As everyone who has ever seen me (or a picture of me) can attest, I am extremely obese. After I wrote my most popular blog post ever, one wiki (which doesn’t seem to be online anymore) linked to my article and credited me only as “a very large man” and it is true, I was and still am quite huge.
What those closer to me know, is I have since January 2011 been working on this problem. I started working on losing some of that excess weight and have made some great progress. As of just last week, I’ve reached an important milestone in this progress and I wanted to finally come clean and share the real numbers with the world.
On Tuesday, January 4, 2011, I went to my first monthly scheduled weigh-in with nutritionist Karen Handy at the Mountain View HMR Office of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. At that weigh-in, I weighed 490.2 lbs, frighteningly close to 500 pounds.
I started working on it hard, changing my diet, tracking calories, joining a gym class, and working out, and it started working. By my May weigh-in, I was down to 453.2 lbs, almost 40 pounds of weight loss in 4 months’ time. I was pretty proud of my progress and vowed to work even harder to keep losing.
Unfortunately, my progress stalled out at that point. At my June weigh-in, I actually gained a few pounds and was up to 457.0 lbs. I kept working and working at it, but for some reason, I was at my first real plateau. In July I had gone down again slightly, to 455.0 lbs but the rapid weight loss seemed to be at an end. It was time for phase 2.
I scheduled a consultation with a Bariatric Surgeon (Doctor John Feng) about having Gastric Sleeve Surgery on July 27, 2011. See while I was doing everything I could to eat healthier foods and exercise more, I was having serious problems with hunger. I would eat what I was supposed to, but it was just not filling me up, so I would eat more (still healthy) food. But too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
There are basically 3 main types of Gastric surgery done commonly today (there are others, but these 3 are the most common and safest). Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, and Gastric Band. Bypass is the one credited with the most weight loss, but also has the biggest impact on your life and has many dangers related to it (as it reroutes part of your small intestine to decrease absorption of nutrients in foods, many people end up severely malnourished after getting Bypass). The band is the most reversible (you put a small tube around the top of the stomach and insert the saline solution into it to squeeze the stomach, tricking the body into thinking the stomach is smaller and killing your hunger) but has the least amount of weight loss success.
I’m going for the middle ground, Gastric Sleeve. With Gastric Sleeve, they cut out a large portion of my stomach leaving a small cylindrical stomach. Most surgeons will make it about the size of a banana (my mother’s surgeon did that for her). My surgeon is a little more aggressive and says it will be about the size of a Magic Marker. With a stomach so small, naturally, I will feel full with far less food (they say I will basically be able to “stomach” about 2-3 ounces of food per meal). This, along with continuing my healthier diet and exercise will help me to return to the rapid progress I had in the beginning.
There was just one wrinkle. The surgeon wanted me to lose some more weight before he would give me the surgery. Specifically, he wanted me to lose an additional 25 pounds before he would be willing to operate on me. As I was 455 lbs at that visit, that set my goal weight (for the next phase) at 430 lbs.
The weight loss continued (more or less) but at a much slower pace than in the beginning. To make matters worse, in September I had a health complication that in October put me in the hospital for a week. I developed a bad (and particularly persistent) case of cellulitis in my left leg which dampened my cardio routine for a couple of months.
I didn’t get close to the goal until my December 2011 weigh-in when I was 433.3 lbs (within striking distance and oh so close). It was also around that time that I finished all of the other checkpoints for having the surgery (blood tests, heart tests, shooting me with x-rays while I sucked down barium, and a psych eval). I was getting excited, it was finally going to happen.
Unfortunately, I guess Christmas hurt me a bit more than expected. My January weigh-in I had gained nearly 10 pounds and was up to an ugly 441 lbs. In the few months that followed I really struggled to try and lose those last 11 pounds.
Last week, on May 23, 2012, I had my latest weigh-in and I was 428.0 lbs a full 2 pounds under the mark for the first time.
In the last week, things are on track once again and appointments have been scheduled.
My pre-op appointment is scheduled for June 12, 2012, and my post-op appointment for August 14, 2012. I don’t yet have the actual date of the surgery, but it will be in there somewhere. I personally am hoping for on or around July 16, 2012 for the date of the surgery.