It’s Father’s Day so I got to thinking that today is a great day to blog about the role my husband played and continues to play along my lap band journey.
My decision to have lap band surgery has changed our marriage and our family dynamics. It had a bigger impact on my husband than I realized. When Sandi and I wrote the “7 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before Lap Band Surgery,” tip number #5 was: “This life-changing decision really impacts spouses, partners, and those close to you.” I had definitely underestimated the impact of my decision, and my surgery on my husband.
My husband is a great dad; I say that because it’s the truth. My kids love, trust and respect him. He’s played “Mr. Mom” with grace and humor when that’s what our family needed. He’s volunteered as class parent, helps with homework, cooks…He’s taught us all not to sweat the small stuff, and to count our blessings. I could sum it up by quoting my son “He’s not the WORLD’S best dad; he’s the best DAD in the UNIVERSE!”
My husband is also a critical member of my lap band support team.
Back in 2006, I toyed with the idea of weight loss surgery for months in silent seclusion before finding the nerve to discuss it with my husband, Tom. He had seen me lose and gain 50 or more pounds so many times before. I was embarrassed to bring it up the subject of weight loss surgery and afraid of how he would react. When I finally got the nerve to broach the subject, I was really surprised at his willingness to be open to the idea. He really only had one requirement – If I was considering surgery it needed to be for my health; if I was improving my chances for long term health, he would support it.
It wasn’t until years later, when I began thinking about the idea of paying it forward and sharing my story with the Banded Living community that I asked him what it was really like to be the spouse of someone going through weight loss surgery, what was the impact on his day to day life? I was a little surprised by his answer. My husband told me that my attention had shifted, I spent a lot more of my time and energy focused on me and how to be successful with this tool; I had a lot less time and energy to focus my attention on him. That surprised me, but it was definitely true. Our lives are busy with 2 young children, careers, and day to day responsibilities. As I spent more of my time and energy focused on myself, my needs, my meals, my exercise, my support group meetings, my doctor’s appointments and my new lap band community, my attention shifted. I share this because it’s something I didn’t anticipate and didn’t understand at the time. It’s something worth thinking about on your own weight loss surgery journey. “This life-changing decision really impacts spouses, partners, and those close to you.”
My husband was and continues to be a critical member of my lap band support team. But, it hasn’t always been easy for him. He helped me research my surgery options. He listened to my fears and dealt with his own fears. He held my hand in pre-op; he was there when I woke up from surgery. He helped keep things normal for our kids during those early post-op days. He talked with my surgeon about the surgery, and listened to what he would need to do to support me on my journey. He covered for me as I got used to the changes in my life. He helped me make the decisions about who to tell and who not to tell. Ultimately he protected me by helping me keep my secret, since I chose to keep my lap band surgery private. He worked with me to make sure I had the right foods on hand, and was patient as I learned to work my tool. He planned around my support group meetings, doctor’s appointments, and exercise schedule.
It’s not like my husband hadn’t seen my lose weight before; he was used to seeing me shrink then pile the pounds back on. He shared a closet with a woman who kept clothes in more than a dozen sizes. Still he cheered me on as my body changed. A year or so into my journey he began calling me his amazing shrinking wife. I realized he was really proud of me. He was proud of what I accomplished; he saw that I was healthy – not starving, and let’s face it, he couldn’t help notice that he liked the way I looked. That helped me begin to slowly let go of my fears of regaining. We both began to believe that this really was different than all the other diets I had ever been on.
My husband is my greatest supporter. He has worked hard as a member of my lap band support team. I don’t know how I would have achieved “results not typical” without his help. I definitely underestimated the impact of my surgery on his day to day life, and I am forever grateful for his unwavering support. Going through this journey together has brought us closer than ever.
Now in my fourth year, my decision to have lap band surgery is still a big part of my life. And my husband has been there at every step along this journey. I love that in return I have been able to give him a fit, strong, healthy wife. But I also now understand that this journey has NOT been only about me.
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