Updated: Jun 9, 2020
Life With Liz has been my podcast for two years now. However, Life is now changing, so my podcast is too. I've decided this will be a podcast I'm dedicating to my journey with VSG. Never heard of it? I hadn't either.
Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG, but commonly known as Gastric Sleeve), is surgery to help with weight loss - but not JUST weight loss.
Here's how it goes:
The surgeon removes a large portion of the stomach. The new, smaller stomach is about the size of a banana - which, ironically, I hate bananas. Now I'll be living with one in my stomach. It will limit the amount of food I can eat by making me feel full after eating small amounts of food. But, IT IS NOT A QUICK FIX. This is a tool I will have to live with forever. My eating, drinking and life style choices will be forever changed. Some things I will have to say a forever Goodbye to.
How? Why? What? Yeah... I had all the same questions.
Seven years ago, I picked up my life and moved to Colorado. No friends, no family, but a fresh start with a brand new job. Something, mentally, I desperately needed. With fresh perspective, I handled my life, food and stress differently. I felt stronger.
Roughly 3 or 4 years ago (forgive me, time seems to blend together) I took a promotion. More of my "free" time was limited, I lost friendships over the promotion, I started stressing more about earning respect from others, which caused my anxiety to go through the roof. Guess what happened? I stopped sleeping. Yup. Your girl Liz basically turned into a zombie. And guess what happens when you stop sleeping? You start eating more, because somehow we mentally believe food will give us energy when exhausted. When you still can't sleep because your brain is WIRED and repeating all the things you still have to do the next day, (for a project, a report, a team member, boss, etc etc etc), you start to think, "Maybe a glass of wine will relax me?". It doesn't. Ergo, the cycle continues. Stress - Anxiety - No Sleep - More Food - Stress - ETC. But now you are eating more, drinking more and becoming less mobile because you're so tired. And nobody understands because you're young! Your mind is rapidly shooting off answers and questions and suggestions! Mentally, you appear alert!
But internally... I can tell you I was crying. Nobody cared enough to ask me why I was tired and I wasn't up to the challenge of expressing just how unhappy with myself I really was.
Cut to present day, another promotion, more responsibility and doubled (if not tripled) anxiety over life... yeah, can you imagine? (By then, I was in a 4 year relationship with my boyfriend turned fiancé.) Now, not only was the weight gain an issue - of which I managed to find excuses for - but the sleep apnea I developed, the body pains, the stomach pains, the sore joints, the moody attitude (because thanks to the apnea, even if I do manage to fall asleep, I don't stay asleep), the psychological and physical toll I've taken just isn't okay with me anymore. (For the record, I love my job. I dislike that I was not able to develop enough coping mechanisms to handle my stress accordingly. That's on me.)
I needed a change, another fresh start, and someone mentioned the gastric sleeve surgery to me in passing. Random, but that really is how I discovered it. Someone this person knew had the surgery and was doing remarkably well. Something in the back of my mind dinged and the term gastric sleeve stayed with me. That night I researched it. Then I went to Youtube and watched diary after diary of those who had Vlogged their successes AND their failures. Everybody was so honest and so open. I did more research and then I spoke with my fiancé, who encouraged me, and said that, if this was something I wanted to explore, to set up a consultation. So I did. That was back in February.
I met with the surgeon, my list of questions in hand, and eventually signed up for the process. And I want to share everything with you all. And I will - on this blog but also on my Life With Liz podcast (found on iTunes, Google Casts and more).
I'll be honest. At first, I wanted to keep this a secret. I felt embarrassed that I couldn't get this under control myself. But the idea of lying to others about how I managed to lose weight... the idea of the guilt I would feel didn't sit well with me. And I certainly didn't want my dinner choices and small portions to be whispered about - even though that will probably still happen. Then I thought about the brave YouTubers who'd inspired me. If they could do it, couldn't I? And then I thought about the society we currently live in that is struggling because people aren't only afraid of change, they are afraid of honesty. Some things just aren't talked about. Isn't that a problem?
If my journey helps one person be more comfortable sharing something of their own, then I think it's all worth it.
And, my now husband is going to support me every step of the way. So even if no one listens to the podcast, or ever reads these blogs, I know I'm already valued for being myself - regardless of my weight.
I'm going in one month from today.
Join me on this journey - It's going to be wild.
PS: I'll be posting the majority of my updates either on this blog, my Instagram (@LizRauOfficial) and/or on my podcast, Life With Liz.
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