My Calculated BOOMER Body Tuneup-Lori's Story
Confronting my biggest health risk led to research and a decision to take control of my healthy future. Weight-loss surgery was the answer for me.
Weight-loss surgery was the result of, finally, confronting my biggest health risk
BY LORI ROSS
I’ve never enjoyed playing casino slots because I win or lose based on lady luck or the odds of the house. I love playing cards where on each turn, I take my own calculated risk.
In 2013, I chose to research weight-loss surgeries with an open mind and then calculate the risks versus letting my overweight condition take its course over the remainder of my life.
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION TRUMP IGNORANCE … AND FEAR
Someone I care about was diagnosed with ALS. She and her family moved cross-country to be near a Mayo Clinic for the best diagnostic and health care. Chrystie’s best-case scenario now is: While there is no cure currently, there is help coping with the effects of ALS.
I looked at her spirit and situation and compared it with my own. Through either guilt or shame over continual losing in the diet battle waged since my 40s, I had simply accepted the idea that I would age like all my aunts to whom I bear so much resemblance. If I had Chrystie’s courage and strength, though, I would at least research options of weight-loss surgeries, become educated and assume more control over my life.
So I did. I went to local seminars, had conversations with surgeons and talked with people who had weight-loss surgery.
Originally, the only option I knew of was the “lap band” procedure. But that was not recommended for me. It became clear that, in my case, there would likely be less discomfort and more likelihood of success with a laparoscopic procedure called a bariatric sleeve. As part of the process, I first had to meet with both a nutritionist and a therapist for further introspection and better decision-making.
After educating myself, I knew a 100-percent answer didn’t exist. But I decided the chances of my surgical success and much increased odds of weight loss appealed to me more than the eventual succumbing to my family history of diabetes, coronary disease and lost mobility through my later years.
MY DECISION MAY NOT BE YOURS
So on Dec. 4, 2013, I had surgery.
Six weeks later I’m down 40 pounds.
Things are very different. A common positive effect of this particular surgery is significant loss of cravings – and that is true for me, six weeks later. Still, there are certain things I will never be able to eat or drink again. Carbonated drink bubbles, for instance, will stretch out the stomach, so they are a no-no. Also, my portions are much smaller, but I’m full nonetheless. I will need to take vitamins and calcium every day. Protein and water intake must be measured and minimum levels reached. I need to walk 30 minutes daily and do weight-bearing exercises three times a week.
I was concerned about telling people about my decision, thinking they would be opposed and lovingly tell me to go on a diet the old-fashioned way. Instead, most were incredibly supportive. My husband, John, has been completely on board and I’m incredibly grateful. If a spouse were against this, it would add a great challenge I don’t deal with.
I share this knowing how many people must deal with obesity and its consequences. This is not an endorsement, just something to think about. The choice – or the choice to do nothing – is always yours.
With this issue, we begin a medical series called “The Boomer Body Tuneup” because we now live with the potential to add not just quantity of life, but quality of life. Here’s to your staying educated about yIour way to beat your own health odds.
Contact Lori at Lori@TheBoomerMagazine.com.