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hello i am fat

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the story so far.

Hi! It’s been awhile. It’s been a busy couple of months. I was finishing up grad school, and working on a thesis, and neglecting my entire house entirely and then I went around the world in a little tugboat and cured cancer. I wrote a first draft, cut off all my hair, bought a car, cleaned my house, cured more cancer, and am probably going to be scheduled for bariatric surgery sometime in October.

Crazy, crazy couple of months.

In between thinking about grad school stuff and trying to write down things that make me sound smart and maintain a relationship and cure a lot of cancer, all I have been doing is thinking about my health, and my body, and the future of my health and the future of my body if things keep going the way they have been, which is a sad future full of doom and plork.

There is a way to articulate this, this conclusion I have come to, how I made my decision and why, but it is difficult to do, in short sentences and pithy paragraphs. And it is very true that if you think surgery is a ridiculous, stupid, short cut kind of asshole move, then there is not a whole lot I can say to change your mind. Amusingly, that is where I was, the day I started thinking about it, and it’s taken five months of researching, and reading, and thinking, and talking to doctors – my own, and the surgeons who do this kind of thing, to figure out if I really wanted to do this to myself.

It has been difficult and frustrating, and kind of crazy and enlightening and amazing and heartbreaking – talking to people who have gone through surgery, and reading about it, and talking to the doctors who have watched their patients for five or more years and how their lives have changed. Thinking about my own life, and my history of weight loss which is more of a history of weight gain, and writing pages and pages and pages arguing with myself just like a crazy person.

In the end, it turns out that that as much as I want to, I can’t do this alone. I am so tired of working hard and having everything go to shit over and over again. I am tired of feeling bad about myself for failing, and I am tired of failing. And I am so extremely tired of letting that failure feel like it consumes my whole life.

Surgery is not a magic cure – I am going to have the same issues going into the operating room as I do now. They do not, as the patients on one surgery group I read are fond of saying, operate on your head. It’s a weight loss tool, is how they think about it, and I’m still going to have to do all that work – the exercise, the dieting, the watching what I eat for the rest of my life, but the difference is that it will work. It will stick. Stick! Like I threw paint against the wall, instead of magic markers and haddocks.

This is what it boils down to: I would not do it if I didn’t really believe in the work that I’m going to have to do and the non-magicalness of the whole thing - I am pretty good at recognizing when I am bullshitting myself, and I don’t think I’m bullshitting. I am ready to do this, and accept the risks that I know are inherent. For me - it is worth it, I think, to take that risk.

And I think what I’m doing here is justifying myself, which I did not plan to do. This is what I am doing, and those are the reasons I am doing it, and I’m doing it now, while I am still
relatively healthy and young, and still devastatingly attractive.

So I went in several months ago for an initial consultation, while I was still deciding – I figured there would be insurance issues, and I would rather have everything underway while I was deciding and be able to turn down my approval, ultimately, if that is what I chose to do, rather than making up my mind and then having to wait a year. I got denied, and then took awhile to decide whether to appeal, or abandon the whole thing. I went to a patient support meeting, and talked to the people who were post-op, all of whom were ricocheting off the walls, delighted with life and full of energy and glowing and thrilled, and I went home and wrote an appeal letter. And then this afternoon, I got my letter of medical necessity, and I sat down, and made the decision to do this.

There are still hoops – I have to get the doctor I’ve chosen to be accepted as my physician, and I have a battery of tests to go through, and I have to quit smoking (I don’t want to quit smoking). There is my supervisor to sit down with and discuss when is best to be away from work, and for how long she can spare me, and I have been exercising but I want to start weight lifting now to strengthen my body and minimize the muscle loss, I hope, and I want to start cutting back the wine with dinner, because oh, I will miss that, and it is better to tear the band aid off slowly, slowly than all at once, motherfuckingow, and I want to prepare myself mentally like some kind of fancy kung fu master, kapowie kazing, and I want to remember the person I am now, who I like, and make promises to not forget that I became the person I am because I have spent my whole life being overweight and that is something to not ever lose sight of.

