Well, in two days it is my anniversary…of what, you ask? I’m a single lady so, it’s clearly not relationship related. I was never a big drinker (although, I do enjoy my wine these days) so, it has nothing to do with sobriety…sit back and I’ll regale you with a tale.
Most of my friends and family know my story. They know I was a slightly chubby child who eventually grew into a super-morbidly obese adult. I was legitimately one step away from being the next star of “My 600 lb Life”. It is for that reason, My 600 lb Life both mortifies and motivates me and I tend to watch it, while I am running on the treadmill.
Life as a super-morbidly obese person of roughly 500lbs is NOT normal. The things that people take for granted every day are things which I couldn’t do. I’m not talking running marathons or scaling mountains – I simply mean walking from the car to the store without passing out OR just being able to fit into a restaurant booth. If I didn’t lack confidence already, it would have certainly been tested with the looks I was given during the times I reluctantly went out in Public.
Bullies not only exist in the schoolyard, folks. They are alive and well in adulthood; they point, stare, tut and call me names – both to my face AND behind my back.
All of the above felt like a dagger through my heart. Each and every time.
After a while, you become accustomed to it and the hurt is just a normal part of life. You see someone staring and know they are trying to determine how you’ve let yourself get that big. It doesn’t matter to them that you have a life-threatening illness which caused you to gain a massive amount of weight due to high-dosages of prednisone OR the fact you are carrying the psychological weight of a lot of stressors in your life; including a very ill husband and a Mom who was fighting cancer…they just look at you and see a big, fat, lazy slob…BUT, you just brush it off and head to the closest fast-food drive through to sit in your car and cry your way through enough deep-friend crap to feed a family of four.
These people were oblivious jerks…eating junk food was kind of like the best-friend who stood up to the jerks for me. Junk food also provided that sweet, sweet comfort with every euphoria-inducing bite. Unfortunately, although it provided comfort and made me feel like I could conquer the world, it also liked to overstay its welcome by attaching itself to my hips, thighs, stomach, toes…you name it, it latched on.
Nothing worse than a super-clingy friendship. Yikes.
SO. In July 2013 I made the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. I decided to attend the Bariatric Surgery Program orientation session. This was the exact motivation that I needed. Under the direction of Raleen Murphy, the AWESOME Nurse Practitioner who is the lead for the program, I started the program’s recommended diet…and lost 100lbs!
I was feeling good. I was feeling healthy. I was feeling hope.
Then, on March 3, 2014 I received a call that changed my life…I was being booked for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) surgery on March 24.
And, there you have it. I’m out of the closet…This is the anniversary to which I refer – also known as my surgiversary.
People are sometimes under the HUGE misconception that VSG is the ‘easy way out’ and that it provides some kind of ‘miracle cure’ but; I can tell you, it has been one of the hardest things I have endured, both physically AND mentally, in my entire life.
Vomiting becomes a normal way of life, as you start to learn how much food your new stomach can actually hold…Water consumption becomes absolutely crucial, although you can only hold 250ml at a time and always want more…Then, there’s the whole month-long COMPLETELY LIQUID diet, followed by a month-long MUSHY-FOODS diet.
Does it still sound like the easy way out?
How about those dearly-beloved foods that I consumed on the regular in my previous life that I can no longer stomach? Or, the special small-portion (i.e – kiddie menu) exceptions I need to be made for me during restaurant visits or meals with other people (because I NEVER share my VSG story, out of embarrassment). AND, don’t even get me started on the whole no carbonation (EVER) thing.
Rest in Peace, Coke Zero.
So, if this STILL sounds like the “easy way out”, I can’t help but feel that the perception of easy vs. hard is a little wonky.
VSG is a tool. Just like Weight Watchers OR Atkins OR even Canada’s Food Guide – it is a tool designed to teach you proper eating habits. We, as a general population, do not consume even close to the recommended portion size…it’s actually frightening. No wonder childhood obesity is an epidemic. Between the high-cost of healthy foods, which are not always available to lower-income families, to the only activity that kids are getting is a good finger workout from videogames or texting.
So, along with regular exercise, I diligently use my tool, which DOES help with portion control but, generally has no say in what consume. I could easily just eat small portions of junk food all day, if I felt so inclined, but, the bariatric program also teaches you healthy eating habits. So, these days, my small portions usually consist of protein and lots of nutritious veggies.
Bite me, Big Mac.
I figured my two-year surgiversary was a good time to let out my secret and also to let people know that I am NOT ashamed – I am PROUD. This is NOT plastic surgery and it is NOT an easy fix. I have put in A LOT of hard work (and continue to do so) and have come a very long way to this new, much-healthier me.
Just watch me.