Ok, I feel like it is time to come clean with my Spark family.
I know I have posted previously about failed attempts, and wake-up calls, and the like, and it seems like I just haven't made any progress. I would drop pounds, and while on hiatus, gain them back. I think it's safe to say we have all been there.
But up until a few weeks ago, I just thought this was my life. That nothing was going to change. I would continue to try to drop significant amounts of weight and pray and work hard to keep them off - AND if I failed to do so, I'd start all over again. Because quitting has never been an option...
Or has it been?
I mean, let's look at all of the things I just accepted I would never do again (at least until I dropped weight which I couldn't visualize):
-Ride roller coasters
-Ride a bike
-Sit in most arena/theater seats
-(recently) sit in most waiting room chairs
-Shop in a normal store for anything but socks
and yet....I still wasn't willing to ask for help. And that's the thing...In letting my pride get in the way, or my ignorance, was I REALLY just "quitting slowly"?
I know... I've probably lost most of you by now, but I promise I am getting to my point.
Weight loss surgery.
I know I have had some very stern views of weight loss surgery in the past, MAYBE even in some of these blogs. I've always said that "You can do it with hard work, and you don't need surgery unless there is something health wise keeping you from losing weight" like joint issues, not being able to walk, etc. "You just need to work harder!" I would tell my computer when I would read others contemplating the decision. And of course, when anyone would suggest it to me, that was my response, "I just need to keep trying, I need to work harder!"
As if to say, I am not doing enough.
If you know anything about me, it is that "I am not enough" are 4 words that have haunted every part of my psyche. I have never, and I mean never, felt as if I was "enough". So, if I was working out, eating right, and still not dropping weight - I, and I alone, was to blame and needed to fix my own problem.
Now, let me jump in here and add that I have an amazingly supportive husband who has seen me struggle with my weight for the past 6+ years. He has seen me work, and work, and seen the scale refuse to budge. He would ask if I had thyroid problems that are keeping me from dropping the weight I "should" be dropping. He is on board with this surgery 100%.
But about the surgery - and coming to that decision, because that was NOT an easy one to make. I started wondering how many people 200 lbs overweight lose the majority of their weight and keep it off, and thinking about the future while watching "Say Yes to the dress" and this lady came on who'd received gastric bypass and lost over 115 lbs. She LOOKED AMAZING! And yet.... she was unhappy. She had SERIOUS mommy issues, and I felt like shaking her through my TV. (Now, this might seem weird, but I talk to myself or think out loud when I am alone... sometimes it leads to some interesting discoveries about myself *achem, achem*) and started telling myself "The surgery fixed her weight, but not her problem! She was over eating because she was not feeling loved by her mom!" ....
And I would know all about that, wouldn't I...
I started to realize that when I was 5 and 6, after my mom got married and her husband hated me, I wouldn't eat what they were eating. She called me a picky eater, and would cook a whole dinner for me, and one for them, and suddenly I felt important to her. I had her attention. I was little. I wanted my mom.
As I got older, it turned into a way I could control feeling anything "good". She might ignore me, but food was always there.
A few years down the road, abusive boyfriend, eating to feel, and a gain of almost 80 lbs!
And since then, there have been rocky points in my family life (centering around my mother) that I have gained 20-30 lbs or so. The timelines added up...
Now, on Mother's Day, we (siblings, hubby, and my mom) had a huge heart to heart and ....
She finally apologized.
(I am crying as I type this because that is still so amazing. I never thought I would hear those words from her.)
After that, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.
I can finally let go.
Let go of the times I felt unimportant, unloved, used, ignored, mistreated, insignificant, inferior, and unwanted.
I no longer have to feel those things.
I no longer have to feel like I am not "enough".
I can finally start to rebuild.
Now, don't misunderstand. Her words didn't magically fix my insecurities, but they quit adding "truth" to them.
I have been on a journey for some time now, one of self-discovery. I feel like I was trapped in a maze of doors and hallways and suddenly I turn the corner, and there she is, my MOM, holding out her hand, and leading me to the exit, where there is a beautiful world I can finally experience. Like I am seeing the sky for the first time.
