Thursday, September 15, 2011
Speaking of babies
I was super morbidly obese while pregnant with my youngest boy. I did things right, minus cutting out caffeine. I worked hard at being a good patient, but I just couldn't tackle my weight, even for the baby growing inside of me. I didn't gain more than 10 lbs, and most of it fluid due to complications (toxemia). They warn you you are obese that there can be complications with the baby and even birth defects, but they aren't specific. I had over a dozen ultrasounds and no one could see that my son was missing part of his brain since the neurons didn't migrate and start to form vital areas of the brain like they should. It turns out that the ultrasounds weren't good because of my weight, but no one told me that. I was told that it was not me, since I wasn't diabetic, and that it wasn't me because I didn't use substances that could provide prenatal insult. HOWEVER...I knew that my weight and lack of health was the REAL reason my beautiful boy was disabled. I lived in a rural area that was conservative in medicine, but I had the privilege of also being a professional in the same small community so I get some latitude. I got the tests I wanted and I found out that my son was going to die. Before age 2, and there was probably nothing anyone could do to make that better. I blamed myself. I am sure that my husband blamed me, but he won't tell me the truth. I did what I know what to do--research. One doctor gave me no hope, so I got journal articles on the research being done with this disorder. For a meager $200 bucks the world's leading neuroradiologist who studied my son's illness was willing to read the xray and make recommendations. Best thing I ever did, because that neuroradiologist called up our neurosurgeon and said 'Do the shunt surgery to take the pressure off...make the kids time the best it can be.' I am forever grateful for that man and his willingness to help based just on a desperate email from an American Indian mom in rural Eastern Washington. The shunt surgery happened, and then it malfunctioned. I think the surgeon was tired and angry that I went over his head...this surgery was the last of the day and I think it just was error contributed to this. But, then I overheard him telling his medical assistant - she did this to her own kid by being so obese and now she wants me to crack him open and make him suffer to appease her guilt - WOW! That hit me like a ton of bricks. We got a team of people who didn't really know what could happen with someone with this disease because many people don't live long with this. The team predicted he wouldn't walk, talk, see, hear, or live past age 2. Wasn't given much hope. Here's where I know that my weight issue finally spiraled to rock bottom. I was already 411 lbs and I had lost 40 lbs after the delivery of my child. But then, I started to eat. Started to eat to cope, to eat to feel something other than sorry and guilt. Before two long, I was 623 lbs. So, even though I wanted MORE THAN ANYTHING to live my life with both of my children, in miraculously and lovely ways, I couldn't! I was too fat. I didn't have the energy. During the 6 month period of therapy and self-reflection to get to the point where my insurance company would give me my WL surgery, I realized something VITAL to my life. When I heard that my little boy wasn't going to live, probably because of me (whether it was genetic or my weight and complications), I decided that I was gonna die with him. I was gonna eat myself to do death. By age 6, he had outlived what was predicted. He wasn't qualifying for special services for school anymore and his cognitive abilities were developing. I had an epiphany. If he's not dying, I am not going to die either. Some people would look to alcohol, drugs, work, sex, anything to make their life seem normal for a minute. I looked to food to give me normalcy but also to make it possible for me to die right along with that little boy. I didn't know that until it was almost too late. That's not fair to him, to my other child, and to my husband. It's not fair to me! I NEED TO LIVE! I need to be healthy and deserve it. I can't go back and do things with my weight that might have helped him not develop his illness, but I don't have to keep doing the things that started the problem to begin with. It's time to live like we are dying...we sort of are...slowly hopefully...but every second of every day counts and shouldn't be filled with regret, sadness, and guilt. My son hasn't given up...so I am not going to either! What sparked my decision to really go after weight surgery was when I went to the ER for pain in my lower left and upper left quadrant. It was my appendix and gall bladder. But surgeon on call didn't even touch me. He just said i needed weight loss surgery and that I should mortgage my house to see it was done. He didn't operate. I was just obese and complaining because I hurt as a result of being too fat. I took him off the golf course and he didn't like that. The pain persisted and someone finally didn't see me as the fat ass I was - they saw me as a human. He told me I was worth taking care of myself and delicately proposed options. He got me thinking, and I started therapy, and then case management for the surgery, then the surgery. 400+ lbs lost and I still have to force myself to live when I see that my children struggle. I have depression, which is common for weight issues. I'm a work in progress. BUT I AM GOING TO LIVE.