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A Tummy Tale
Stuff ‘N Nonsense 6-23-21

If you’ve been following my column, you know I recently did something that some might consider reckless, scary, and unfathomably dangerous, but will change my health for the better if I can get through the seven weeks of required healing.

Okay, you say, what the heck did you do?

Time for transparency.

I went to Mexico and sold a kidney — hey, don’t worry, I have two so it’s all good — just kidding, but I did go to Mexico and have 85 percent of my stomach removed.

Why did I travel to another country to have a perfectly good organ irrevocably altered?

Well, the quick answer is that, it wasn’t a perfectly functioning organ.

The long answer is, well, complicated.

I’ll try to sum up.

For the past 20 years I’ve dealt with a host of metabolic disorders that have made my life miserable, decimated my self-esteem and rocked the core of who I am as a person. My condition had confounded doctors as the traditional methods of care — diet, exercise and medication — yielded zero results.

Over the years, I’ve done, Zumba, CrossFit, strength training, yoga, running, Pilates, HIIT training, low-carb, intermittent fasting, caloric deficit, Noom, Weight Watchers, and intuitive eating plans.

In retaliation, my conditions worsened.

I enjoy being active, but my body was shutting down.

By the time I made the drastic decision (with the support of my primary care physician and my endocrinologist) my metabolism was an out-of-control freight train that had one final destination: the dead zone.

My blood pressure was skyrocketing, my entire body hurt every day, brain fog kept me from making deadlines, and I spent more time feeling helpless and hopeless than I did powerful and in charge. My ADHD was off the charts, my Hashimoto antibodies were climbing, and I was tachycardia most days.

My endocrinologist suspected a ghrelin receptor malfunction, sending bad programming to my brain. The gastric sleeve was a surefire way to end the receptor error.

I had a window of opportunity that was quickly closing to make a change that would help my future self and I took it.

By George, I grabbed that opportunity with both hands and held on with a vicious grip, determined to make it happen.

But now the true climb to wellness starts. One mistake can have fatal consequences. I am extremely mindful of the severity of what I’ve done but I can already feel myself getting stronger, day-by-day, even if it’s a slow process.

I tire easily but my body doesn’t scream at me from the moment I open my eyes to the second I close them. My brain fog is clearing. My blood pressure has stabilized beautifully. My heartrate is normal and even.

What I did was hard but living another minute trapped in a body that was trying to kill me, wasn’t an option.

I have too many joyful moments to seize in the second half of my life to allow such a crushing and ignoble defeat of my spirit.

So, here I am: healing, learning, and growing into a better version of myself — all because I had the courage to run for the tiny light at the end of a long tunnel.

If I can do it, so can you.

I’m an open book. If you have questions, please feel free to ask.


Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.