Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why'd I Get Lapband?

I thought I'd talk about and show you some of the reasons why I went for lap band surgery. Obviously my health was the chief reason. I have the trifecta--high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Not to mention osteo-arthritis that's exacerbated by the weight. I want to be healthy. I don't want to make a meal of drugs.

I also have a husband, 3 grown children and 2 grown stepchildren, and 7 grandchildren. They love me. I love them. I want to be able to take care of my grandchildren, keep up with them, play with them, pick them up and hug them, and take them places. That was getting hard to do. With 29 lbs. lost I'm already having a lot more fun with them.

I love to garden--flowers. It had become very painful and I had to go very slowly with the never-ending weeding. Artificial knees make it very difficult for me to kneel or squat for any length of time or to sit or lay down on the grass to weed. The weight made it even harder. My weight made it difficult to bend over or use a shovel. I would get breathless. I did some extended weeding and clipping yesterday and got done quickly and experienced no pain during or afterwards.

I love getting out and walking, going to fests and listening to music, singing in choir and on praise teams. Standing for any length of time was becoming more and more difficult. Walking also put me in pain. I walk over an hour now each day. The other day my husband and I went to downtown Chicago where we walked miles up and down Michigan Ave., all over Millenium Park and across to Daley Plaza and back. We walked from the Buckingham Fountain along the lakefront all the way to Navy Pier and all the way down the pier and back.

I was also finding it difficult to work. I teach at-risk students at a Christian school on the south side of Chicaco. I teach groups ranging from 8-12 students for 8 or 9 periods a day. I have the students with academic and frequently behavioral issue. I already struggle with high blood pressure and believe me there were times I could feel it go up. The kids would say, "Mrs. Flory you're turning red."

I'd stiffen so much when I'd sit for any length of time. Getting up to go to the board or to fetch materials was painful. Standing and teaching could only be done for short periods of time. Bending over students for any length of time was difficult.

I work in an old building with no handicapped accomodations and lots of stairs. I really began to wonder how much longer I could continue teaching. I'm only 57 and can't afford early retirement and was beginning to believe I'd have to go on disability.

Let me show you one of the reasons why I don't want to do that. I'm including a link to a video of a student of mine named Arthur. Arthur has an incredible story to tell. I'm an integral part of his story because I taught him to read and do math. You'll see me teaching him in the video. I helped interview him for the video though you won't hear me. I got my lap band in part because I didn't want to give up making a difference in children's lives.

Here's the link:

I felt like I was sacrificing my life in order to keep teaching. Hopefully, with the weight off, teaching will be much easier on me physically, and with more physical strength it should be mentally and emotionally less draining as well. In fact, I expect to experience a lot more joy while teaching. Constant pain robs you of joy. Joy should be effortless and should float like a ballon. When you're heavy, you are weighed down and joy becomes an effort. I want effortless, effervescent joy.

I want all barriers removed between myself and people and between myself and God. Food and fat are barriers to intimacy (see my last post.) I want to have fun and relax and enjoy myself around people without food getting in the way. I want to enjoy fellowship with God. I want to be by myself with him without being distracted by needing to go get something to eat, or by having to be chewing on something in order to concentrate on him.

Today I went out for lunch with a friend. We sat and talked and laughed for a long time. We shared about our lives. I ate half a spinach & chicken salad and took half home. It was enough. I set the extra to the side and forgot about it. It was a healthy choice. It was delicious and I enjoyed it. But it didn't get between me and my friend.

These are the reasons I got a lapband.