Up to 11 – Fear ain’t gonna stop me

Surgery is in less than 5 full days. And I am so very anxious and fear is creeping back in. Yesterday I saw a post of the lovely Lacy Lange on Facebook that gave me a lot to think. Funny how it popped up on my wall just when I really needed it.

Mission Of Fear

Let me tell you a bit about myself, that you might or might not know.

I have been overweight since I was like 5 years old. The first time a doctor told me about surgery and asked if I would consider it I was 18. Now that has been 20 years ago. Weight Loss surgery was way different back then and it was less routine, less safe, less proven. The thought of surgery alone was so scary that I carried that fear with me for these last 20 years. And many other fears crept in in that time. Fear of failure, fear of not making it, fear of disappointing myself or those who love me and many many more.

These fears have held me back so badly, I realized how many fear layers are clouding my view by now. Many things that seem normal to other people I didn’t do out of fear. Like I don’t go outside out of fear of the looks of people seeing that fat sweaty pig in public. One would think that after such a long time, over 30 years of being overweight, I would have gotten used to it, but no I haven’t. My skin got thicker, but it’s not made of metal. A lot still gets to me.

But fear has stopped me from doing things for a very long time.

So when it came to the decision if I want to have surgery or not it was hard, very hard. One does not just overcome 20 years of fears. One of the things that swayed me, in the end, was another fear, one that was stronger. That fear was founded in the medically sound estimation of not getting more than 5 – 10 more years of life due to the side effects of my morbid weight.

Ever since I made the decision I was at peace with it. Now I know it was just the whole ‘It’s far away’ thinking. Now it’s only days away and fears keep creeping up, dreams are unsettling and I am anxious up to 11. Despite the bigger fear driving me to do this, surgery is not without risks. And everything after will be a HUGE change. I am scared shitless. My dear friend Jessica said, that she would be surprised if I weren’t anxious and nervous. And she is right.

So right now I am keeping myself sane by telling myself that these doctors know what they are doing, that they have been doing this for a long time with many many patients and that the upsides of this surgery outweigh the small possibility of something bad happening.

After over 30 years of living in fear and letting it stop me, I refuse to do that any longer. I refuse to live for a fear of something that has not happened yet. So Monday will be here soon and my new life will begin. It won’t be without challenges, it won’t be without scary moments, but going with Lacy’s post, I will no longer embrace this fear and letting it stop me from living my life.

F.U. Fear, I’m getting my life back.

 

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Never to eat like normal people again?

Another nugget I caught on my binge of “My 600lb life” that resonated with me. I actually don’t remember who said it in which episode, but the voice over was something along the lines of

“I can’t believe I’ll never be able to eat like normal people again.”

My first thought was “Same, girl, same!” with a big sigh and the longing look to the fridge. She had said that in the progress of doing her “Food farewell tour” in which she wanted to eat all the things she loved because she most likely won’t be able to after surgery ever again. From my nutritionist classes, I know that many people do that and I had considered the same but decided against it – which isn’t as easy as I make it sound.

So that one comment made me think – yeah I know it’s dangerous 😉

The one thing that I came to realize was: Gurl, we never ate like normal people! Or rather like healthy people, since normal is even more relative.

It is not normal or healthy to eat a family size pizza, couple of burgers and fries and call that a snack. It isn’t normal or healthy to eat so much that you are about to throw up because you are so full and half an hour feel like you’re starving. It is not normal or healthy to eat so much that you gain 80 kilos in not even two years.

Sidenote: I am not food shaming, that is all stuff that I did. I am all for not depriving yourself. After surgery, there might be things that you won’t be able to eat because your stomach doesn’t like them anymore. But while you want to eat healthily, it still should be fun and pleasure. Just not to the addiction degree. Now if you know that certain foods will trigger you into not being able to control yourself, might be a good idea to not even start with them. But what I mean is the whole “if you don’t have a problem with that food” to have a bite of a small piece won’t kill you. I thought too I’d have to give up everything, but my nutritionist disagreed, my surgeon disagreed, so I believe them.
I know that with the little room I’ll have in my stomach, I will want to make sure I am not filling it with crap. And thankfully for many things, there are healthy alternatives without having to eat like a rabbit (nothing wrong with it if you are into that, but I am not lol).

But right now, the thought of eating like a normal person is weird, because my fat brain is convinced it is eating normally now, while I know that as a matter of fact… I have no idea how a normal person eats because I have never been one and nobody in my family is one either.

So I think what my brain actually is trying to say “I can’t believe I won’t ever be able to eat like I use to know again.” So the unknown is coming and that is scary but also exciting at the same time. I can’t wait.

