This occurred to me after my consultation appointment, and then became solidified for me while in the shower this morning.
Throughout my entire adult life, my stomach has covered my pubic area, first with a large layer of fat, to the tune of 320 pounds, and then with the pannus resulting from gastric bypass surgery and a 130 pound weight loss. I do not think this is accidental. I am an incest survivor and victim of childhood sexual abuse.
A couple of years before my gastric bypass surgery, I was in a 12-step program working on recovery from food addiction. I was doing a lot of emotional and spiritual work, and getting a lot of healing during that time. It was then that I confronted my father about sexual abuse and received an apology from him. One time during an intense meditation, I thought I heard from God. He said, “You will have a body that matches your witness.” And I remember thinking, “Yeah, right. How are You going to pull that off?” It was a complete surprise to me when I was led in the direction of gastric bypass surgery, which up until that time I had never even considered.
Indeed, my weight loss has led me to a body much more in line with how I feel now. I have freedom like never before. Not only was I relieved of many medical problems, such as diabetes, GERD, sleep apnea and heel spurs, but I am able to experience intense joy in life that I was previously missing. I can walk for miles without pain or shortness of breath, where before, putting on my socks raised my heart rate and made me break a sweat. One of the greatest gifts of this surgery was the confidence which gave me the ability to finally end my 23 year marriage to an abusive, active addict. I love to share my journey with others in the hopes of helping them in some way.
For a while, I was just busy enjoying my new life. I turned my back on spiritual things for a time. My detour into alcoholism and some weight re-gain forced me to return to the 12-step way of life, which is where I have been living for the past year and a half. It is wonderful here, with even more emotional healing having taken place. I came to understand that my past life experiences had left me with an intimacy disorder. And while I am in a relationship now with an amazing, gentle and generous man, I was still holding back and keeping walls up all around me. It was during an OA (Overeaters Anonymous) retreat this past fall that I was given another revelation. My fat had served a purpose. It was a form of protection for me. It provided a buffer between people and me.
The 6th Step of the 12-step programs is, “We became entirely ready to have God to remove all these defects of character.” Clearly, a pannus is not a defect of character. But, at least for me, it is a physical manifestation of that part of my psyche which was broken for a very long time. I am entirely ready to have it removed. Up until a few weeks ago, I never even imagined the possibility of life without that layer of armor.
Could this “cosmetic” procedure of a tummy tuck be so much more? I believe it is. I’ve referred to it as “reconstructive” surgery. Now, I think of it as “restorative” surgery. Medically necessary? I suppose not. But a big part of my emotional, spiritual and physical healing? As of today, I believe it is.
I am putting the whole thing in God’s hands. I have to seek insurance coverage, as I believe the cost is prohibitive for me to pay out-of-pocket at this time. I am following my heart on this now, and seeking God’s will in this process.
As for the brachioplasty -- pure vanity. LOL. No one’s perfect! Thanks for letting me share.