Faye Bryant

Life Change Update

It’s been a WEEK, y’all!

Last weekend, I read ahead in my Bariatric Surgery Program Manual (yes, I’m that person) and saw the words, “The first 2 days on a liquid diet are the hardest. You are likely to feel very hungry until your body starts using protein and fat for energy instead of the usual carbohydrates (a process called ‘ketosis’).”

I thought, what if I were closer to ketosis before I went off food I can chew? What if I do a couple of days of high protein/low or no carb eating before I go on the liquid.

That’s what I did. After that last Sunday morning breakfast of Jack’s delicious biscuits and gravy, I dropped the carbs and over the next two-and-a-half days ate a lot of protein. My only carbs were green beans and carrots.

When Zero Day arrived, I drank my shakes and nibbled on raw veggies. I ate a sugar free Jell-o and a light yogurt. The eating with a utensil was a big deal. There’s something in my brain that tells me I’ve actually eaten if I use a spoon or fork to push food into my mouth. This helped me to not feel hungry

Even though in our kitchen bowls of fruit are out for easy access, I didn’t feel hungry. Even though there are peanut butter pretzel bites available, I wasn’t hungry.

Oh, yeah, seeing them was a temptation, but I would ask myself if I had room for them in my tummy, did I really want to put them in me and the answer has been NO!

Today will be a challenge as Jack and I head to a Tennessee Smokies baseball game. I’m not allowed to carry in food, but I know there are a couple restaurants that have salads, so if others go get nachos, I’ll have some raw vegetables with some lemon juice on them. I will have water to drink and I will ignore the popcorn because it’s not the best for me.

Tuesday will be a huge challenge. That’s the last day before surgery. My diet will change again: Clear liquids only. Thankfully, broth, sugar free Jell-O and sugar free Popsicle qualify! So do decaf coffee and tea.

Wednesday morning I’ll head to the hospital for my surgery and a couple hours of rest before I get up and start my walking regimen. Yep. They like for the bariatric patients to get up and walk every 2-4 hours. So, if you come to the hospital, look for me in the hallways. I’m going to be up and about as soon as they will hand me the keys to my IV pole.

Thursday, they’ll take me for a swallow study just to be sure I’m not leaky. Gotta have everything sewed up right!

I’m sure that the prayers of so many faithful and loving friends guided me to start on Sunday. I’m sure that those prayers have caused me to not be jittery or irritable, to have headaches or stomach aches. I’m absolutely certain that God Himself has touched me because my friends and family are praying for me and for that I am forever grateful.

This is going to be another exciting week. I’m sure there are those who, at this point, would be scared. I don’t. I don’t feel scared. I feel uplifted. I feel comforted. I feel encouraged. I feel excited.

See, here’s what I know. If I come out of this surgery, my life will change completely as far as my eating habits. It will also change from my normal of most recent years, because I’ll have energy and strength to life life to the fullest. If I don’t come through the surgery, my life will change completely as I change my address from Townsend to Heaven. I’m prepared either way.

Keep on praying, my friends. I know He is answering you!

Life Change

I went on my first diet when I was 12. I was called pudgy all through my childhood. Wearing what we called junior petites wasn’t in the works for me. I jumped from straight from children’s clothes to misses sizes.

My size affected me mentally and emotionally throughout my life. I was teased as a child. I was the last one chosen for any PE sport, even though I could kick the kickball for a base hit most of the time and I was very good at Chinese jump rope. I’ve been overlooked for many opportunities, because I didn’t present the standard people were looking for. I’ve been considered stupid because of my size. My first husband started our marriage with, “If you ever get as fat as your mother, I’ll divorce you.” Sitting down in public seats with arms, like in an auditorium or an airplane is embarrassing, because my girth doesn’t stay within the parameters. Depression. Shame. Embarrassment. Fear of not being accepted. Brokenness.

There are many emotional wounds that were precipitated by my size.

My size has affected me physically, too. Especially lately. My knees and back hurt almost constantly, having to bear up more weight than they were designed to bear. I have high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and A-fib. My energy is low, and if I do push through to participate in an event, I’m worn out and have to deal with the pain for hours, even days.

There are many physical issues that are precipitated by my size.