I also have to work on not being completely fucking terrified of major surgery, and curing some more cancer.

  1. Blogger randomfatgirl | 6:00 AM |  

    I just want to say GOOD LUCK, and to remind you that you should be proud of yourself for making this decision because your whole life is about to change and it takes balls to decide to do something so major, no matter what your reasons! I don't know you, but I support you, and I look forward to reading about your experience in the months to come! :)

  2. Blogger PatL | 8:44 AM |  

    What a thrilling time for you! I have a girlfriend who did it an who has never looked back. You go, girl!

  3. Blogger PastaQueen | 8:48 AM |  

    Which type of WLS are you going to have? I wish you the best of luck and hope you'll keep us updated here on your blog since you really are a great writer. I'm sure reading about WLS through your eyes would be the most fun major surgery has ever been!

  4. Blogger yellow_mustard_girl | 10:58 AM |  

    In addition to wanting to simply say I love love love your blog and think that you are a really talented writer and an interesting individual...I also think you should know that you are brave. Really brave. Worthy of admiration in the form of a blog comment brave. (I'm sure you are thrilled that I'm admiring you that way. Imadork.) This is probably obvious to you, but I think it needs to be said again: there is never, ever any failure in doing something good for yourself. And any person that calls bariatric surgery an "easy way out" is a frickin moron. It's major surgery. That ain't easy. It takes a brave, dedicated, intelligent and motivated person to have surgery and take on all the stuff that comes with it. That's a lot harder than subsisting on celery and cottage cheese for a week. I am excited for you!

  5. Anonymous Anonymous | 12:24 PM |  

    I was so glad to see you back to your blog- you are an awesome writer and even though we live in different worlds I feel as though we have a lot in common. I've been working on my thesis as well -considering surgery for weight loss and am totally ready for a change but haven't made the final decision. I applaud your bravery and look forward to hearing more about your journey.

  6. Blogger anne | 12:28 PM |  

    Wow, thank you guys. This is a hell of way to come back to blogging, and I really appreciate it.

    Pasta Queen, I'm doing the duodenal switch, which seems to allow for the most "normal" eating of all the surgeries (ie, no dumping and little yakking), and so far appears to have the best long-term results. There are issues with it - including scary malnutrition issues that can crop up if you're not careful with your supplements, and sometimes even if you are, and that is part of the inherent risks I was considering while I was deciding.

  7. Blogger WifeMomChocoholic | 2:02 PM |  

    It sounds as though you've done your homework. Keep us updated.

  8. Blogger NicoleW | 3:45 PM |  

    Great to hear from you again! It sounds like you've really made the best decision for yourself, and I wish you lots and lots of luck. (Boy, do I hear you on the "fucking terrified of major surgery" thing.)

  9. Blogger Amy | 3:49 PM |  

    Good luck to you! I have enjoyed your journal and only wish you the best!

  10. Blogger Leigh | 7:41 PM |  

    I'm just delurking to say that I'm so glad to see you back. I admire and respect you a great deal for the amount of thought and consideration you've obviously given this decision. Best of luck in the weeks and months ahead. I'll look forward to following your progress.

  11. Blogger Isabelle | 4:49 AM |  

    The same from me. You do indeed write very well - movingly as well as amusingly - and I wish you all the best. Glad to see you back.

  12. Blogger Mamato2boys | 12:20 PM |  

    Congrats and I can't wait to hear more of the story! I have surgery scheduled August 7th so it is always awesome to read peoples stories as they go along.

    Oh yeah, and woohoo on the whole curing cancer thing. Can you work on PMS next ;)
    Ang

  13. Anonymous iFitandHealthy | 4:23 PM |  

    I wish you success and quick recovery. It is major step, but if this is what it takes you to get there, I support you.

