I know this blog is for day-to-day musings and all things related to GB, but I haven't really gone into detail that mental struggles with myself as much as I have gone over the struggles I have had with other people.
Yes, I had a lot of disapproval when I first decided to start "studying" for the GB lifestyle, but since the weight is visibly coming off, I have lost friends. My sister said the other day that I am not the right kind of mother figure to deal with myself and my kids. She is making up stories about my husband not loving me the way I am. She does not like to see that I have to work hard to attain my goal. She would rather be under the impression that it all just magically happens and I have it easy.
Things she says regularly while at the gym with me:
Are you trying to kill yourself?
What is the point of having the surgery if you are going to work so hard?
You are moving, thats enough. You don't have to race.
She will walk slow to make me slow down. She gets angry when I don't slow down for her.
When we are done, all she talks about is going to go eat.
My aunt says, "I'm jealous, but happy for you." Jealous of what? That I had to have my stomach surgically altered to force me to eat right? Jealous because I manage to make myself sick 5 + times a week? Jealous because I feel like I'm starving to death even when I feel like I'm going to puke?
My friend Mark won't talk to me. The last time we spoke was September of last year. Before we said our goodbyes, his last words to me was, "well, I'm going to go have supper and get fatter now."
My friend Kari, who I grew up with, has cut me out of her life unless she has no one else to visit with. When we are together, all she talks about is so and so died because of GB surgery. or we pass someone on the street and its, "see her? shes thin because of surgery." There is never any credit given for hard work and dedication. Its because of surgery.
Food was my addiction. No different than drugs or alcohol. I never allowed myself to get hungry. if I was ever in a situation where I was allowed to get hungry, I was pissed off, irritable, mean, insulting. My husband is the same way when he is out of tobacco. Grocery shopping was the best chore in the world. I was always happy buying food. When I cooked food, I would sing, dance, get excited. It was like sex and I would eat until I was stuffed, sit for an hour and then eat again until all the food was gone. I never put food away-ever. If I got something super good-like my favorite chocolate-I would hide it and eat it when I was all alone. I would eat every single bit. I had to. I HAD to.
Any time I was in a social situation, there had to be food and lots of it. No one sits in a bar and drinks water. I never hosted a get together without food. When we went out, it was to dinner. When I visited my friends, it was over dinner. When I cleaned the house, I got a treat. If I paid a bill, I got ice cream. If I had a hard day, I would go and spend 40 dollars in garbage at the convenience store and eat every chip, every chocolate bar and drink gallons of soda to sedate my bad feelings, lift up and enhance my good feeling, get over my boredom, enjoy my activity. Was it good food? Sometimes. Sometimes it wasn't. Either way, there was a ton of it and nothing was left when I was done.
Working out is embarrassing. You know your a fatty and you know everyone else knows your a fatty. you may or may not hear a snide and hurtful comment, but you know its there. You don't want to leave your house, you don't want to do it in front of your family, you are embarrassed and you are convinced that all eyes are on you and every one disapproves. Even when someone tries to encourage you, you hear it as a sarcastic comment. You are only truly safe when you are in your bed, locked away and safe in your computer chair. Sure, you will have a moment when you think you don;'t care and you try to work anyway, but you hurt, you feel sick, you get a stitch in your side, you breathe hard and your chest feels like there is 1000 pounds on it. You finish, take 2 days to get over being stiff and sore and you don't do it again because it was horrible. If you eat though, you feel much happier.
One day you really see what you have done with yourself. I never looked in the mirror. I would glance to make sure I didn't have a huge zit and my hair was decent enough for public, but I was depressed and had no use for make up or curling irons. I didn't care. Then one day, your friend sends you a packet of pictures and you see yourself, for the first time in years and say oh my god. That's me. Am I really THAT big? Yeah. Yeah you are really, really that big. Did you consciously see it happening? Not really. Did you care to look? No. Did you care at all? Yeah. I would never volunteer to stand in front of a camera, or leave my house, or put on a swim suit, or do anything that would make someone judge me. Did it make the addiction and want for something to eat less? No. And as you sit there eating cream-filled donuts and drinking soda, you hate yourself for ever being born and you eat some more.
