How do you decide whether or not gastric bypass surgery is right for you?

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Answered by: Sarah, An Expert in the Surgery for Weight Loss Category
Deciding to lay down the diet books and accept powerlessness over a food addiction which requires medical intervention is not a milestone most over eaters dream they will reach. Years of agonizing false hope, strong starts, slips, do-overs and failures lead most over eaters down the path of eating without abandon and pretending the extra layers do not hurt. Deep inside, however, the smiles are less indelible and self-loathing runs strong.

Nobody wants to struggle for a breath as she ties her shoe or feel the legs of a plastic deck chair bend and collapse under his weight as concerned BBQ attendees stifle giggles and feign concern. The condition of obesity is a humiliating, deprecating and debilitating one and it damages the soul of its victims as much as it does the body. For some, gastric bypass surgery is a life saving tool for recovery.

I had a hard time accepting the notion that a medical alternative could help me gain control over the demon I called overeating. After years attending 12 step programs, I believed my condition was simply a broken connection between my physical, spiritual and emotional self. However, no matter how spiritually or emotionally fit I became, the physical element just never clicked and I was unable to calm the beast in my belly. I read and followed over 20 diets, saw several nutritionists, worked with a trainer and attended support groups for eating disorders only to wake up one day in a 271 pound body that kept me from doing nearly all I wished I could. Gastric bypass surgery was never even a blip on my radar because I was determined to naturally overcome my plight. That was a goal I never reached.

Half out of curiosity and half out of desperation, I began researching the subject I previously felt was taboo: gastric bypass surgery. This meant admitting utter defeat and acknowledging my failure to successfully manage every method I tried previously. I was ashamed and afraid but so despondent, I was willing to overlook that in hopes that relief waited at the end of my journey.

My first surgical consultation was a roller coaster. I listened to a barrage of information, answered long questionnaires, met with a therapist and a nutritionist and then apologized to the surgeon for wasting his time. It was too much to consider, so I returned to eating for several months before rethinking the idea of surgery. At my second visit with the surgeon, I was struck by the different sized chairs and patients in the waiting room. Previously, I had not noticed either. This time, I saw people in all stages of recovery and chairs to fit each one. I realized I was not alone and I was not unique.

This time around, I asked a lot of questions. I analyzed a lot of data. I studied a lot of statistics. I considered a lot of possible outcomes. After earnestly weighing everything, I decided to reach for a lifeline and accept help finding a new and improved life. I let go of my shame and focused on having hope. That was the greatest gift I ever gave myself. I allowed myself permission to be human and to need a hand with a problem which had all but conquered me. I bravely scheduled my surgery and I never looked back.

That was over two years ago and I do not regret a single moment. The journey has not been flawless and I work hard for my good health, but today my life is full of possibilities and accomplishments as opposed to hopelessness and exhaustion. Having gastric bypass surgery was the best choice I could have made and I am grateful I found the courage to do it.

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