I was recently asked to send in some answers to someone as part of a feature they are doing on Bariatric surgery..
Posting my replies here:
A brief back ground with basic information about your weight before the surgery, date of procedure, current weight
Before I decided to go for bariatric surgery I weighed in at 127kgs. I had my surgery on 18th April 2016. My current weight is 88 kgs.
1. In what ways did obesity affect your life? If you want to, explain the challenges you experienced; things that you wanted to do but could not\how it affected your married life etc.
Obesity was a silent stone I bore around my neck.
It held me hostage for so long I did not know all the things I was missing. Pain was a constant in my life: my back, my feet were in constant pain.
I would surface into consciousness at times.. when I could not run after my daughter, or dance with her …even though in the past I could do both things.. but I pushed it into the back of my mind because I never thought there was a viable solution.
While my husband accepted me along with my weight, his concern for my weight and what it may do to me long term, became a point of constant conflict between us. It had begun to affect everything, because every single conversation ended up in that discussion..
My extended family was far from supportive. Indeed, I have faced judgement and blatant insults on my face constantly, been talked down to, patronised and humiliated very often. Again, I had grown a thick skin about it but inside it was crushing.
The year before I had my surgery I developed severe allergic rhinitis due to which I could not breathe properly or sleep properly at night. As a result, my health and general energy levels dropped terribly. I had begun to hit rock bottom.
My heart, blood sugar and other major counts were holding up but were on the brink of giving up..
2. What all options did you try to reduce? How did it help, or not help?
I had tried since 2000 to lose weight. Dropping as much as 20 kilos on some efforts, the most frustrating experience was that the weight always came back.
I had tried normal diets, exercising, swimming, naturopathy, yoga: all of the above certainly helped, but they only took me part of the way. And then the slide downwards was inevitable once I got out of the discipline.
Once that happened the whole brigade of ‘concerned’ stakeholders: husband, parents, siblings, friends , would descend, trying to motivate me to ‘return’ to my routine.
And the pattern was exhausting. I was looking for a solution that would be a true solution.
I led an active social life even before my surgery, but I used to be exhausted after going out or a get together, requiring at least a day or two to get over the fatigue of the weekend..
3. Why did you opt for bariatric surgery?
A close family friend of ours had undergone the surgery and had got life altering results. Seeing her pictures on social media, I got in touch with her. She told me her experience and it was reinforced several times over several conversations with her. She asked me to come and meet Dr. Ramen Goel , in order to get his inputs first hand.
The true hook for me was that it was a permanent solution. And speaking to several of the doctors who had been my physicians over the years, the decision was further validated when they said that my weight was at the root of all my problems.
It was a no brainer. On one hand was an option which offered a permanent solution, certain weight loss and freedom from a host of problems. On the other was the fact that I would have to make permanent commitments because it was a permanent and irreversible surgery. Given all that I would gain, the sacrifice was minimal.
My biggest support came from my family: my parents, my daughter and my husband. And very very close behind was my doctor and his excellent team. For the first time I was in an environment that was ‘safe’ for an obese person: people who understood me, my problem and offered me a solution without any judgement. They gave me hope and support. It was like coming home to family.
I took the decision. It was the best decision I took.
4.How has your life changed for better since the procedure and weight loss? (You got involved in newer hobbies that you wanted to pursue; became more social; positive effects on your relationship with your spouse; became more active- Dr Goel mentioned that you also participate in marathons)
My life has changed COMPLETELY after my surgery. As I started dropping weight, I started feeling more energetic.
Weekends no longer needed ‘down time’: I was fine the next morning. I could walk so much more, and do so much more without needing to sit down. I started to spend more active time with my daughter, I started participating in runs. It was a great experience to be able to do something like a 5k run, although I was mostly walking briskly, but not lose my breath and feel great afterwards.
In terms of family, apart from my avid supporters, there was a sense of confusion. I no longer ‘fit’ into expected pigeonholes, I was no longer a ready ‘target’: further, many people did not understand what had happened. Most people thought I had ‘finally’ gone on a diet and solved my problem, and so they asked me my secret. There was a general ‘gushing’ response : but at the root of it was a lack of understanding of any of my transformation. I took it in stride: few people had understood my problem and so very few people would understand how I solved it.
It was much the same in my social circle. Apart from close friends, most people assumed I had gone for some drastic plastic surgery. When asked I mentioned my surgery. But for the most part, I just went with the flow.
Everyone told me I was an inspiration. Such statements have little impact on me. I have spent too long in the wallpaper, and been too rejected for too long to find the appreciation a plus.
It makes me happy to see my family impressed with my added energy, seeing my daughter happy to have me share her interests: simple things like mother -daughter outings are more fun now, because I can do more and share her energy and enthusiasm. My biggest joy is to be able to run with my daughter and dance with her. Seeing her joy in my sharing these moments with her makes it so worth it!!
It makes me happy to see my husband finally ‘respect’ how I have turned my life around. At some level he pushed me to my decision, indirectly. I sometimes wonder if he feels guilty about that. I wish he wouldn’t. His support has meant a lot.
And it makes me happy to see my parents and sister celebrate my liberation and truly rejoice in it. I remember my father once told me that his biggest fear was that he would lose me before time. And now he is happy I am doing all the things he always believed I could do.
I spend a lot of time with children and I can match their energy these days. I am running, painting, exploring theatre..
I am reborn!!