I made the decision to do the gastric bypass about 5 years before I actually resigned to do it. Just like a true addict, I needed to hit my rock bottom and want to do it. At this point, I was 438 pounds. I could barely get out of a chair. I was breaking every office chair I had. My hubby would take my chair down to the barn periodically and re weld it where it broke or heat it up and bend it back where my weight made it sit crooked. I could not walk and there were times I would stand up on my feet and my legs would not work to propel me to the bathroom. My feet were horribly sore and my ankles would swell up to the point they would have big fat rolls. Nothing fit, nothing new, nothing old. I have not bought shoes or a winter coat for 5 years because they don't make affordable ones my size. This next winter will be my first coat for 5 years. My first boots since Junior high school. When I had gotten to that point, I went to the doctor and told him I was ready to do the bypass again. I spent 12 months going to classes, meetings, dietitians, psychologists. During this time I was supposed to be losing weight. When I finally got my date for surgery, I had everyone fooled, except the scale. I had gained 12 pounds. Dr. Hower told me, I had to go on a liquid diet and I had to lose weight or he would not do the surgery. I cried a lot. I cried because I wanted an easy fix and I knew I wasn't about to get one. I cried because I failed again and again. I cried because I wasn't even strong enough to stop what I was doing for this one thing. So, for the next 4 weeks I lived off of Jello and beef broth. I cheated enough so that I only lost 20 pounds. I should have lost 40. 40 was preferred.
After surgery I felt horrible. I thought I was going to die. I was horribly nauseated and thirsty. Hunger was a completely different sensation than what I was used to. I was famished, starving, ravenous. Chewing my fingernails made my mouth water uncontrollably. Try to eat and the pain was horrible. There was pain and nausea with ravenous insatiable hunger. More times than I can count I would sit there, so hungry, looking down at this wonderful satisfying food, but unable to eat even one bite of it without getting sick. The headaches, the stomach aches, every swallow of water was too much and always, always there was hunger.
It was hard to get going with the exercise. It hurt, I was tired quickly, sick, weak from the lack of food. The first time I stepped on the scale after my first real exercise I lost 4 pounds. At the end of the week, it was 8. I exercised again and lost another 4. The weight was coming off, but came off faster when I moved. The more weight that came off the easier it was to move. I could not see it, but I could feel it. It didn't start feeling good to exercise until this past 3 or 4 weeks. My motivator was the fact that I had nothing else to do, I had cabin fever, and every time I worked out, the weight would come off faster. My advantage was that I was unable to eat anymore. It came off fast enough that I could see it and feel it before I had the chance to give up on myself. I still hurt.
My one foot hurts when I walk a long distance, but its funny, I don't hear the comments anymore. I don't care if someone sees me in my swimsuit. I'm still that fat lady. If I'm in a sauna every once in a while someone will come to the door, see me sitting there and decide to walk away. I don't even care anymore. I know they have no idea where I started. I also know I have no problem what so ever telling them all about it. I don't crave food as much anymore. The hunger is more tolerable and unless I string myself out with no food all day, I can handle myself without eating too much and getting sick. On the other hand I'm at a crucial point in my addiction. I realize I can't drown myself in food anymore, but wine goes down nice and just a little bit will get me drunk. A cigarette will give me a nice buzz and its not food...I'm facing addiction transference and it scares me. A large percent of Gastric bypass patients fall victim to their own addictions by making new ones to replace the one they lost. I can easily see this happening to me. I am going to participate in as much therapy as I'm allowed to help me through this. I wish there were more options, but I take what I can get.
Until then, I want to acknowledge that there is no way I would have come this far without this surgery. I would have never been able to take control of myself without drastic measures. There was no "just" doing anything. I needed to see the results immediately in order for me to be motivated to continue. I needed to be forced into my food decisions in order for me to succeed. This was a problem for me on so many levels; mentally and physically. There is danger of it being a problem again some day. Some day my stomach will be able to handle more food, someday I won't get sick anymore. Unlike an alcoholic, I can't put the food away and never look at it again. It is always going to be crucial to my survival. I need the support, I may always need it. I don't know if this was such a good choice because I may always need it. A good choice in terms of me living longer and feeling good. But what about those people that put me down for having medical assistance, that won't talk to me because they think I'm a braggart, that won't be my friend anymore because our only common denominator is gone? I bring it up a lot, because it hurts me the most. To see people want to see me fail, to try to sabotage my success, and to cut me completely out for being someone I am absolutely not...its horrible.