And this poor woman on this TV show was still trapped. I started telling myself, "See, if you had this surgery, your mommy issues are already dealt with so you'd be ok"... and then for the first time in a really long time, I imagined what it would be like to have WLS (weight loss surgery).
I feel like I am so much more in tune with my feelings and emotions than I ever have been in my life, and I know how wonderful therapy is, and if I felt trapped, I could go to my therapist and talk it out.
I started by telling myself, "I would be fine, but I would never have WLS," and then I started to ask myself, "Why not?"
(Inner dialogue time)
"Well, you don't have any reason you can't work out!"
---"Except my knees, and my back, and my feet..."
"But there are ways around that! You just have to try harder."
---"When have I ever "not" tried? I have always tried on some level."
"Yeah, but ..."
---"No really! I still only allow sweets and fried foods in moderation, I love freggies, I did go back on soda but I have backed off again."
"Well, then it's fine. You're fine..."
---"No. I'm not. I'm 200 lbs overweight. I am not fine. I have never been fine. I need help."
"If you've never been fine, why haven't you asked for help? What help?"
---"I've never asked because I think if I asked for help I would be admitting that I am not perfect. That I can't do it on my own. But that's ok. I would rather ask doctors for help than stay this way or get bigger."
"But you don't need to ask now..."
---"If not now, then when? When I am 35 and in a wheelchair because I can't walk anymore? When I am ashamed and embarrassed for my kids cause I can't chaperone their field trip because I can't walk through the Zoo without needing a break every 10 minutes? When will enough be enough?"
And just like that, I allowed myself to really think about surgery. As I thought more about doctors and specialists helping design food plans, and exercise routines, and support, I felt this feeling of relief and peace wash over me.
The lady on "Say Yes to the Dress" saved me.
For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am important enough to save.
I started researching, thinking I wanted something like Lapband, something reversible. The more I read, the more I wanted to stay away (no offense to banders out there). Then was gastric bypass, but I knew about the malabsorption issues and I also know I am not done having kids. I cannot imagine being pregnant and worrying that the baby isn't getting enough nutrients. (No offense to RNY'ers), so that left the vertical sleeve gastrectomy.
Basically, removing about 80-85% of the stomach creating a small pouch, but no change to the digestive path, eliminating almost all of the malabsorption issues. Supplements are still needed, but you still get nutrients from food. And, studies show weight loss similar to RNY (gastric bypass), so that was nice.
I started watching YouTube videos, vlogs from real people who documented everything from pre-op to weekly or monthly updates.
It feels right.
I told some friends, and when I told them, they were less than enthusiastic. I heard some of the same arguments I'd told myself for years. "You just have to try harder." But unlike before, I don't believe that now. I know better than anyone ever will how hard I have tried. That is why this is my decision to make. I told them I loved them and wanted them to know, but with all due respect, I wasn't asking for approval. They understood and are still willing to be there for me, despite their beliefs. I have really good friends.
So I know this was a long, heavy blog, but I needed to say this.
I am excited for this new chapter in my life.
I will have to wait until after the baby is born to start the pre-auth diets, etc, but I have already been in contact with a fantastic center and I believe I have found my surgeon. I feel so at peace with this decision. I can't even begin to tell you.
I am still going to continue to be as active as possible, eat right, etc, until this baby is born. Part of the decision to have the surgery is commitment. I feel like agreeing to this, I am making the ultimate commitment to my health. No matter what ups and downs come along, I will never be able to eat the way I have in the past again. Thanksgiving won't mean 3 or 4 servings, or 10-15 lbs. I will have a physical limitation to what I can fit in my body. I am going to have 3 kids to take care of. This is the best gift I can give myself, and yet, give them, because they won't have to deal with having a mom who can only watch from afar.
Extra skin vs this?
I'll take extra skin if it means getting my life back.
So, here comes the hard part. I know some of you might not agree with me, and that is ok. Hell, if you made it this far - I applaud you. But, the bottom line is, I will understand if some of you remove me from your friends list or feed. I won't take it personally. I wish you all the best, I really do.
Anyone who decides to stick it out with me, thank you. I have made such fantastic friends here. I love every one of you.