Thursday, March 7, 2013

Regrets and rewriting history

I have always believed that, since you can't change the past, you should avoid getting caught up in what you should have done and just figure out how to do better in the future. However, sometimes you can't really avoid what I call the "shoulda, coulda, wouldas".

I've been that way about weight loss surgery. I feel like I've gotten my life back so I keep thinking "why didn't I do this sooner?" I'm in my fifties so I'm already at the point where most people are slowing down and I want to be speeding up. I keep thinking about what could have been if I had done this sooner.

However, I was playing around with my online medical records the other day and I realized that I could  plot out my weight vs. my height starting in 2000 and that the first time I had a BMI of 40 was the Fall of 2006 and it was just barely 40 at that point. A year later, I was up 20 pounds and firmly in WLS territory. Which means I was only eligible for weight loss surgery for about two years before I got it, at least in the 21st Century.

Looking back over my entire history of my weight, as I have been doing as I've been writing my memoirs, I realize there where three periods in my life when I was flirting with a BMI of 40.

I entered my 20s at around the same weight I am now. I slowly creeped up until I was flirting with 200 at the end of my 20s. When I got engaged around age 31 and decided to lose weight for the wedding, I weighed in at around 207 which was just about a BMI of 40. But it was the late 80s and weight loss surgery was much more dangerous and only for the super morbidly obese (often 200 pounds overweight) and I was 5'1" then so my BMI wasn't quite 40 anyway. So I lost almost 70 pounds via Nutri/system and gradually gained it all back.

The second time I hit 200 was in the late 90s and this was the first time I had a BMI over 40 because had gained back all my weight plus 10 pounds putting me at around 217. We were thinking of having a second kid and there was no way I was getting pregnant at that weight given how miserable I'd been the first time when I'd gained up to 198 during the pregnancy. To start bigger than I gotten the first time as unthinkable. So my choices, as I saw them, were to lose weight or not have any more kids.

I kind of wish I had done it then but the sleeve wasn't around -- just bypass really as even the band hadn't been approved for use in the US yet -- and I was convinced I could lose it all via Jenny Craig just like I did the first time. So I signed up and lost down to 173 when I found out I was pregnant. I ended the pregnancy even lower than I started (yeah, me!) but quickly (or so it seemed) climbed back up. That was my memory anyway.

The graph told a different story. It seems it took ten years to get back where I started plus ten pounds. Which is precisely what happened the first time.

So, to recap:

20s (1980s): slowly went up to 207 - not eligible for WLS and risk-benefit analysis didn't warrant it
30s (1990s): dieted down to 138, slowly went up to 217 - eligible but bypass didn't meet my own risk-benefit analysis
40s (2000s): dieted down to 173, slowly went up to 225 (though 228 was my highest recorded weight) - finally worth it, so:
50s (2010s): had weight loss surgery, dieted down to 112, bouncing around 120-130, happy!

Bottom line: maybe I should have done it before I had my daughter, but it was still a time when the only choice was bypass, aftercare wasn't that great, and a lot of people who had bypass at that time regained a lot of weight and/or ended up with permanent neurological damage from malnutrition issues from getting pregnant but not taking the right vitamins and minerals.

When you look at it that way, it's hard to really think that I should've had weight loss surgery in my 30s and if I would've, I could've won my age group at some Ironman and gone to Kona. I mean it might have gone down that way, but the odds weren't quite in my favor like they were since I waited. This is assuming I could have even found someone to do it.
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