Support is so important but…

As I said in my last post I’ve been watching a lot of “My 600lb life” and I keep watching, binging til the end. To my utter surprise, this show provides a lot of insights, many things that make me think. And this is another one of them.

From the start of the journey when talking with the Psychologist, it has been stressed that a support network is super important because this journey will be hard and even harder alone.

Even during these last six months in which I went through preparations, I was able to see how true that is. If I had to go through all of it alone it would be so incredibly hard. To be able to talk with friends, with like-bodied people, with my partner was crucial. Since my boyfriend does all the shopping right now it was vital that he was on my side to buy the right stuff and help me to not fall back onto the wrong tracks like so many many times before. I have a great network all over the world, basically no matter the time of the day or night, someone is there to catch me if I fall. Nobody has to do this for me, but they want to and I can’t put into words how much that means to me and how much I appreciate that. The generosity literally brings tears to my eyes.

So yes, support is vital, it’s crucial. Not to forget therapy – which I still try to get, waiting lists everywhere.

Now comes the but, the but that is the hardest to work on, to accept and not to push away. Support is important but…

All the support in the world doesn’t help if you yourself don’t support yourself. When you yourself don’t put in the work. There is support, and then there is dependency. And to see the difference can be really hard when you are the one in this situation.

If you put the success or failure on someone else’s shoulders, that’s dependency. If you think that if someone leaves you will fail again, that’s dependency. If your friend has no time to talk to you when you are in a crisis and you blame it on them that you went back to food, that is a dependency. If you say that you can’t eat healthy because your partner eats fast food, that is a dependency. It would be nice if the whole household would eat the stuff you eat, it would be nice if they would be around you 24/7 to make sure you eat healthily, move your body, sleep enough… but you are doing this journey for yourself. You change your life to live. If someone else follows that is their decision to make and you can’t depend on what they do to succeed.

Believe me, it’s a hard pill to swallow for me too. For many years I have said ‘If Michael doesn’t go outside with me, I don’t want to go either.’ or ‘If he can eat pizza, I want pizza too.’

I have to learn that I have to make my own decisions, kick my own butt into action if he does it with me or not. Don’t get me wrong, he does a lot to make this easy for me but I know he won’t always be able to. He has to work and can’t go outside with me, or he wants to eat something different. But I have to be okay with that if I want to get where I want to be.

So support is fantastic, it’s important, just don’t rely so much that you get dependent on it. Fight your struggles, push yourself, get your ass up and make smart choices. Not always, we are not robots, you will tumble, but stand back up.

Be your own best cheerleader, drill sergeant, and confidant! You got this!

 

“The blame game” or “Cause and Reaction”

I’ve been going back and forth about posting this, but since I am sharing my story, I want it to be the whole story. This post might trigger some folks so spoiler warning it is talking about eating disorder, abuse and bullying – though I don’t go into much detail.

Many of you will most likely either have heard about or watched “My 600lbs life”. I have heard about it for years but never watched it, which I changed this week. I’m binging through the episodes like it’s my job. Some of these stories are hitting home too hard, some of them make me cheer out loud, some of them infuriate me so far I want to punch the person it is about, or their enabling partner, or their teasing mothers or well you get the gist. But every now and then something in those episodes kicks something off in my mind and leads to a revelation, my own “Aha!” moments.

One of them was last night. One of the candidates had a session with a therapist who asked her what she thinks has started her weight gain. So I started to think. It was hard because I have been overweight since I was about 5 years old. At least that is the age I remember being. I saw pictures of an even younger self and I looked regular sized, so that was about it.

33

It all seemed to be rooted in a saying we had in our family “If you don’t clean up your plate, there will be rain tomorrow.” It was combined with a ‘waste not’ attitude because we didn’t have much and were really poor. We lived off welfare, my mom took care of me and my sister, my dad worked when he wasn’t sick the odd job here and there or went to school to learn a different job when the one he had was not asked for any more. It was a hard time and back then just as now the cheap food is not always the best. And what we got, shouldn’t be wasted. So as a child learning that if you leave something on your plate is not only causing rain (yes I know it’s silly but I believed it for a long time, parents don’t like right?) but is waste of money we didn’t have, there is no question in eating up.

That is how it started. So after I figured that out, I wanted to know why it didn’t stop. Why did it go on? And memories crept up. I didn’t like it but I understand it is important to work through these emotions and not to turn to food to numb them down.

