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A Little Background



FYI, this is a cross-post from the 'Introduce Yourself' forum.  I'll be adding another update afterward.

Good Morning from Kentucky.

I'm a 32 year old male from the Greater Cincinnati area and have taken the first few steps towards Gastric Sleeve surgery.  I've done a lot of homework and studying on this and for years I have said, "No, this is the easy way out.  No, if your family found out they would laugh about it (specifically my dad's side).  No, I've lost 100+ on my own before, I can do it again."  A recent new patient visit to my now PCP resulted in a discussion regarding weight loss.  I told him of my previous achievements and all of my failures, and he suggested Gastric Sleeve surgery.  I still was not considering this type of surgery and had primarily wanted to request medical anorexants.  Doc insisted that I at least start down the path of Gastric Sleeve and that if I wanted to turn back I could at any time.  Since then I've achieved a few milestones and am well on my way.

A little backstory: I was always a chubby kid.  My heart bled for years because I was teased about my weight from around the first grade on.  Still, I played sports and was a generally happy kid.  I was able to make friends, but, as young kids do, friends could become mean in the flick of the switch when presented with an opportunity to climb the social ladder by stepping on the fat kid's back.  By sixth grade I had made a few life-long friends which really stabilized me, and though I was fat my friends weren't.  I blossomed socially and, though very obnoxious (third generation class clown, and earned it), I had friends across all high school political strata.  I still received my share of hazing but I embraced it and owned it and would self-deprecate in order to shield myself from the stigma.

I played sports my whole life.  I played baseball for 16 years, football for 10, soccer for 2.  I was co-captain of my football team and I was the first person in 20 years to reach the 1,200 lbs. club in three lifts (bench, squat and powerclean).  I jogged a mile a day and had practices weekly through the summer and fall, and weighttraining through the winter and spring, with conditioning in the summer.  Still, I was heavy.  Through high school I weighed around 270 - 280 lbs.  My parents only filled the house with garbage and I had no understanding of nutrition at all.  I didn't realize the calories from Coke had an impact on my weight until I was a Sophomore in college.  I ate for comfort, but all of my conditioning managed to keep me maintained at the above stated weight.

Then the sports ended.  And I ballooned up.  I never weighed myself through this time of my life, but looking at pictures and comparing myself then to myself now, I'd imagine I gained about 100 - 120 lbs.  I figure I had to be around 400 lbs before I graduated high school.  Football season ended in the winter and before the summer I had gained a large amount of weight.  I wore 4X shirts and wore between 44-46 waist (around my hips, not actually around my waist).  I had maintained a relationship through high school and by my sophomore year it had ended.  I was now living 2 hours away from home and my friends, going to school at a college in Greater Cincinnati.  I managed to make new friends in college, but I was big and getting bigger.  My roommate advised me one evening, after observing, that I was drinking about 1,000 - 1,500 calories a day in regular coke.  I cut the regular coke out and the weight fell off.  I went from around 400 lbs to around 225, which was the lightest I had been since middle school. 

Finally, I was able to shop at normal clothing stores and buy stylish clothes that would fit me.  I always HATED shopping for clothes.  I wore the same clothes in college that I was wearing in high school, if they would fit.  One of my female friends had given me an XL Tool band tshirt.  I still remember the day I put it on.  I was so happy.  I couldn't remember the last time I had worn anything below a XXL.  I was HAPPY with XXL, but ecstatic with XL.

Then I got married and got comfortable, and I regained most of my weight back.  The marriage went south because of my weight gain and we ended up getting a divorce.  It wasn't long after my divorced I met the woman who would eventually become my wife and best friend and the mother of my only child.  She has patched so many emotional holes in my soul and with the birth of our daughter, I have become determined to change myself and my life. 

Since my visit with my PCP in late January, I have successfully quit smoking.  This was something I never thought I would do, but my doctor told me that he wouldn't be able to help me with surgery if I didn't stop smoking.  I vowed, for my wife and daughter, that I would quit.  I have met with my surgeon and began going to appointments at St. Elizabeth's Weight Management Center in Florence, KY.  Last week, I lost an uncle to what we are almost certain is an obesity related heart attack.  My uncle and I were so alike.  He was a chain smoking, morbidly obese truck driver with a heart of absolute gold.  After being a Pallbearer at his funeral, have again redoubled my efforts and my commitment to follow through with this.

I'd like to say that I'm doing this for myself, and that I'm excited about being able to wear normal clothes and be excited to be in pictures again, and to play sports again (I have bought a pair of ice skates and hockey equipment, but I can't skate because my legs and feet ache from how much weight and strain they're under).  But honestly, I'm doing it as much for my daughter and wife as anything.

At any rate, that's my current story.  Right now I'm monitoring what I eat and trying to learn that I don't resort to food when I have a cigarette craving.  I'm very scared but very excited about the Gastric Sleeve Surgery and I can't wait to see where I am a year from now.  My insurance stated that I could have surgery in 3 months, but I had to be 6 months smoke free, so I'm not sure if my doctors will fudge the numbers on my smoking or if I'll actually be waiting until July for the surgery, but either way, I'm focused!  :) 

Also, on top of the new clothes reward, we are currently saving for my dream car, and upon reaching my goal weight, I'll be buying it!  So I have all the incentive.  I just wish I could have surgery tomorrow.

Sorry for the lengthy post.  I look forward to sharing my journey with you all.  Today makes a month smoke free for me.  :)


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