eat enough food to get it all in naturally. For those who know me well...the prenatal vitamins are due to the surgery and not on my stance towards having kids! The main advantage of this surgery versus the Roux-en-Y Bypass, that requires 'replumbing', is that I should not have malabsorption issues.
If you would like more detailed info you can check out either the Mayo Clinic Q & A page or Island Health Bariatric Programs.
As I mentally prepare for tomorrow I am finding the I am really reflecting on all the self-deprecating jokes that I have told about weight over the years. Remembering all the experiences that I stood on the sidelines for (I wasn't sure the equipment would hold my weight) or the embarrassment that I felt when having to ask for a seat-belt extender on a plane. I find myself being much more sensitive to those around me who are on their own weight journey. I'm also more willing to challenge those who aren't. An acquaintance recently posted an image on her facebook page that clearly illustrated how those who are 'normal weight' view those who are seeking treatments that aren't just 'diet and exercise'. I know she didn't mean to offend (I wasn't really offended) but I think I want to live in the footsteps of Hannah Gadsby (Nanette) and stop making myself (and others like me) the butt of the joke. I've decided that the world is mean enough and I don't have to add to it...I also don't have to accept it!
With that I leave you to make the final preparation for surgery. I will have a month leave from work but six-weeks of no lifting, no strenuous exercise :( and a whole new me to figure out! I will continue to document my journey but don't anticipate sharing a ton of photos of my body along the way...unless it fits the story I want to share...because it's not about taking up less space, it's about being healthier in the space that I do occupy!
Who Am I?
There are many different ways to describe myself but for the purposes of this blog...I'm a 45 year old woman who is finally prioritizing her health and wellbeing. I'm also a professor, researcher, and avid traveller but have spent much of my adult life being defined (in whole or part) by my weight.