UNSWEET TEA

  • Alia

So, You're Thinking About Surgery?

I make no assumptions about the readers of this blog, except one: that you're considering Bariatric surgery. Whatever your reasons are, I trust that they are good ones because no one should enter into this lightly.

It's as significant a commitment as deciding to become a parent, because it's forever. Mistakes could claim your life. That's the reality. So, you commit to changing your life forever and dedicating yourself to recovery and to your success.

Tonight, I had a friend contact me and tell me that she was resolved to have the surgery. With a BMI of 43, she would meet the basic requirement without needing comorbities, she shared with one of the motivating factors for her decision, which I will not share here, but it deeply affected me because I know that she was hurt. 


I never went into detail about one of the most hurtful experiences of my last relationship, but I will today. Orlando's birthday is April 23, so it was about a week later that I took him out to celebrate. We went to a Greek restaurant that he wanted to go to called Taziki's. When we got there, he ordered grilled shrimp and I ordered salmon. Because of my hunger, I ordered him extra shrimp, knowing that I was going to want to have some of his food in addition to my own. As we ate, true to form, I had one of his shrimp and a terrifying thing happened: a piece of shrimp got stuck in my throat, specifically, the exoskeleton (It wasn't peeled properly.) Swallowing didn't help, fluids, coughing, wretching, did not help and I began to panic! Right there at the table, I reached into my throat and pulled the shrimp out of my throat. Needless to say, it was embarrassing to have had that happen on a date with him. Like most restaurants, Taziki's offers a desert to you on your birthday. They had a chocolate cake that looked delicious so, though Orlando didn't want the cake, I did. He told me that I "didn't need the cake," and I responded by agreeing with him. I didn't need it, but I did want it. So two bites into the slice of absurdly dry cake (with more coughing,) we left the restaurant.


In the car, we pulled into a new city park, where I thought we would hold hands and he would thank me for the meal and say he appreciated me making him feel special, we instead sat in the car and he began to tell me that he didn't notice all of the weight I had gained until I disobeyed him and ate the cake when he told me not to. I had been asking him to work out with me since he returned from USAF basic training and he always told me no. As I started to cry, self-esteem eviscerated, I tried to rationalize what he said to me, but there is no way to explain that away. He watched as his words made me cry and felt nothing. This man was no longer attracted to me, and when he looked at me, he no longer saw the girl he met and wanted. This was him telling me he didn't want me anymore.


So, fast forward to today. I'd lost over 100 pounds and he and I still didn't make it, which was not what I wanted, but I was prepared for. What I would say to anyone in a relationship that is in jeopardy is this: 

Before you have the psychiatric evaluation that they're going to require, I strongly suggest that you do some soul-searching and ask yourself, "How will I handle it if losing the weight doesn't save my marriage/relationship?" There is a possibility that even losing the weight might not help your marriage, but it will help you. The only thing that I can think to tell you is that you can't want to have the surgery in order to lose weight to save your marriage. You have to want to have the surgery because you want to save your life. I was asked, "How do you go about choosing a surgeon?" For my insurance at the time, (Health Advantage Gold,) I needed to find a "Center of Excellence" surgical center to perform the procedure. So I started there with a quick Google search and found The Surgical Clinic of Central Arkansas (http://arkansasbariatricsurgery.com) in Little Rock, Arkansas. I knew I wanted Baptist Health as the hospital, which narrowed things down more, and from there, I had options regarding who I would choose, but ultimately, I chose my surgeon (Dr. John Fuller) because he had youth on his side. While most people choose their surgeon based on years of experience, and while he is experienced, his youth was an asset because I figured that he would be more educated as to what techniques and methods are used today, and how to combat complications that arose. Some older surgeons settle into a technique and methodology/ideology that works for them and can write off new methods of the day, which can lead to complications; I didn't need that. My advice to her with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas was to "Start by finding a doctor on the BCBS website, call BCBS first thing in the morning and let them know you're interested in the surgery and ask if there is a requirement to sign up or if you simply need to seek a surgeon."