Wow. What a Summer.
When I started this summer, I weighed 311 pounds. I wore a size 54 pants, and I had borderline high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Now that Labor Day weekend is here, I looked at a scales this morning and weighed 231 pounds. I’ve lost 80 pounds over the Summer. My waist is somewhere around 42 inches. My cholesterol and blood pressure are well within the normal range — the first time they’ve been like that in ten years or so, probably.
I spend a good deal of my time feeling my body. It seems so very different than it was just a short while ago. Luckily I don’t have big, hanging flaps of skin, but it’d be okay if I did. WLS is for health, not for looks.
I keep reading and participating in my online support group each day. Since there are so many thousands of people in the group, everyday it’s some new problem or worry. When I first joined, I thought, “Damn, these weight loss folks are a whiny bunch!” I probably wouldn’t even have considered surgery had I spent much time there listening to all the problems. But then I realized that there are tens of thousands of weight loss surgery patients. There’s almost ten thousand in the group I’m in. Most of those folks are probably worried or concerned about something. So of course it’s going to look like there’s a huge amount of problems. It’s just part of having so many people participate.
It hasn’t been all fun and games, though. There have been a lot of little things that I could have complained about. They just didn’t seem like such a big deal. But I thought I would mention them anyway.
First, I had a very low pulse rate in the hospital and after getting home. Part of my body adapting to losing so much weight. I’ve also been light-headed when standing up suddenly. This is something I’ve experienced before when losing weight rapidly so it was expected; although it is a little strange to be having the feeling for more than a month! I guess I’ve never experienced rapid weight loss for this long of a time before.
Pooping has been more of an adventure than I expected. One of the first things people ask after hearing I only eat about a cup and half of food a day is “How much do you poop?” which, I guess, is natural.
I poop about every other day. When I was at the hospital, I had very weak and runny bowels. It was a terrible feeling, as if I had a bad stomach flu. To this day I don’t know what the heck was going on. Later, though, I started not going to the bathroom at all — constipation. Since I had nothing to compare my bowel habits to, I wasn’t really concerned. Then, after straining one day, I got a hemorrhoid. Not a pleasant experience! Definitely not something I was expecting or knew much about.
So now I take a laxative every other day. Keeps things soft and moving along.
I’ve also started to lose some hair. Hair loss is one of the most dreaded side-effects of Weight Loss Surgery. From what I understand, your body isn’t so great at metabolizing protein at first, so it tries to skimp on things requiring protein. Your hair is the first thing to go, so many weight loss patients see a temporary loss of hair, beginning sometime around 3 months. Although annoying and perhaps stressful, most everybody sees it start back within a year, though.
Of course, I’m a 48-year-old guy, so I’ve been expecting, dreading, and planning for hair loss for a long time. Can’t say I’m crazy about it, but going bald a little quicker isn’t high on my list of things to worry about. In fact, I’m letting my hair grow out in protest. One last “hurrah!” for my future follicle-challenged self.
Having said that, some women get disturbed by hair loss — although I don’t think anybody actually loses all of their hair. It just thins up quite a bit for a while. And there are plenty of coping strategies for that.
There’s a lot of little stuff like this; stuff you could get upset about but in my mind is more of a nuisance than anything else. When I think of carrying so much weight around, perhaps dying many years before I should, what’s a little thin hair for a year? While something to consider ahead of time if you’re thinking about the surgery, it just doesn’t come close to being important. At least to me.If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.