What a wild ride! on February 10, 2013 8:03 pm
I'm coming up on one year since my open RNY gastric bypass surgery (I had it on 2/28/2012). I had a followup with my primary-care physician today. I'm down from 257 to 143! 114 pounds lost in a little under one year. Every morning when I wake up, I say, Thank you, Lord, for this day. Quickly followed by, Thank you, Lord, that I'm SKINNY!
This is all new for me. I'd been heavy my whole life (since about the age of 6). I am SKINNY. I don't deny it. I'm proud of it. I am brave, I walked to the precipice & stepped off into the unknown. So none of this body dysmorphic disorder stuff for me. But I'm working at it, one day at a time.
If you're not familiar with the term body dysmorphic disorder or BDD, Wikipedia describes it as a disorder generally diagnosed in those who are excessively critical of their mirror image or body, although there may be no actual defect. Family, friends & others will typically disagree and may protest that there is no defect. In other words, someone like me who's had WLS (weight loss surgery) may look in the mirror & still see a fat person when, in fact, the person is now slim by anyone's standards.
I read about BDD years ago. I think I had it in reverse: I thought I was adorable! When I saw photos of myself, I cried inconsolably. I couldn't believe I looked like that (& yes, I have mirrors in my house). When I reacquainted myself with BDD just before I had my RNY, I realized I would have to work with myself, my doctors, & mental health professionals to get a grip on the reality that was to become the new me.
I do things like look - I mean really LOOK - at myself in the mirror. I never did that before I lost weight. Now my butt looks like two Sharpei puppies (& not in a good way) instead of two bowls of rising yeast bread dough, but dag it, I LOOK at the new me in the mirror. I do positive affirmations like, "Grrl... you look GREAT! You DID IT! You are adorable! I love you." Stop laughing! Seriously, I say this to my SKINNY, wrinkled, saggy, stretch-marked self. I look into my eyes when I say these things to myself. At first, I felt uncomfortable, & like I didn't really mean it. But, as we say in Overeater's Anonymous, fake it 'til you make it! A psychologist I once had said, "Behavior begets attitude." I believe it.
I also put my hands on my body. I realize I avoided this when I was heavy. I can remember being on an airplane in 2011 (before RNY). I had to sit with my arms crossed with my elbows resting on (one of) my spare tire(s) to avoid having my heavy upper arms infringe on my rowmates' seats. I had to try to stay this way on an 11-HOUR FLIGHT from Istanbul to Chicago! I didn't like feeling my own self in any way. How sad! This woman who raised 2 babies, loves 2 grandchildren, & opens my arms to anyone in need, & I couldn't allow myself to feel my own skin. My poor, dear, neglected self.
So now, I put my palms on my pelvic bones (yes! They're there! The last time I saw them was when I had a sonogram a month before my now-20-year-old son was born) & say, "Oh Lord, thank you Lord! I am SKINNY!" I wrap my hand (almost completely) around my upper forearm & see how my index finger & thumb almost touch. And I say, "I am SKINNY!" The first time I ever saw my knee bone I thought it was a bruise. True story! About a month after my surgery, I saw this bluish shadow on my knee & thought, "Heck! How'd I do THAT?" Then I realized: "HEY! That's my KNEE BONE!" I couldn't stop rolling the tips of my fingers on it. How cool! I can feel my bone! Like I said earlier, this is all new to me.
And I love it. I love ME!
| Leave a comment.
Addiction to food and/or alcohol: No simple answer... on July 7, 2012 1:06 pm
An OHer started a thread complaining about people not taking personal responsibility for their addictions. She complained that people too often blame that to which they are addicted (food, alcohol, drugs) or they blame the fact that they've had WLS for their transfer addiction.
I think this accusation leaves out one important thing: We are human beings, made of flesh & bone. We are fallible. We were born to make mistakes.
It also leaves out the fact that as humans, we need other humans to have a heart & reach out a hand in support in order to recover from our addictions.
In Alcoholics Anonymous we say alcohol is cunning, baffling & powerful.
Personal responsibility comes into play in so many facets of the human condition. It's part of the baffling part of alcohol (& other addictions, including food) that people from all walks of life - from the mail room clerk to the CEO - become addicts.
