Well, my husband was not at all convinced that this was the right course of action. Predictably, he decried it as “drastic,” and “unnecessary,” and even *gasp* “the easy way out.” I knew, however, that he would react this way. He is very resistant to change, cautious to move, and has to research any purchase – major or minor – for at least a day before committing. He’s also a scientist – a molecular biologist – who works in cancer research. He’d want data and solid facts presented. He’d want empirical evidence and peer-reviewed, published studies showing the benefits of weight loss surgery. There was no way that my “feelings” alone were going to convince him to support me. His motto is pretty much “In God We Trust, all others bring hard data.”
Lucky for me, I’d been married to him for fifteen years at that point, and knew in advance what I’d have to do. I presented him with data and was ready for the counter-arguments.
First, I told him that there was a study published that said that only five percent of Morbidly Obese people could lose weight and maintain that weight loss through diet and exercise alone. Since he was a scientist, I gave him the name of the study that proved it (if you want it, it’s by Kramer FM et al. Long term follow-up of behavioral treatment for obesity patterns of weight regain among men and women. International Journal of Obesity 1989; 13;123-136) Look at the way the data was stacked against me. At that point, I wasn’t just morbidly obese, either. My BMI was 51 – I was Super Morbidly Obese. I felt like I should be wearing a cape and tiara, sitting on bad guys and squashing them flat. But I digress… I had a five percent chance of success doing it the conventional way. If I was a cancer patient, would he want me to doggedly pursue a course of treatment with a 95% failure rate when there were other options available? Of course not! Why, then, should I not explore other options.
Hmph. I had him there.
Second, I countered his drastic argument. I’d already had some pretty drastic stuff happen – a pregnancy that was high-risk - due to my obesity. I’d been confined to bed-rest for the last month of it, presented with preeclampsia, and developed blood clots from a harrowing delivery and post-op course of treatment. Sure, I’ll never know if these complications were absolutely due to obesity alone, because I never have been (and now never will be) pregnant as a thin person. There are some obese pregnant women who don’t have the problems that I have, and, in fact, have normal deliveries. There is, however, no doubt in my mind that my obesity exacerbated those symptoms which landed me in the hospital for a week.
He didn’t have any comments after that argument. He knew how traumatic that time was, and how terrified he was that he’d have to raise our daughter alone. I’d survived that ordeal, proving I was made of sturdy stuff. I had it in me to survive another medical intervention.
Then, sensing his lowered resistance, I moved in for the emotional kill. Did I mention I knew how he thinks? Did he really think that I’d been playing at dieting for the last 17 years, I asked him? Hadn’t he seen me yo-yo? Had he not witnessed the many diets I’d been on? Had he not felt the effects of the extreme bitchitude that accompanied all of them? Did he really feel like I hadn’t put forth the effort and hard graft required to lose weight? Maybe he hadn’t noticed recently just how little weight I’d lost for the amount of effort put into it. The scale wasn’t moving, and I’d been on a strict 1200 calorie diet for three months. For me, and others like me, weight loss surgery wasn’t the easy way out. No sir, it was the only way out.
Was I wrong to want to escape obesity? Was it unreasonable? No, I really didn’t think so. There was so much wrong with me, and I was so sick and slowly dying from obesity-related diseases that I needed to get out of Fat Town. It killed me a little more every day to watch my four year old run around and not be able to keep up with her. It was slowly deadening my soul when I saw her playing with my CPAP mask, putting it to her own adorable chubby face saying “I’m taking a nap now, like Mommy.” It hurt unbearably that my husband couldn’t fit his arms around me, and that there were certain things that we just couldn’t do because they were too physically awkward. I felt like a sexless lumpy drudge, dragging myself through life. I didn’t want to feel that way any longer. I had a right and a responsibility to myself and my family to be at my best. I was determined to take the door out, regardless of his opinion of its relative ease.
He conceded. Then, came the argument over the surgery itself. Why this one? Why couldn’t I get the Lap Band? What about a plain old gastric bypass? Why did I have to get this one that hardly anyone knew about? If it was so great, how come everybody wasn’t getting it? Why weren’t more doctors performing it? There had to be a reason for that!
There was, and I had my reasons ready with clinical studies to support them. I told you, I know how his mind works. I’ll tell you all about them later, though.