Saturday, September 6, 2008

Freaking out

Now that my surgery is getting near, I've been freaking out a bit. Unfortunately it's not a rational freak-out so it's hard to know how to combat it. I'm not afraid of dying. I'm not really that afraid of a complication, though they are a possibility.

It's hard to put my finger on it, but I think that it's a combination of things.

First, I can't predict the future so I can't know 100% that this is the right decision for me until I have it done -- at which point, it's too late. The nice thing about a lap band is that you can always just get it taken out. But once they cut off that part of the stomach, it's gone, baby, gone.

This is why I've been trying to "walk the walk" beforehand -- to get an idea of how it will all work and if I can live with it. But of course, it's different now. Now it's a choice. For example, I still drink with my meals in restaurants. Because I can and not doing so is a PITA. Post-op, I won't have a choice. Drink with meals and I'll probably vomit.

It all gets back to the fact that the future is unknown. Maybe later I'll drop dead of a heart attack at age 57 but right now I'm alive and (reasonably) healthy. Yes, I'm on medicine for my blood pressure and I can't tie my shoes without sitting down, but let's not count that. Let's go with the illusion of health.

Then, I see myself, the "healthy" one and I see people on the WLS boards who were also the "healty" ones prior to surgery and now they have health problem after health problem and are actually sick from the surgery. What if that is me?

Yes, they've all had a bypass or duodenal switch, which involves intestinal rerouting and malabsorption. Or they've had a lap band and it slipped or eroded. Yes, partial gastrectomies have been around since the 70s and we know there aren't long-term complications to speak of. But the irrational part of me hears this and thinks: what if there is some weird complication that only comes up from the vertical gastrectomy that the partial gastrectomies didn't uncover?

Because the irrational part of me is really emo, apparently.

Second, I really don't want to be a person who needs weight loss surgery. THERE. I said it. I want to be someone who can lose weight "naturally" (as if there is something "natural" about going on a diet).

It really changes my self-image to realize I can't. And all the stats about how 98% (or 95% or 90% or 99% or whatever stat you go with) of the people in the world can't do it doesn't make me feel better. I guess deeper down, at a gut level, I've bought into the idea that fat people are that way because they aren't good enough. It's kind of pathetic, really. But there you go. I want to believe I'm special and better than those other people even though I'm not.

It's probably harder because, once again, I am dieting successfully. I'm under 200 lb. which means I've pull myself back from the abyss. I feel better. I also find myself getting hungry at the drop of a hat and lately it's been harder to stick to the protein first thing. Which means if I were to cancel the surgery and continue to do it on my own, I'd be in big trouble very shortly.

See, I can see this happening. I can see why diets don't work in my own life. I can see it happening right now as I'm on one. But the irrational part of me still whispers "this time you'll do it" and "this time it will work." It's like a siren's call. The rational part of my brain sees the rocks beyond the sirens but the irrational part just hears the pretty song.

The rest is just panic. I think.

I'm going to pay someone the big bucks to cut off my stomach and anything can go wrong. I could have a bad reaction to the anesthesia. I could get a blood clot. I could get a leak and not realize it in time. I don't HAVE to do this -- it's elective surgery -- and so part of me says "Don't do it."

Of course the rational part of me can't have Sept. 24th coming here soon enough. Since I am making no effort to get off the surgery train and I'm not the top to scream "STOP" as they wheel me into the OR, I think the rational part is going to win. But if anything goes wrong and I have even one little regret, the irrational part of me is going to be singing "I told you so" for the rest of my life.
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