"My wife, Cyndy, and I both had surgery with Dr. Glascock on June 25, 2013. We opted for the gastric bypass surgery because we had read lots of studies and personal reflections about the superior results for people in situations similar to our own. We were also happy to see that a doctor of Dr. Glascock's caliber was located in Iowa and just an hour away from us, so we pursued this with a great deal of enthusiasm and cautious optimism.
Deciding to have surgery was not a simple conclusion. We have both struggled with weight loss throughout our lives. I was fortunate to be active in sports during junior high and high school, however, as life gets away from you and priorities change and shift toward career plans, healthy habits take a back seat. Though I was still active, it became more and more difficult to keep the weight off. Part of this is due to genetics (my mother and her family have weight struggles of their own), but stress does a lot to your body. My wife's family is heavy and her weight struggle began early on in life, continued by unhealthy eating habits she learned as a child. Coupled with osteoarthritis in both knees, Cyndy was unable to routinely exercise effectively. Despite many attempts by both of us to develop exercise regimens and productive eating habits, we became resigned to the idea that taking off weight would have to wait.
While our relationship developed and we got married, we frequently revisited the issue of weight loss, healthy habits, and activity. We tried a number of diet and exercise routines which changed with the seasons, but were quickly frustrated because of the unreliable results and return of the weight once we resumed "normal" eating. It was always frustrating to kill ourselves for weeks with tuna, cottage cheese, and apple juice, only to pack the weight back on once we started eating normal portions of complete meals again, even though our walking routine (30 minutes, 4 times/week) remained the same. The cycles were exhausting and disappointing, but we persisted, dieting 2-3 times per year and yo-yoing repeatedly.
When we decided to start our family, we did it again, but with entirely organic food so I could be healthier while pregnant. Cyndy lost 52 pounds and I lost 30 before becoming pregnant. We continued to eat only organically throughout the pregnancy and were elated that our son was healthy and happy. As motherhood changes your routine, eating habits, and sleep schedule, we put weight back on. At my highest, even after pregnancy, I was around 240 pounds. Cyndy's highest was 325 pounds.
A number of life changes contributed to our decision to research and pursue surgery. We were both diagnosed with sleep apnea after months of low-quality sleep. My wife retired from coaching high school speech and debate (her passion had been waning as it became, in her eyes, less educational and the birth of our son was the push she needed, but she missed it). My parents divorced and my mother moved in with us (which was a wonderful completion to our household, but a stressful process to help her through). We purchased a new house and moved with a 10 month old. The many upheavals in our lives took a toll on our relationship and our waistlines. It was when we acknowledged that our lethargy and dissatisfaction with our personal appearances started to affect our intimate life that we made the decision to get much-needed help and to focus on ourselves.
We discovered that we had both been unhappy and looking into better solutions to our health issues separately, but once we honestly discussed the issue together, we decided to compile research on gastric bypass surgery. I knew that my mother had had weight loss surgery (a sleeve) when I was younger, but when I discussed our decision with my mom, I discovered that both of my grandparents and my aunt had also undergone surgery for their weight problems. My mother was honest and straight forward about her struggles with and after her surgery, and discussed her results, as well as the very different outcomes that her parents and sister had seen. In addition to this conversation, we read. We were well-researched before the conception and birth of our son, made a well-informed decision about our finances and home purchase, and figured that we should start there in looking at weight loss surgery as well. As readers, we don't shy away from differences of opinions, positive and negative feedback, and even the risks involved. Still, after reading countless studies, medical reports, consulting with our family physician, and researching doctors, we felt confident that gastric bypass surgery was right for us.
The process was initially daunting, but it was instantly made easier when we consulted with Dr. Glascock and Zinka Samardzic, PA-C. They made clear the risks and hardships we would face in preparing for, recovering from, and seeing the best results from the surgery, but they always made it seem possible if we had the determination to work with the process and meet the requirements. We had already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and were following a physician-supervised diet. We had also documented our own many struggles with weight and the measures we had already pursued to try to improve our health. Mary and Kim in Dr. Glascock's office were indispensably helpful in helping us to be approved by our insurance and preparing for surgery. We were prepared to undertake the most difficult life change that we ever could have imagined because this was not just another diet, but a new direction and opportunity to live better.
Since the surgery, things have been incredible. Once we recovered from the overwhelming gas pressure and drainage, we were shocked to see our energy levels skyrocket. To date, I have lost around 90 pounds and Cyndy has lost around 110 pounds. I went from a size 22/24 to a current size 10. Cyndy went from a 24/26 to a size 12/14. More than getting our weight under control, however, we have watched innumerable ailments practically disappear. The sleep apnea abated immediately. We were both able to cut down on our anxiety medication. We have the energy to play with our son (now 2.5) in more active ways, and are excited about going places and doing things. Our butt imprints used to be visible on the couch. Now, we get down on the floor and engage in pretend play with our son because we're not afraid of how we're going to get back up! We have learned how to eat better and to view food as energy and fuel, not comfort. Our different relationship with food has opened our eyes to so much more that we can do with our time and better ways to cope with stress and boredom.
I suspect that our story is pretty common among people with the drive and commitment to make this change in their lives. I will say, however, that the thing that makes us most unique, is the fact that we did this together. Having both struggled with weight most of our lives, my wife and I knew better than anyone what the other was going through. We discovered, however, that it wasn't just another thing that we had in common, but (once we were honest with one another about our issues) a source of strength and support between us. Life during the approval process and consultation was manageable because we could bounce ideas off one another and offer encouragement to keep each other on track. Sticking with the requisite liquid diet was easy because when we came home equally cranky, we just had to laugh at how ridiculous our dependence on food had become because we saw one another's bizarre behavior. Post surgery, we pushed one another to be responsible for our recovery and activity. We always have someone to exercise with. We always have someone looking over our shoulders to remind us that it's important to eat during the day (something easy to forget now that we're not artificially hungry all of the time). We always have someone to talk to when we hit the occasional plateau and get frustrated with the slowing progress. I don't believe that we would have had the success that we have seen if we hadn't both made this decision together, undergone the pain and recovery of surgery at the same time, and been one another's biggest fans."