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April 23, 2010

Ready for Extremes

Let's talk numbers. 

33, 47, 46

Those aren't the mysterious numbers from Lost.  33 is how old my uncle was when he had his first heart attack.  47 is how old he was when another heart attack killed him.  46 is how old my grandfather was when he died of a heart attack.  That was my mom's brother and dad, and she also lost an uncle to a heart attack.  I believe he was in his 40's also. 


That is how many days until my birthday where I turn 30 years old. 

The difference between those men and myself is that I am overweight.  In the four levels considered overweight, I fall into the morbidly obese category and I am at the high end of that.   Just a little bit more weight and I will fall into the highest category - super obese.  Those men might have had slight weight issues, but I surpass them quite a bit. 

I've tried over the years to diet using home made versions of Atkins, and I've signed up for Weight Watchers a number of times.  Each attempt yielded great results at the beginning, but nothing sustainable came from them.  Now I have three kids and a fourth on the way...I'm about to turn 30 and will be three years from my uncle's age at his first heart attack and it is starting to bother me.  Something needs to change, but I'm at a loss of how to effectively make it happen.  I've been thinking of options and then saw a sign on I-25 heading down to Fort Collins for the bariatric center at the hospital in I sent away for information.

They sent me a gigantic package of information about lap-band surgery.  It is much less invasive than traditional bypass surgery.  In fact, they do the surgery laparascopicly with only 3-5 small incisions.  The band is also adjustable and removable.  The packet also included some waivers, information release forms and a 21 page packet of questions documenting my entire medical history and attempts at weight loss.  I talked to a few close people about it and prayed about what I should do, and then turned in the paperwork this past Monday.

My insurance company has a requirement that anyone getting these types of surgeries complete six months of medically supervised weight loss.  I will start my first appointment on Tuesday, when I meet with a nurse practitioner and a Nutritionist.  I must meet with them every month for six consecutive months - if you miss a month at all, you have to start over.  This time will give me a lot of good information on eating healthy and making changes now, and also gives me the option to back out of the actual surgery if I get to that point and feel like I'm progressing so well that surgery is not necessary.  We will hit our out of pocket maximum with insurance this year with the new baby, and also next year with Sandra's surgery.  In essence, this will not cost any additional out of pocket expense, other than what we are already paying for.  I'm sure parts of it may not be covered so we'll have some expense, but hopefully minimal. 

I'll be sharing my experience through this journey here on my blog.  I have registered at and when the surgery time does come, I choose people who will be my support system and encouragement through the surgery, recovery and weight loss efforts.  I want to be as open an honest about all this as possible.  Weight loss is not an easy thing for anyone, and given my family history (even beyond those few mentioned above), I feel like I am ready for extremes.  I want to be there for my family in the long run and hope you'll journey through this with me.


Jennifer Hamilton said...

Good for you Jon. We're behind you all the way...proud of you for taking this big step!!!

Whitney said...

I join in with Jen, when we say that we support you too. I think you are being very courageous in your efforts, as this isn't some magic quick fix, like some might like to think. You are being aggresive and proactive in your endeavors, which is pretty awesome!

Anne said...

You know I'll do anything I can to support you in this effort. I'm very proud of you. Lean on Christ with all your heart and He will give you the strength you need to see this through.

Littlebit said...

Hey sweetie..I wish I could say you are too young to have to worry about cardiac disease. Unfortunately, familial history plays a stronger role than age. But you are heading in the right direction, and I know you can do it. Someone has to break the cycle somewhere, and hopefully it will be you. We will be praying for you! LLLY

shellycoulter said...

You know you always have our love & support! Proud of you for wanting to make changes to better your life & be there for your family!

Anne said...

You know I'll do anything I can to support you in this effort. I'm very proud of you. Lean on Christ with all your heart and He will give you the strength you need to see this through.