I was sleeved on August 13, 2013. I will forever now refer to this date as my ReBirthday. I truly feel that this surgery has given me the tools I needed to be physically reborn. November 13, 2013 I hit my 3 month post op anniversary. My weight on August 1st when I started my pre-surgery diet was 244lbs and I wore a size 20 (and even some 22’s). As of yesterday, 11/21/13, I am down to 187lbs and into a 14 on bottom and a medium on top. I feel amazing! I got off the scale and did a happy dance as I stood naked in the bathroom! It feels awesome to know how far I have come! I’m finally actually seeing it when I look in the mirror.
Its funny how my mind hasn’t quite caught up to the significant changes that my body has made. I still pick up a pair of size 14 jeans, look at them and think to myself “there is no possible way that those will fit me”. Then I try them on….and they fit! Even without me having to lay on the bed and suck in my stomach to get them on. And even better than that, I can breath after I get them buttoned and zipped! Its such an amazing feeling. I have never been one for categorizing people, but I have been called “skinny” more than a few times lately and it feels great!
This journey has been amazing. I only know a few other people that have been sleeved. Sometimes I’m not sure if those closest to me really understand the struggle that this has been for me. I’m also not sure that they understand the excitement I feel when I lose that one extra pound that drops me into the next weight class…. like when I hit 189 lbs and broke into the 180’s.
I have been getting a lot of questions lately as I am starting to wear more “fitted” clothing and people are really noticing the difference. I guess that is to be expected after 57lbs! I am personally very open about my journey. I have no issue telling people, even strangers, that I have had the surgery (I completely understand this is a personal decision). I do always follow it up with – the size of my stomach only controls how much I eat. It doesn’t control WHAT I eat. It is interesting to me though. I tell people what I eat (4oz per meal 3 times a day, no caffeine, no sugar, no carbonation, recently I have been allowed to add in 1/2 cup non starchy veggies) and some people look at me in amazement, others question how one can survive on so little, some compliment me for having the will to stick to the diet and others comment that they could never survive on my diet. But what I continue to struggle with are those that have the audacity be negative in my presence. I was recently at a luncheon where someone asked why I wasn’t eating my meal. I began with “I’m on a very strict diet which includes only….”. There was one woman at the table who proceeded to tell me that my diet “wasn’t healthy”. I responded with “well it is a diet that I was given by my doctor”. Somehow I ended up sharing that I had recently been sleeved. As i was talking with another woman at my table who was genuinely interested in hearing more, I heard the woman who told me that my diet was “unhealthy” say under her breath to the woman next to her “That is ridiculous. I would never do that”. Those of you that know me should understand that it took EVERYTHING I had inside me to not SNAP OFF on this miserable woman. So YOU would never do it…great, that is your choice. It was my choice to proceed with the surgery. All I ask is that you respect my choice for me. Why is that so hard? Why do we as women feel the need to tear each other down instead of lift each other up? Wait….That’s an entirely different blog. Back to this one…..
The surgery was not fun for me. As a matter of fact there was a lot of pain associated with it. Physical and mental pain. It was a life changing decision that I had the COURAGE to make. It was not a decision that I took lightly. It was not an easy out. This decision took a lot of thought and consideration as well as knowing that I had the support of my husband and children. It was a decision that I made for me. A decision that would help decrease my chronic back pain. A decision that would allow me to run around after my 10 month old son. A decision that would allow my children to feel “proud” of how their mom looks. A decision to want to look and feel better for my husband (although he married me at 294lbs and has always made a point to tell me how beautiful I am). It was a decision that would allow me to take back control over not only my weight but also my life in general. I have other underlying medical issues (arthritis and chronic back pain as well as knee issues) where the heavier I am the more pain I am in. Every persons story is different. If you don’t know my full story how can you possibly comment on my decision. Even if you do know my story and you don’t agree with my decision, you have that right. You even have the right to try and rain on my parade. But guess what, I have the right to not allow your ignorance and negativity to impact me. That is what i choose to do.
I have recently found a few groups on Facebook for people who have been sleeved. The folks in this group are AMAZING! I have never personally met any of them, yet I have received more positive reinforcement, motivation and kudos from these folks in a very short period of time that I ever expected. In some ways, I have received more inspiration from them than from some people who are supposed to be my “friends”. I was thinking about this and reflecting on my experience and then it dawned on me. Those who have never been fat – yes I used the F word – simply can not relate to the struggles that someone who has had weight issues most of their life have had. I cannot expect someone who has never gone through this to “understand” my journey in a way that those who have experienced the F word first hand can. I’m ok with that. I have to be.
The people in these Facebook groups support each other in every way. I have seen messages from people who are at a stall with their weight loss and frustrated. The comments that come from others in the group are so encouraging and supportive that its amazing. I am so glad that I found these groups and grateful that I now have a support system that I never dreamed I would have. I am committed to being an active member of these groups and committed to providing encouragement to those who belong to these groups. I know when I am struggling and I need that encouragement, I will receive it right back.
I am also just now realizing the impact that my surgery has had on my family. My oldest son has recently lost about 20lbs. My husband has lost about 15lbs since my surgery. He actually thanked me just the other day for his weight loss. At first I didn’t really understand why he was thanking me. Since I am buying healthier foods at the grocery store, and eating less, everyone in the house eats less and eats healthier. My husband Brandon has been my rock through this journey. He tells me daily how beautiful I am (he even did this when I was 294lbs) and how much he loves me. He tells me daily how proud he is of me. Losing the weight has made me feel better about myself and that has positively impacted my relationships with my family members. Although my decision to be sleeved was initially about me, it has positively impacted my entire family. What a nice side effect!
My journey continues on a daily basis. There is always a new challenge. I want to thank all of you out there that continue to support me whether its through comments on this blog, Facebook, emails, phone calls, over lunch, or just by popping in my office to congratulate me because you saw my Facebook status. Please know that I truly appreciate that you take time out of your day to acknowledge me and my journey.
As always, please feel free to share my blog with anyone who may be interested. Also please feel free to leave comments.
Until the next post……
The picture below is my before and after shot. The before shot was taken August 1st, 2013 at 244lbs and the after shot was taken November 16, 2013 when I was down to 190lbs. I have since lost another 3lbs.