For most of my life I have been overweight. It was never a gross weight problem and I have always been able to remain active. I did things such as martial arts and ran the NYC marathon 4 times.
When I reached about 43 years old I found it much more difficult to remain active and began to notice changes in me physically. As I stated earlier I was always slightly overweight and this caused physical problems with my blood pressure and triglycerides. These issues were managed with medication.
When I was approaching my mid forties I experienced a life changing event. I had a heart arrhythmia (Atrial Fibrillation) which caused my heart to flutter. This put me in the hospital for 4 days and they discovered that I was diabetic. Diabetes has been in my family for many generations from my Grandfather down to my brother. As time went on I found that my weight kept rising and whatever I did to keep it down didn’t work. I tried Nutri-system and weight watchers, neither worked for the long term.
As time passed it became more difficult to do the activities I used to do, and even more disturbing were the day to day activities that became more difficult, such as tying my shoes. As I bent over to do this simple task, I would get out of breath.
I also saw drastic increases in medications. I was taking oral diabetic medication as well as insulin. I was on 2 high blood pressure medications, a diuretic medication, and medication for acid reflux. I also developed hypo-thyroid and needed medication for that. I found myself taking 12 oral medications and insulin with no end in sight. I also ballooned up to 306 pounds.
Clothing wasn’t fitting and I found myself getting out of breath with the simplest of tasks. Upon consulting with my Cardiologist he recommended gastric banding. Initially, I was shocked at the thought. He told me if I did this I would be off all my medications in a year, and that I would lose up to 100 pounds. I haven’t weight 210 pounds since I was 30 years old. I did my research and found the surgery to be not as invasive as I thought it would be. I then reached out to a friend of mine who recommended Dr. Borao who is the surgeon who did my gastric banding and works at the same hospital as my friend.
The surgery occurred on March 22, 2010 and I went home that evening. I will tell you that it was not the most pleasurable experience at the outset. I was uncomfortable the first day or two after the surgery, but it wasn’t unbearable. I walked 3 miles with my wife on day two and this helped a lot with getting rid of the gas used during the surgery. I found myself not very hungry and had to force myself to eat the clear fluids I was directed to eat for the first week. The directions stated to take 45 minutes to ingest 3 oz of broth. This took 90 minutes minimum to do.
After ten days I went to Dr. Borao’s office for a post op visit and found I had lost 25 pounds. This amazed me and of course encouraged me to do better and strive for more weight loss.
After this initial weight loss everything slowed down. The professionals at the weight loss center tell you that the goal is one to two pounds a week on average. You will find this to be true and don’t get discouraged as you go. I would find that I would lose weight right after a fill (which is when they put fluid into the band and tighten it to cause you to lose more weight) and then things would settle down and I would maintain my weight.
I also found exercise was much easier. I started out riding a stationary bike fifteen minutes a day and have worked myself up to fifty minutes a day. I have also included weight training into my regiment and now include sit-ups regularly.
It is now just over 13 months since my surgery. I now weigh 226 pounds having lost 80 pounds to date. I can tie my shoes without losing my breath and feel much better physically and emotionally. Everyone I see comments on how good I look and this just helps build my self esteem.
I can’t say enough good things about his surgery, as it has changed my life, and will definitely allow me to live longer and healthier. Oh by the way, I am no longer on insulin. I am down to 3 and ½ pills a day and control my diabetes with a pill that I take once a day. I am waiting for my next visit with my cardiologist, who I anticipate will finally take me off my blood pressure medication. I have not been off blood pressure medication since I was 30 years old (22 years ago).
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