Sometimes I feel so torn, like I have no right to complain about my problems ~ that others have it so much worse than I do and I should just shut up and feel blessed. But when my life, that I thought was on a pretty good track, goes awry, I need some time to regroup, ponder and pray. Lord, what am I to do next?
That’s what has happened recently. Besides being morbidly obese, I have severe arthritis in my feet and knees ~ especially my right knee, which is now bone-on-bone and beyond pain comprehension most of the time. I now walk with a cane all the time, which I hate. I’ve been seeing an orthopedic specialist for 2-3 months now, and, after visiting him yesterday to hash out our next strategy for pain relief, instead he said he can do nothing more for me. Then he went into a long dissertation about how bad my knee(s) are and that I’m a candidate for knee replacement surgery IF I can lose a minimum of 60 lbs first.
He continued his long monologue about bariatric surgery, and that it appears to be my only last bastion before being immobile/unable to walk. I sort of remember being in minor shock at that point. Deer-in-the-headlights kind of thing. I thought, “But no! That can’t be! I’ve been working hard, changing my eating lifestyle and losing weight!” He seemed to have read my thoughts and said that at the rate that I’m losing, it would take me about two years to lose the necessary 60 lbs. “Not fast enough,” he said. He’s talking by the end of THIS year. But I’ve lost 25 lbs. since the week before Christmas. I thought it showed good promise.
I left his office in a fog. That fog turned into despair and then depression. The thought of bariatric surgery made me shudder. You see, I had such surgery in 1988 when I was 29 years old. From the moment I woke up in the hospital, gagging on the NG tube down my throat, the next 10+ years would be a nightmare of hell on earth with regard to my digestive system. Most of the first 5-6 years were spent vomiting and/or feeling nausea like you can never imagine. I used to have extreme nausea for hours, sometimes all night, and would curl up on the floor or the bed in the fetal position and rock myself until the feeling passed. I used to beg God to make it stop, crying that I would never eat whatever hellish food that had made me sick that time. It continued on into my current marriage, as of 1998, and I used to have to ask Al to pat me on the back (it helped?). It was embarrassing the first time it happened with Al, and I had to explain it all… why I was curled up into a ball on the top of our bed groaning and begging to die. It may seem irrational, but I’d rather spend an eternity in the firepits of hell than vomit once. Vomiting, for me, IS the embodyment of death. Next to gagging, it’s the closest I can come to meeting eternity without actually dying. I don’t know why. So, this bariatric surgery had been my near-death experience, over and over for decades. It has lessened now to only once or twice a year… praise the Lord!
And now here I am, again, confronted with having a new torture to deal with all over again. Even though my common sense tells me that, after 30 years, procedures have changed. It has to be better now. And I know I have to try this again. I say “try” because I may not get accepted, and/or my insurance may not cover the surgery. Last night I wallowed a bit. But I also prayed and asked many of my wonderful friends to pray. I figured my options are either sit and do nothing while my health continues to go downhill one part at a time, or I could take God’s hand and keep going, keep moving forward and do the best that I can to right myself. I’m admittedly scared. I’m no longer 29 years old. It’s 30 years later and I don’t heal as well. Regardless, I cannot be idle, self-pity or wait any longer.
The answer is to push forward, step-by-step and go where God leads me. I’ve contacted a local bariatric team at our local Crouse Hospital in Syracuse. It’s the way to start. I’m working with them to see if I qualify and if my insurance covers the surgery. I should know in a few days. I have to be optimistic. Any other option is not acceptable.