For many years I had looked on people taking the plunge to have weight loss surgery with envy. I couldn’t believe how lucky they were to be having that intervention. Little did I realise that for them it must have been a huge decision and a decision that was not made easily. I simply was jealous that they were having it. At that stage in my life I couldn’t make that decision but rather just felt that they were “lucky”. It never occurred to me that they had had to think about it and make a financial decision or a personal decision…they were just lucky!
The final straw, the catalyst, was the loss of my mother. My mum was my life. I loved her dearly. Mum had battled her weight for her whole life. Looking back, she was never excessively large, but her weight did impact her life and consequently, mine. Mun passed away due to complications of diabetes. Following her death my husband told me that he wanted me to get weight loss surgery. I was so relieved but also concerned about the financial cost.
My weight was making me miserable. Plain and simple. I hated myself and what I had become. The heavier I became the more miserable I became. The heavier I got the less I could do. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t bothering me, but it was. I hated myself. I was embarrassed for my husband and my children but still I couldn’t do anything about it. I was paralysed with fear and loathing. I hated myself and what I had become. I hated anyone who commented on my weight. I was also living on pain killers. I convinced myself that the pain killers were necessary because of a toll my work had taken on my body, but the reality was that I had taken a toll on my body. I refused to give in, I kept insisting that I could still do everything I wanted to, but I couldn’t. I could no longer enjoy my family and family activities. I was beginning to sit out things and not join in, and I hated it…. I hated myself. What I didn’t realise until I started talking about the surgery was how concerned all my family was. They were scared that I wouldn’t live. My daughters thought I wouldn’t see them married, let alone my grandchildren.
Following the death of my mother I returned to my doctor and told him that I wanted to pursue weight loss surgery. He provided me with names of some specialists of which he was aware. I decided to research the names given and was not happy. To this day I’m not certain how I came across Siva Gounder but I’m eternally grateful that I did. I am a health professional. I know that there are good and bad in the business and that a doctor’s reputation is only as good as the person making the recommendation. One unhappy customer can be fatal. With Siva, I found no feedback. Nothing. It was like he was flying under the radar. As a health professional myself I have seen the development of new “boys on the block” and was happy to proceed. I was not disappointed.
My first visit occurred at the end of June and I was offered the chance for an endoscopy on my daughters 21st birthday. Without thinking I accepted. I was keen and excited to move forward. I had planned a High Tea to celebrate the 21st but instead I was in hospital. Does my daughter feel anger, I don’t think so, it was a journey we needed, as a family, to make? I needed to make, otherwise I would see no other milestones. Am I being melodramatic….no! I’m being honest. I was killing myself. The endoscopy was a week following the initial appointment. The surgery was optional…but I was able to choose the date to fit in with my work schedule.
From the initial appointment to the weight loss surgery was 5 weeks. I did not hesitate. I did not think. I just did. Staff were excellent. They had all the answers. There was no question to which they didn’t know the answer. The process was smooth as silk.
My husband. My husband is a chef and as such, food is nurture. He has spent his life making things better with food, but this is not something that food makes better, it makes it worse. Not only did I have to adjust to the serving sizes but so did he. He struggled with the fact that I simply could not eat what he considered to be a minuscule serving.
The first time I went out for a meal. This was a 21st celebration and I was scared. Fortunately, we all chose an entrée and then we shared the mains. In this way, I was able to enjoy the meal without drawing to attention the fact that eating was different. Eating was not an issue, rather it was different.
Facebook. Lose it! Turn it off! There were elements of Facebook that were beneficial and as an information-seeking service it was great, but it was also negative. All the heroes deserved a medal as they made the journey smoothly and were now experts. Nothing like them to make you feel like a failure…that’s right…the failure you were before and now continue to be. Turn it off.
Be honest! I never hid the fact that I had the surgery. I found it so much easier to be honest. My weight difficulties had been no secret, so I saw no point in hiding my surgery. I believe that it was easier. People were patient with my food choices and were willing to share with me. No questions were needed, no elaborate lies. Just patience and understanding.
Recovery was difficult. I had read on Facebook all the individuals that bounced back and had no issues, so when I found myself slow and sluggish and sore, I felt that I was being difficult. The truth of the matter is that I needed to get off Facebook. Everyone is an individual and needs to travel their own journey. I needed to have a division of adhesions’; I had the SIPS procedure. Everyone is on their own journey and everyone responds differently. As a health professional, I know this, but I could not nurture myself. The guilt of having gotten to this point is immense and self-blame is huge.
Why the hell did I do this? OMG look at the weight loss…OMG…I feel better….OMG….why didn’t I do this sooner
I have my life back. I can now be myself. I can plan for my future. I am planning on doing Everest Base camp and the Kododa Trail. I want to live. I am alive.
It was life-changing. I now can look forward to the future. I know that there is a future. Before I was a walking time bomb. I still have health issue but I know that there is likely to be a positive outcome whereas before, the weight made it virtually impossible to have a positive outcome. I am now planning to live. I can skydive without having to think about having to organise a special weight jump; I can parasail without having to jump on the scales first; the seat belt in economy fits me! I’m back at university, I have the energy to burn.
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