The preparation nets life changes

This photo is kind of random, but it marks one thing I got to do in between the time I announced my intention to get surgery and today. This was in early December.

This photo is kind of random, but it marks one thing I got to do in between the time I announced my intention to get surgery and today. This was in early December. I think I could double as Chris Christie.

In November when I posted here that I was choosing to have weight loss surgery I certainly thought I would have had it by now. The next day my dad went into the hospital and a week later he was gone. I was scheduled to go to my first informational meeting about the surgery the following Wednesday, but we decided to go to Utah as a family for the funeral, which meant I left a day earlier than scheduled, missing that meeting. It was a month before I could go to another one.

As it turns out that didn’t really matter, because the Swedish Medical Center program is pretty thorough in terms of preparation. Added to that is the fact was with the new year coming it didn’t make sense for the hospital to check on insurance until after New Year’s. I’m pre-approved for the surgery, but in addition to taking the four-six weeks it will take to get final approval, I’ve had to get a long list of tests done.

One of those was a sleep test to see if I have sleep apnea. I do. Severe. So now I sleep with a breathing mask that’s attached to a machine that pumps air into my pie hole so I get a good night’s rest. I can tell it works, because I am wide awake when I get up.

And still I’m fatigued.

I found out why today. My thyroid is slow. Just like finding out I had sleep apnea was a relief, so is the thyroid discovery. The CPAP machine that addresses the sleepiness has made a real difference, but I’m hoping this medicine I began taking today will net the same kind of results for the fatigue.

And there is more. This diagnosis helps me confirm my decision to get the surgery. For many years what has been true is that I have benefited from the hardiness of the Gardner stock. My dad fought a lot and his body would have gone a lot longer, but at 82 his body was made vulnerable by several rounds of antibiotics and an infection eventually knocked him out. My grandfather and my Uncle George, though, lived even longer than my dad, and it was cancer that took my Uncle Darrell. Cancer can knock down the strongest of anything.

The reason this thyroid news confirms my decision is because to me it’s the first real sign that my body can only take so much. I have to change things or my body will give up on me, despite the strength of my genes. When I first looked at weight loss surgery I was looking at lap band, motivated in part by the fact that it’s reversible. The doctor persuaded me that lap band would not be the best for me, not because of the reversible nature, but because of all the follow-up visits I would need to make to adjust the band. So I’ll be getting what’s known as a gastric sleeve, which is more similar to the original gastric bypass surgery, but seems to be the better option for me. It’s permanent, too, which in the nearly four months I’ve had to anticipate my surgery has come to seem like a good idea.

For now the only preparation left for me is taking the medicine to address the thyroid problem and working on eating like I will once the surgery is done. That’s been a hard task, and didn’t accomplish it today either. I will get there, because even though I’m taking a different tack than I had planned, because I’m still fat and still fighting, and not quitting and not hiding.

As of now the hope is that I can have the surgery on April 22. That is probably the earliest.