When I started school I already was too heavy for my age. I was only 6 and learned how cruel kids could be. I was the youngest in my class but also the heaviest and tallest. I was the giant, a joke and a freak in the eyes of others. And kids showed that to me daily through words, looks, laughing and pointing. I got bullied for being the fat girl as long as I remember. And it made me sad and angry. Thing was that in our family – while expression affection a LOT – we didn’t talk about negative feelings. It just wasn’t done, I still don’t know how. But I know that I still have a problem with that but I’m learning.

My way to deal was turning to food. Food was associated with home because we didn’t have the money to eat out. It was family time, with laughter and sharing about our days. It felt good. Home was safe, so food was safe.

That was until my mom got a problem. I don’t remember when exactly it began. She had anger issues. Sometimes she drank, it was part of her job she had taken on part-time, sometimes it was a result of that, sometimes it wasn’t. She always seemed to be angry and that was when the beatings started. My sister and I got a lot of those. With reasons, without reasons. I was always afraid. Someone raised a hand (be it a wave or not) and I flinched. I didn’t feel safe at home anymore, I was bullied outside.

Good was still safe. It was a different, a better home that I knew from my childhood. It made me happy, woke memories of the times when everything had been alright in those moments of dinner time. It calmed me down, it was like a vacation in my own little world in which all was fine.

And that was what it remained to be to this day. No matter what happened, the good things, the bad things, food was there. It was there to comfort, to soothe, to celebrate. And with that, I grew and grew.

It is hard to look at the past and figure out how it started. I am trying hard to not shift blame to everyone else, or to circumstances. I put the food in my mouth, I know that it would have been in my power to change, to act differently. The blame game doesn’t help anyone. But it is important to know the ‘Why’, so I can identify moments in which it could happen again, to do better in the future. Or now. I am proud to have identified why I was so sad, so upset while thinking about my beginnings and I haven’t turned to food this time.

A great start.

 

 

Surgery Brain

There is this thing, you keep hearing about on TV, in series and movies. The so called babybrain. That’s usually happening to moms after they had their baby a bit, talking only about these babies and what they are doing all day, using baby language and what not.

Creative Intelligence Mind Idea Think Human Brain

Well right now I have surgery brain. I do hear though it’s common, just hope it’ll go away after some time. How does that look like? Well, I pride myself to be a humorous, intelligent woman who knows some stuff about a lot of things and I just LOVE chatting with my friends about everything in the sky.

For the last two or three months my brain goes like “I know other things to talk about than my upcoming surgery… but what are they??” Luckily when someone else starts a subject, I am joining in just fine, so I’m not completely useless. 😉

If you went through surgery, or are in the process, have you been experiencing surgery brain? Please tell it gets better. Lie to me if you must. No don’t, or maybe do. 😉

Surgery Approved and Date!! Excitement unleashed

((Public Service Announcement: If I am writing all caps it is because I am super excited, not yelling.. okay yelling in excitement!))

OMG MY SURGERY HAS BEEN APPROVED AND I GOT A DATE!!!!!!!

So yeah, I got a call in the middle of the morning – I am a night owl so it actually woke me up – from the MIC Clinic with the great news of my insurance approving the surgery. I was over the moon because I was really was nervous about them declining for stupid reasons. Everyone who sees me or reads my stats knows I need this. Either way, that wait is over.

Today I had my last pre-appointment at the clinic. A chat with my surgeon and my anesthetist later I finally have my date: June 25th!

Surgery_date

First I thought it is still soooo long, but then I have to do two more things to take care of. For one I have to get an exercise EKG and echocardiogram from one doctor and a new small bloodwork from another. Other than that I am all set!

I’m excited beyond belief. It’s going forward, and in a bit more than a month I’ll be on the other side 😀

Getting there

This is just a super quick update. I have been anxious I handed my paperwork in at the Adipositas center. It took a long time and I already thought that I had done something wrong or things were missing but eventually the paperwork was sent to my insurance.

The person in charge for my proposal sent me a letter to confirm that they got the paperwork and had sent it in to the medical assessment office. I actually had to check online why they had done this and if that is normal. And yes it was. The people at the insurance have no medical knowledge, or little, so they ask the experts if the surgery is medically necesarry. You know I get that, but if you look at my data which was included, you see a 6’3” tall woman with over 470lbs on their bones. Who needs a doctor to know that I need this? Well they do apparently.

It took another week when I finally heard something. In the morning – I had just slept for 2 hours – my boyfriend woke me with the phone in his hand. The clinic! I was wide awake right away. They informed me that the insurance has approved the surgery, which means they pay for it and it can finally happen!

Before even getting a surgery date I have to have a pre-check appointment with the anaesthesiologist and the surgeon. Those will happen on the 22nd this month. On that day I am supposed to get my surgery date. If you ask me they can just keep me there and get it over with. I can hardly wait!