Monday, January 17, 2011

Here's to new friends!

My blog mostly teeters back and forth between pole dancing and gastric bypass/weight loss issues.  Sure, I write about other things but those are probaby the two biggest topics.  Without the weight loss surgery, I wouldn't have pole dancing.  It's a big part of who I am now.  I am a huge advocate of post-surgery support.  I wish more people would get one-on-one therapy but I also think that online and in-person support groups are important.  I joined a Facebook group about weight loss surgery and ended up "meeting" a pretty cool chick.  She actually doesn't live far from me (about an hour and 15 minutes away) and we are hoping to meet in person this May at Bay to Breakers!

Meet Jessica Mowles Stockton! 

1. You started a weight loss surgery support group on Facebook. What prompted you to do that?

My local support group that I was attending through my hospital was not supported by any professionals. I was getting bored going weekly and hearing the same questions discussed and then answered by other patients. I knew I was done with that group, but did not want to drop out of the WLS world completely. Having WLS has been a life changing event and for me, I feel I need to keep it as something that's part of my daily life. I'm pretty much on Facebook all the time and thought it would be an awesome way to connect with other WLS patients. I searched for WLS pages or groups on Facebook, but did not find any that were really active or geared towards supporting each other, so I thought,"Hey, why not start my own!"

2. Do you participate in any other support groups, either online or in person?

I am on almost every day, posting my support to others and just reading blogs or the message boards. I try and meet up with my WLS friends at least once a month to talk about WLS issues, but other than that, I do not attend any other groups.

3. What made you decide that weight loss surgery was for you?

I made the decision to have weight loss surgery in June of 2007. I was back up to my highest weight, 291 lbs, after another failed diet. I was 29 yrs old and already had hypertension. My family has serious hereditary heart disease and I knew that I was not far from acquiring heart disease myself, if I hadn't already. I am a mother and a wife and wanted to be around for my kids when they have their kids. I wanted to be the person I have always wanted to be. I knew if I didn’t take action I would be in my 40’s with hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, wishing I had had the surgery years before. I had considered having WLS a couple years before but wanted to try and do it on my own again. The deciding day was a day we went to Six Flags. I knew on that day I HAD to do it.

4. When did you have surgery?

I had laparoscopic RNY Gastric Bypass on February 12, 2008.

5. Where did you have surgery and do you feel like your surgeon and/or insurance gave you proper care and follow-up after?

My insurance is Kaiser Permanente. They do not have a local bariatric program, so I had to travel to Fremont, CA (almost 2 hours away) for all my appointments and follow up care. I do feel they gave proper care, however I do have a couple complaints. I feel that they should make it mandatory that there is psychological/therapy appointments for at least the first year after surgery. I also would like to see a professional run support group. There are a ton of people in the greater Sacramento area that have had surgery through Kaiser. Even though there is not a local bariatric program, they should make local bariatric professionals available to us.

6. Did you have any complications? Do you have any lasting effects from losing so much weight so quickly?

No major complications. A couple times I got dehydrated and had to go to my doctor's office for some IV fluids. Every once in a while I feel my blood pressure drop and I get a bit of a dizzy spell, but I don't think I have any major lasting effects from losing the weight.

7. How much weight did you lose? Do you feel like you met or exceeded your goal?

I have been maintaining a loss of 140 lbs. I did lose as much as 145 lbs at one point but had a little bounce back. I am very comfortable where I am at. This is beyond what I ever dreamt for myself. I am at my own personal goal weight, but have exceeded my surgeon’s goal weight by more than 20 lbs.

8. Have you had a difficult time maintaining the loss?

Just recently the weight loss feels like it's getting a little more difficult to maintain. I can tell I am getting hungrier more and am able to eat larger portions. I know that exercise and diet are always going to be a part of my life, even with surgery. As soon as I see the scale creep up a couple pounds I reel it back in and really get back to basics.

9. What has changed about your life since losing weight?

This is a very complicated question. Lots have changed, but then I like to think a lot has stayed the same. I am more the person I always wanted to be. I am more active, more outgoing, but I really feel my life is still evolving. I was morbidly obese for most of my life. Being of average weight is still something I consider new. Losing 140 lbs has been like peeling back 140 emotional layers. There are times I feel very emotionally raw. I am working on becoming the me I was meant to be and always wanted to be.

10. What was one non-weight related goal that you had after losing weight? (Maybe worded weird, but, for example, I wanted to start riding horses again after losing weight...of course I had stopped because I had gotten too fat but it was a goal I had that wasn't "I want to lose 100 pounds.")

I actually had forgotten about this goal until about 6 months ago. When I was obese I would get this urge to run. I would tell my husband "I just want to run!" - I attempted a few times but would only make it a few house lengths before I would begin to walk. About 6 months ago I started running. It wasn't until the first time I ran 3.2 miles that I remembered I had wanted and wished I could run when I was obese. I broke down in tears while I was running. It's those little things that mean the most.

11. What do you do religiously to make sure you are a successful weight loss surgery patient?

I don't drink soda or carbonated beverages. I don't drink 15 mins before, during, or up to 30 minutes after meals. I try to watch the amount of sugar in the things I eat and stick with protein first.

12. Do you exercise?

Yes! I go to the gym, but I prefer running outside. I did two 5k's in the last 4 months of 2010 and for 2011 I have a 10k, 12k (Bay to Breakers!!!), and two half marathon's planned! I will also be throwing in a couple of 5k's here and there.

13. What are some of the habits you fudge on? What's your guilty pleasure?

Ohhhh, the guilty pleasure... I curse you!! PIZZA!!! I remember when I was thinking about having surgery I thought I would never be able to eat pizza again and the thought really did cross my mind NOT to have surgery for this reason alone! LOL So yes, I eat pizza... I probably eat it once a week.... and I enjoy every single bite.

14. Did you have any plastic surgery? If so, did insurance cover any of it? If not, would you like to?

I think we, in the WLS community, obsess over this issue far too much (myself included). I have not had any plastic surgery. My insurance won't cover it. I will eventually have plastic surgery, but at this point it is not something I am willing to go into debt for. When the time is right I will go for it, but I am not going to let the excess skin hold me back or take away from my success. I actually wrote a small article on excess skin that is being published in the next issue of OH Magazine. :-)

15. What would you tell someone who was on the fence about having weight loss surgery?

I think that would depend on who the person is. I think that if someone has done the research and thinks WLS would be good for them, but they are just scared, to go for it! All I can offer them is MY experience with WLS. For me, it's been a very good decision. It has worked for me thus far, without complications. I know there are some out there that feel WLS was not the right decision for them so I would hate to try and sell somebody on it. But I guess, if I am being honest, every bit of me would want to yell at them "Do it!".

16. If you had it to do over again, would you still have surgery?


1 comment:

  1. Check out Jessica's blog!