In times past, I’ve made the changes that would cause me to lose weight and lose it I did. At one point, I even employed the Phentermine method, taking a pill every day that almost eliminated my appetite, plus gave me energy. I lost gobs of weight and even after ceasing the medication, my new ways of learning how to eat and act kept the weight off.

Then I had uterine cancer and had to have surgeries to eliminate that. Surgeries went well, but I was sent immediately into menopause and because of having had cancer (twice), I couldn’t have hormones which would allow me to manage this and keep my weight down.

That was seven years ago. In that time, I’ve tried eating right, exercising, all the things I knew to cause this extra poundage to leave me, all to no avail. Matter of fact, instead of losing, I have gained even more.

It’s time to make a change. A change that will not only save my life, but will enhance it and cause me to be more able to serve my God and others with health and energy, and without pain and shame.

On August 14, 2019, I will have gastric sleeve surgery. I haven’t chosen this path lightly or without tons of research. I’ve been working toward this since last October. I’ve talked with the doctor who has known me for 30 years and with the surgeon I met in October. I’ve talked with people who have had similar surgery and listened to their stories. There are some who have had problems and others who have done amazing.

For me, I’m expecting great things. I have 100 pounds to lose. I may or may not reach that goal, but it’s a goal I’m pushing for. My plan is to follow all the instructions that should give me the optimum results with this new tool for my health.

I expect my blood pressure medicines to be lessened, if not discontinued. I expect my sleep apnea to go away. I expect my A-fib to be eliminated. I expect to be able to walk, stand, sit, LIVE without pain being a constant part. I expect to have the energy to participate in life without a nap to keep going.

There are some who will say I’m copping out, that I could lose weight if I just kept at it. My answer: Seven years. SEVEN. YEARS. If it was going to happen, why hasn’t it?

Well, to be honest, I have greatly modified my diet since February and have lost 20-something pounds, but I can promise you that for me as I am right now, it’s not sustainable. Before long, I’ll be right back where I am, if not higher.

With this tool, I won’t have the capacity — or the craving — to over eat. Yes, my food choices will be different for a time. When that time is up, I’ll be able to add back some of the delicious treats I love, like fried potatoes, gravy, biscuits, coconut cream pie… it will just be in tiny portions.

I didn’t have to share all this with you, but I feel like I’m supposed to. I’ve seen some who have had the surgery and never told anyone what they actually had because of the stigma of it. People say that we who choose this route are weak. Let me tell you, heading out on this journey is not at all for the faint of heart!

Starting Wednesday, I’ll be on a modified liquid diet designed to cause my liver to shrink in preparation for surgery. (We don’t want to have to use too many retractors to hold that baby out of the way. It could get harmful!)
Each day looks like this:

  • Four (4) protein shakes
  • 1 cup tomato or V8 juice
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (no sugar or butter)
  • 1 cup sugar free pudding or Jell-O (also sugar free popsicles)
  • 6 oz light yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • raw vegetables (no dressings)

That’s a breeze compared to the post-surgical diet!

The steps necessary to get to this point on the journey are arduous. They require great commitment. On August 14th, that commitment has to be strengthened because there’s no going back. There’s no replacing what’s been removed. I will forever have to be careful to take in all the nutrients my body needs. I will have to be cognizant at all times of what my body needs.

This is truly a life change. One that isn’t the easy choice. It’s not the easy road. It’s not for the weak. Making this choice is one of the bravest, strongest decisions I’ve ever made, and one that requires much of me. Probably more requirements than I’ve ever had to meet.

So, if you see me, don’t be afraid to invite me out for coffee or a meal. I will still sit with you and enjoy your presence. I may consume something, but I am choosing now to enjoy life and the people I care about more than what I push into my body.

And watch out, I’ll be doing more, serving more, speaking more, coaching more, writing more, because with this tool, I will be able to actually live the life for which God designed me. I will be so blessed to be able to live and serve for His glory instead of hiding.

If you’ve got any questions, ask me. I’ll do my best to answer them. If you’re going to tell me I shouldn’t do this, go ahead, but you won’t convince me, so maybe our time would be better spent in other conversation. If you want to pray for me, that would be awesome! I’ve got a rough time coming up.