Wellness is the Key to a Rich Life: Post Bariatric Surgery the Road Back

Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice.  It’s a decision and commitment you make to yourself.  It’s a long road but worth it.  As I sit this morning and reflect over the past many years of my life and my husband’s life the struggle to be fit and healthy is real.  Over the life of this blog I will take pieces of our past and weave them into our present life.  I feel it’s important to look back and see what progress has been made.  And as I sit here this morning and write and reflect, write and reflect there has been much progress.  There have been a lot of setbacks as well.  Don’t be discouraged by your setbacks.  It’s the setbacks that help you move forward and progress.

The purpose of this blog is to teach and inspire others to never give up on your goals.  No matter how long it takes you can and will achieve them.  We are living proof.  Last Thursday was a new beginning for Kevin (my husband) and myself.  You see, Kevin has been over weight for most of his life.  The only time he was at an ideal body weight was when he first went into the U.S. Air Force.  In order for him to even be accepted in the Air Force he had to lose over 70 lbs. When we married in July 1982 he hovered around 250 to 260 lbs.   At 19 years of age he was active and in good health.   I remember he inquired about joining the Air Force in August of 1982 and he was told he had two months to drop from 250 lbs. to 180 lbs. He spent the next two months eating only salad and liquids.  He dropped the weight relatively quick.  He was a new Kevin.  He looked fantastic.

He did what he had to do in order to enlist in the military. But,he spent many years struggling to maintain 180 lbs. throughout his ten-year career with the Air Force.  His commander threatened to put him in what they called, “The fat boy program” if he didn’t drop the weight.  His highest weight while in the Air Force was about 225 lbs. And that was just not going to fly.  He continued to struggle and opted to get out after ten years because he really wasn’t as motivated to lose the weight or maintain it.  I have seen him get motivated to lose the weight, and he did.  But the maintenance of the weight was a huge battle.  He simply wasn’t ready to let go of his old habits.   As the years went by his weight crept up back and forth like a yoyo.  We tried all sorts of diets, Paleo, Atkins, weight watchers, you name it.  He would lose some weight but was never able to keep it off.  About eight years ago he decided he wanted to get lap band surgery.  Together we went to the free seminar where they attempted to sell us lap band surgery.  It was a good seminar, learned a lot of techniques to losing weight on our own. We decided against lap band and so glad we did.  Lap band in the past few years has not been a viable option for some people.  Some lost some weight but never actually reached their goals, plus they were sick all the time.    So, we went home and implemented all the great diet and techniques they taught us.  One was the 30/30 rule, which is no drinking anything before meals and waiting 30 minutes after meals.  This worked great.  He dropped about 40 lbs.  He again looked fantastic.

Fast forward about a year and the weight gain came back.  At this point he was frustrated. Five years ago we decided to run/walk half marathons.  We were averaging 3-4 half marathons a year since.  We were consistent in our daily training regimen, but not our diet.  At this point I had gained about 20 lbs. myself.  I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  Again, we were not on the road to health.  It wasn’t until  December 22, 2015 when Kevin went in for a simple cat scan to see if there was a hernia that had been bothering him for more than 15 years.  The cat scan came back negative to a hernia, instead they found ‘Fatty deposits” on his liver!  Well, needless to say that was a shock, especially two days before Christmas.  At this point because of his weight he was a full blown diabetic, now with a fatty liver.  He had been feeling more and more tired over the course of several years.  This was the deciding factor to once and for all do something about his weight issues.

The diagnosis of fatty liver disease scared the be jeepers out of him!  And me.  This was the wake up call to finally get to the bottom of the overweight problem.  He did research on weight loss surgery again and found a center for excellence in Sebastian, Florida. We arrived for another weight loss seminar at Sebastian River medical center on February 23rd, 2016.  As we listened to the Doctor speak about obesity, the struggles of the great American diet, and how they can help us we left with a renewed faith that this was going to help.  I was still a little leery.  Gastric Bypass surgery is no walk in the park, nor is it a magic bullet, or a cure all.  However, it’s a tool to help get rid of all the comorbidities Kevin was experiencing and starting a new life style.  He had made up his mind this is what he wanted.

One week later we met with the doctor who would perform the surgery and consulted with him for over one and half hours.  We went over every nook and cranny of how this works and how to maintain it way after surgery.  He answered all our questions and we had work to do before our next appointment and before we could schedule surgery.  There is a psychological assessment, nutritional meeting, and lots of lab work.  Kevin’s goal was to have the surgery the middle of May.  He just wanted this over and done with. He was tired of doctor appointments, failed lab work, and just plain being tired of the weight.  He was more than ready this time.  Since March of 2016 he has lost over 30 lbs. himself before surgery.  If was funny because everyone he encounters said, “You look great!  You don’t qualify for bypass surgery.”  I guess being 250 lbs. is the new normal standard.

The events leading up to the surgery were exciting and stressful all at the same time.  We knew what the goal was. The goal is to reach that 180 lbs. or less ideal body weight and keep it off.  Last Thursday Kevin had his gastric bypass surgery and is doing well.  He was released from the hospital on Saturday with a strict diet.  For the past 3 days we have been on a clear liquid diet.  Today we graduated to a full liquid diet which consists of 2 protein drinks, water, water, water, and he can begin to add no fat milk products.  This morning we walked 3.5 miles and feeling great!  In the coming weeks, months, and years we will be updating this blog for lots of teaching and inspiration.  It’s all a mindset.  You too can live a healthy lifestyle.  Wellness is the key to a rich life.


Posted in Healthy Living.