Saturday, October 25, 2014

How I Prepared for Surgery Part 3 - My Soul

The final thing I did to prepare myself for surgery was probably one of the most emotional and religious experiences for me. This is a very tough topic to write about so I will do my best to do so with tact and reverence. This part of preparing for surgery made me look deep into my soul and ask some really tough questions. The last thing I needed to do before surgery was prepare my soul. The hardest question I had to ask myself was what if the worst should happen? How would I handle it?

With surgery there are risks and having a full gastric bypass is no exception. It is a risky procedure and you need to be prepare for any of the complications that arise. How worth it is it to you to be skinny if you could never keep solid food down ever again and had to drink your nutrition? How worth it is being healthy to you if you wound up needing a colostomy bag for the rest of your life? How would you handle it if you woke up in an ICU attached to machines and tubes? What happens if you are in a coma, how long do they wait to pull the plug? WHAT IF I DIE?
All of these questions are really really scary and I wouldn't blame you if you were thinking about calling your surgeon right now to tell them to shove off. Believe me I thought about it. I also thought about all the things I wanted to do and realized there is a small chance of these things happening and it was worth the gamble. I was taking a chance on me and my future, my health, and my life. I wasn't going to have much of a life if I didn't so I had nothing to lose.
The point of this post is not to be morbid or to scare you. It is simply to prepare you to think about every aspect of this surgery. That includes the worst. There will be plenty of people talking about these things with you, but you will ultimately need to come to terms with them on your own and in your own way. There will be people asking you to sign paperwork to say how long to keep you on life support before they pull the plug. There will be papers asking who will make medical decisions if you are in a coma and can't answer. That is something to really think about. Your life is in their hands. You also will need to sign paperwork, should go south, if you don't want them to try and save you.
This is why I say that you need to prepare your soul. You may be heading straight for a code brown in the pants with me talking about all of these horrific things to think about, but let me tell you that it is worth the risk. Many of us got to the size we were because we gave up on ourselves and just stopped caring. IT"S TIME TO START!
I was in a support group with Phil, who had surgery 4 months before I had met him at the group. I changed the gentleman's name for his protection and HIPPA. A woman had pushed him into the room sitting in a wheelchair. I was interested to see what he had to say when it became his time to speak and I was completely shocked by what I heard.
Phil explained how his pre-surgery weight was over 680 lbs. He was wheelchair bound, housebound, and had even contemplated suicide. He decided to have the surgery and worst case scenario he would get his wish and his life would be over. He said the surgery was rough with the surgeon needing to do a hand assist on him. The nurse had told him that the doctor was up to his shoulder in his abdomen trying to get everything where it needed to be and patched up. By this point I was just transfixed by his story.
Phil went on to explain how in the last 4 months since surgery he had not been able to keep anything down at all. Everything he ate, including water sometimes, would come back up within a few minutes of eating. He told the group how he had been in the hospital on nine separate occasions because of dehydration during which time and how he struggled a lot with why things had not gone according to plan. I was feeling really guilty at this point that my surgery had gone so well and I was supposed to share my story right after this.
Then to my surprise Phil smiled. Not just a faint grin, but a giant ear to ear, light up the room kind of grin. I was even more confused by this. He explain how he didn't want anyone to feel sorry for him. I thought he was crazy. Crazy Phil, I thought about calling him. It was at this point that he stood up from his chair and started walking around the perimeter of the room. As he walked he explained that he had not been able to stand up and walk without pain in almost 15 years and that in the 4 months since the surgery he had lost almost 180lbs! He said that the stuff he had been through since surgery had sucked, but that he would go through all of it every day for the rest of his life if it meant he could keep walking like he was.
You see, Phil made the decision going into surgery that he was worth the risk. His life was worth risking. The benefits far outweighed the gamble. To him, the ability to walk and move and do all the things he thought he would never do again were worth not being able to keep down solid food. It was worth the hospital stays. It was worth every single complication he had to endure since having surgery.
Phil is my hero. That day in group his story just floored me. It has truly been one of the most inspirational stories I have ever heard from another weight loss patient. I have done a lot of amazing things in the last year, but I did all of it with no complications. I just can't say it enough. Phil is my inspiration.
Keep in mind moving forward as you prepare for surgery that what you are doing is not free of risk. Bad things can happen. Complications could arise. Though the risk is very small there is still risk, you could die. Just remember, like Phil demonstrated to me, it is worth the risk. You are worth the risk. So pull up your funderwear, rub some dirt on it, get tough, and take the risk because you are worth going all in for.

If you have an questions or comments feel free to post them below and I will try to answer each and every one of them. Also, please share these posts around so others can benefit from the knowledge of how to prepare for their weight loss surgery.