My Journey as a Support Person
I used to hear people say things like “My spouse is my best friend!” or “I just couldn’t live without my husband!” I always thought phrases like this were corny and held no real meaning until I met my husband. We met in high school and it really was love at first sight. We were immediately inseparable. We were married four years later. We have been married for nineteen years and now the phrase “He’s my best friend!” or “I couldn’t live without him!” are phrases I speak all the time.
For him the decision to have bariatric surgery was very difficult. He felt like he was “giving in” or “giving up”. He always wanted to lose the weight on his own so when he decided to have surgery he felt like a failure. Being his spouse I felt like I too had let him down in some way. I have always tried to support him in whatever he did but I felt like maybe I should have pushed him more. Once he made the decision to have the surgery I knew my role as support person would be just as important as his role. I had to prepare myself for the challenge. I studied and read all of the information I could get my hands on about weight loss surgery. The New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery has a lot of great resources on their web site.
A lot of people have asked what his breaking point was, what made him decide to do it? You’ll have to ask him, I just know for me it was an answer to a prayer. I knew as a nurse if he didn’t do something to lose weight and keep it off permanently that he would not live a long life. He had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, severe sleep apnea and a strong family history Type II diabetes.
Josh scheduled the consultation and we went together to see Dr.Boyce and it was wonderful. Dr. Boyce recommended the BPD/DS for Josh. I’ll never forget his words to him because we were asking how much weight he may lose. What are the chances that he may regain weight? Dr. Boyce felt like he would be most successful with the BPD/DS. He said “Josh I never want you to feel like a failure again, that’s why I think this is the best surgery for you!” Some of you may be saying she’s just saying that because she works there. This all took place before my employment and it was Dr. Boyce’s compassion for my husband that encouraged me to change careers after fifteen years.
Josh did all the tests, completed the six months of medically supervised diet and all of the insurance requirements. It was time to send it off to the insurance for approval. The day we got our approval in the mail we both cried. It was a new beginning. Now the real work begins. Pay the program fee, schedule surgery, come to diet class, and see Kristine the nurse practioner for his pre-op exam.
It moves very fast from here. I can tell you my role changed daily. Some days I would hold his hand and tell him he could do this and other days I was the drill sergeant screaming at him that he had come this far and there was no turning back now. The days immediately following surgery were the hardest. Again there were days we both cried but I would say this as a support person, you have to be strong for both of you. They chose you and they need you to be strong. My husband has never had to rely on me like he did the days after surgery. I helped him shower, I gave him his drinks, I helped him to the bathroom, and there were no barriers between us. It made us closer and our marriage stronger than ever.
My husband recently had his six month anniversary and I am very happy to say that he is down 160 lbs. from his beginning weight here at the office. My role as support person hasn’t changed that much. I still help him make sure he gets that right amount of protein and I cook food that he can eat and stay within his food recommendations. I am his biggest fan and cheerleader. Our kids and families have been great supporters as well. This has been a life changing experience for all of us. We are no longer the family that sits around and just watches TV. We are very active. We have taken up hiking and walking. The best part is I know my husband is going to live a long healthy life with me and I will get to be his support person for a long time.
Kelly Narramore, LPN.