God willing, I'll celebrate my 26th year of sobriety next month. My father was an alcoholic & died of cirrhosis of the liver at 49. Within the last 5 years, scientists have discovered a gene in the DNA string that predisposes one to addiction. I knew in my gut - even when I was a teenager - that I shouldn't drink. But life happened, & in my weakness - & with an enemy that is cunning, baffling & powerful - I became an alcoholic in my early 20s.
Somehow, as I was drowning, I looked up (so far up) & saw the surface of the water with the sun shining on it. In my stupor I knew I wanted to be THERE, but I didn't know how to save myself. But I knew I wanted to be a good (single) mother to my young child, & I knew I couldn't stop drinking without help.
So that's what led me to the 12 steps in 1986.
There is so much about the workings of the body in relation to the brain & one's psyche that come into play when one speaks about addiction. Why does one become an addict? It's not just one thing - one's upbringing, one's genetic predisposition - that can provide the answer to this question.
In my personal experience in practicing the 12th step in AA & Overeaters Anonymous, I know for a fact that compassion & patience with the addict is the only way to help someone get sober.
One day at a time.
| Leave a comment.
The journey to WLS & back (or not?) on June 25, 2012 11:52 am
My friend on OH - who had WLS herself around the same time I did - lost her young daughter last week. Her daughter had WLS on 5/23/12 & never regained consciousness.
I'm sick about the loss of this vibrant, gorgeous young woman. This got me to thinking about my own thoughts pre-op.
If you're fearful of dying from WLS, I would call the surgeon's office & ask about his/her track record. I mean, you are entitled to have this information.
I started my journey on 9/1/2010 & it took over a year for me to be on the operating table. I didn't really worry too much about "checking out" after my surgery (dying). I was so unhappy at 257 pounds & had been overweight my whole life. I had diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, you name it. My marriage has been a long, tough, rocky road. I was ready for a 180-degree change in my life, no matter what the outcome.
I'm 51 & I figured, well, I've lived a life full of adventures (good & bad), I've traveled all over the USA, & to Europe... I don't want to die, but if I do, I've been blessed with beautiful (now-grown) children & 2 grandchildren. If God wants me, well, I'll just have to be an angel to my loved ones...
I know this probably sounds silly or crazy. But I want to be honest with you. And looking back, I'm glad I had my RNY. It hasn't been easy, but I'd lost & gained weight so many times in my life I knew I couldn't do it by diet & exercise alone anymore.
I'm coming up on 4 months since my surgery. I can walk 4+ miles without being really tired. This is a huge feat for me! I had trouble with the stairs in my home pre-op. I wore a size 20 (tight) before surgery; now I wear a 14 comfortably. I always wanted to have my hair super-short & not think my head looked like the knot on a balloon. I got my hair cut last week just the way I've always wanted it to be! I'm not dying in the heat & humidity of DC (I have no AC in my car) because I'm not carrying around an extra 63 pounds to cool off anymore. I can pull my knees up when I'm laying down & not feel like I'm suffocating because of all the fat rippling up to my throat. I can cut my own toenails. I can shave my legs (& other areas of my bod lol) without being exhausted afterwards. I can actually see what I'm shaving!
This has been a hugely sobering experience for me. I'd never had major surgery before in my life. The anesthesia was unbelievably strong, paralyzing, brain-scrambling. I feel like I was "on the brink..." & that I came back to the living. My scar is not awful. Actually, I love it. I put scar gel on it & I say, "I love you! You're so beautiful! Thank you for my new life!" I have a much more tender & loving feeling about my body than I did before because I know what it can get through. I am so strong!
Much love, GG
| Leave a comment.
One-derland! (yeah I said it) on June 19, 2012 12:43 pm
Okay, got on the scale today & BAM! 193.6! So I accomplished two more goals: to get under 200 & into ONE-derland, & to get my BMI below 30. The 4-month anniversary of my open RNY will be 6/28/12, for an average of about 15 pounds lost per month!
Miracles DO happen. To God goes the glory.
| Leave a comment.
I have a muffin top! YIPPEE! on June 17, 2012 7:39 pm
That's because I had a MUSHROOM CLOUD before.
You can use this, but make sure you credit me!
| Leave a comment.