Adding to Basket...
Please wait while we process your order...
Do you want to proceed to the Carol's Daughter shopping basket?
Fast forward to 2009: After years of yo-yo dieting, strange fasts, two children and building a company, I found myself more overweight than when I was in my teens and not as healthy as I should be. But when I went to the doctor for a checkup, I was actually feeling really good about myself. It was post-holidays and I had still managed to lose 15 pounds. I had been working out and trying to do a better job of eating correctly. My doctor, who is the bluntest, most frank woman on the planet, asked, “Have you ever thought about having weight loss surgery?” I was mortified, pissed, hurt … everything. I asked her, “Why? I have lost 15 pounds! Why do think I need to do something so extreme?”
Like many of you, I thought that weight loss surgery was for desperate people—people who just did not have enough discipline to diet the “regular” way. I did not want to be that person and I resented her for lumping me into that category. She then began to explain herself. She explained that while I had made some progress I had so far to go to be healthy. At the time, I was 46, about to turn 47 in May and she said, “The older you get, the harder it gets.”
The doctor pointed out that I was doing well at the moment, but if life intervened and took me on the road or had me working too much to fit in the proper amount of exercise, I could fall off and have to start over again. I listened. Then she added that weight loss surgery takes a lot of discipline to be successful and that I had that discipline. This would speed up the process. It may lower my cholesterol, get my blood pressure under control and make me a healthier person who could live a longer life. I listened. She gave me the referrals and phone numbers to one of the best doctors in the city, who accepted my insurance and told me to think about it. And I did.
I got into a taxi after I left her office and I let the tears flow. I was embarrassed and upset. How did I let myself get like this? I felt like a failure and out of control, and then my inner voice said, “Forget your doctor's delivery. Listen to what she said.” I then began to think, what if I did all of the work I am doing now to maintain a body and maintain health versus trying to lose weight to get there? I was proud of my 15 pounds, but it was a drop in the bucket. To be healthier, I needed to lose a lot more. I took out my cell phone and called the surgeon's office.
Thus, my journey began.
The process of having weight loss surgery is far more complex and involved than I realized. I had two people in my family who had had bariatric surgery, but like me, you feel the need to keep it private because perhaps people will judge and not understand.
So I did not learn much about the process from them. When I called the doctor's office, I found out that you have to go to a class first to learn about the procedures they offer and if you are still interested, you can schedule your first appointment with the surgeon. This class was so eye-opening! I learned the differences between lap band surgery and gastric bypass, as well as a few other options that are performed less often. I learned that gastric bypass has quicker results and larger amounts of weight lost faster, but both lap band and gastric bypass had similar results when patients were visited five years out. I left that class on board and ready to learn more.
I called my cousins and talked to them about their procedures. I went online and read everything I could. I sat down with my schedule and figured out the best time to do it and have time to heal before I had to hit the road again. I decided on my birthday, May 18. I wanted to emerge a new woman, reborn. Mind you, I still had to get insurance clearance, be cleared physically by my doctor for surgery, undergo a psychiatric evaluation and abdominal sonogram, attend at least two support groups, and the surgeon actually decides when and if you get surgery once all of the above are done. I did not have time for that. I had a small window of time to heal and May 18 was my date. The doctor would just have to comply.
I went for my first appointment with my doctor and I walked in pretty certain that he was going to suggest gastric bypass. Here's the difference: Gastric bypass is a permanent alteration to the size of your stomach; lap band is when a band is installed around your stomach, making it smaller. This band is attached to a port that allows the doctor to insert or remove a saline solution, causing the band to tighten and/or loosen around the stomach. Those with gastric bypass lose weight more quickly and larger amounts because of how the body subsequently processes sugar, post op, and because the stomach is altered to a smaller size immediately and can only hold small amounts of food. Those with a lap band lose less, can lose more but usually with more exercise than those with gastric bypass. But all have the best long-term results when they eat properly and exercise. Discipline is required for success. It’s the quick fix that many think it is.
My doctor surprised me when he said he felt lap band was my best option. He felt that I had the discipline required to succeed. He also felt that given I am on television and somewhat in the public eye that my loss would be gradual and not too sudden. I was relieved because I was a bit nervous about a permanent alteration to my stomach, and it made me feel better to now have a definitive plan. I won the doctor over to my plan of having my surgery in May; I just had to promise to get my checklist completed in short order.
Due to his schedule, he wasn't able to accommodate my May 18 request, so, I celebrated my birthday on May 20th, with a cupcake that I had to have before 7 pm that day because I checked into the hospital on the morning of May 21 with my husband holding my hand. I was frightened and excited all at the same time, and while this may not be the right choice for many, it was the best birthday present I ever had.
Lisa M. Price