My Recent Surgery

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I would like to say thank you to all of those who have prayed for Lisa and I this past week. I debated on whether or not to tell this before hand, and I hope I have not led anyone into thinking that something was seriously wrong. As you know I have struggled with my weight for several years now. I come from a line of big men; my father was 6’7″ and during his 30’s-40’s was about 280 lbs. My two nephews are big as well, the oldest is 6’11 and his “little” brother is 6’9″, and I call my son Matthew the runt of the litter at 6’3″. When I was young and working in construction I was lean and muscular. But a pastor’s job does not require daily lifting of sheets of drywall and buckets of paint.
All of 2015 I could see my weight growing gradually, and it was no longer easy to lose weight. Every week was the start of a new diet, and the end of the week was the start of a buffet. I have been thinking of bariatric surgery since 3 of our Bethel members had it done. One of which was our beloved Jimmie Carmickle. I have known Jimmie and Linda since I was a boy at Bethel, and Jimmie was always heavy. One year, our church entered our church bus in the local parade, and Jimmie dressed up as the Pillsbury Dough-Boy. He nailed it! Jimmie had a procedure known as a “lap band”, a band placed around the top of the stomach that prohibits much food from going in all at once. I watched this man’s transformation and I said to myself, If Jimmie can do it, so can I.
On Monday January 25th I underwent a procedure called “sleeve gastrectomy.” The lower portion of the stomach is removed, leaving a banana shaped ‘sleeve’ stomach. It is not a by-pass, but actually leaves a small portion of the stomach intact. It turns out that the lower part of the stomach is where your stomach makes a hormone called “grehlin”, also called the hunger hormone. It is what tells your mind, no, COMMANDS your mind that you are hungry. By removing that area, those who have had this procedure do not have the overwhelming urge to eat. So the surgery is two-fold, it limits the amount of food that can go in, the “abuse” I call it (lol), and it removes most of the desire to eat all the time.
Since beginning the 7 day clear liquid diet before surgery, to this date I have lost a total of 25 lbs. My goal is to lose 100 lbs. My weight the morning of the pre-op diet, January 18th, was 323 lbs. Many of you have probably noticed my chubby face lately, so have I.
On the day of my initial consultation with the surgeon, I saw a man that was probably 10 years older than me, and about 100 lbs heavier. He used crutches to get around but most of the time was spent in a wheel chair, his wife struggling to move him from room to room. His hips and knees were destroyed. I told myself right then to go through with it. I was not going to put my wife through that if I could do something about. I found out from the surgeon that he wished he had it done 10 years ago.
It is highly possible that I will no longer need daily diabetes medicine, and much of the pain in my hips, knees, and back will diminish. If you want to know how it feels, go to the hardware store and pick up four 25 lb. sacks of rock salt, then carry them around for awhile. It is not fun.
I know that part of the problem is the American way of life, a lot of lounging and eating, and no labor to work it off. While still another part of the problem is on the American food supply. Large portions of processed food, with little nutrition and a lot of hormones and calories. I’ve seen chickens in Kenya, trust me, American sized Tyson chickens do not grow that big naturally.
I am recovering well since surgery and look forward to getting back in the saddle come Sunday morning. Thank you for understanding that this was not an easy, nor a rash decision. Lisa and I both agreed that this was the right thing.
If there is anyone out there who has the same struggle, and is considering bariatric surgery, I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I did, and how it is working.
God bless you all, PM.