  14. Anonymous Kat | 11:35 AM |  

    Delurking also just to say that I love your blog. No judgement at all about your decisions. Just glad that you are writing online again. Hope you keep the blog going during this new part of your journey.

  15. Blogger Tel | 3:23 PM |  

    Wow! An update! Finally! :)

    I have thought about WLS but I'm making good strides in WL myself, so I'm not going that route.

    I used to think that WLS people were cheaters, but then I take myself back to the times in which I thought everything I did was hopeless; that each piece of hard work I was doing was *not* paying off, and then I started thinking differently.

    WLS is not a miracle cure - it's a major (MAJOR) surgery, and it's not an easy decision for most people, including yourself.

    Congratulations to you for making such an important decision that will change your health for the better. Congratulations for being proactive and doing the research and being OK with getting help.

    Finally, congratulations for doing something that takes so much strength to do.

    xoxo

  16. Anonymous Anonymous | 7:16 PM |  

    Hi! My name is Lara and on October 13th last year I had the lapband surgery. At the time of my surgery I was a little over 155kg's (or 341 lbs)... Today (the 17th of August) I am only 92kg's (or 202lbs).. I am still going hard and hope to be down to a healthy weight range before my 22nd birthday next year. I have to say it was the best thing that has ever happened to me, I am happier now than I have ever been. Good luck to you! And remember, there is no shame in what you are doing... The surgery is only a tool for weight loss, just like any other.

  17. Blogger Lily T | 10:33 PM |  

    You're a wonderful writer. Whatever you decide, I wish you luck.

  18. Blogger Chris | 12:55 PM |  

    My mom had the surgery and it saved her life. She looks wonderful 12+ years later. Best of luck to you and don't be afraid.

  19. Anonymous littlem | 3:16 AM |  

    Good luck. Bless you. There are lots of blogs out there that talk about post-surgery, so you'll have lots of support besides us.

    My mom and dad both beat cancer (different kinds, different types, different houses). So as an only child, I'd like to know, how's that cancer preventative coming?

  20. Anonymous Anonymous | 3:05 PM |  

    If you really believe "It will stick!" beyond a year or two, then, sadly, you have not sufficiently done your homework.

    Try finding people five years post-op with your procedure. IF (big if) they're still alive, you'll find most of them have gained most or all of the weight back, ruined their health, and look and feel like shit.

    Stomach mutilation is not the answer -- please, reconsider before it's too late.

    Another Anne

  21. Blogger lens | 4:34 PM |  

    Aaaah! You are me. You are me! Not to diminish your own individual experience, but goddamn girl, are you sure you're not me?
    It's funny, but I just came home from a big party where I spent the evening shrinking (ha!) into my drink, feeling, fuck this, I'm fucking sick of this half-life, sick of feeling like my weight is a giant asbestos suit keeping me from *feeling*, from participating. No more jolly for me, no, this fat girl is fucking sad, fucking mad as hell.
    I too, have spent months agonizing over the decision to have WLS. I too, have decided on the duodenal switch. I too, would love to have it sometime this fall, except I have no insurance and have to be self pay. Am also a writer with no steady, 9-5 job, hence no possibility of loan. But somehow, the fact that hope is out there makes me feel better. Am thinking of starting an internet fund to raise the remaining 8,000 dollars I need (but this is not a plug for it, not yet, ha!)
    I just want to say good for you. Good for you! And don't listen to Another Anne. This is not self mutilation. This about saving your own life. I have come to believe and understand that obesity is a disease (although I hate using that word for many reasons) and if there's a surgical cure for your disease, why the fuck wouldn't you take it? Yes, you have to work with it, and take care, and excercise for the rest of your life. But many surgeries require manintenance afterwards. At least this works, at least you know that to keep the weight off you can excercise three to four times a week like a "normal" person, and not three frigging hours a day like I used to do.
    Anyway, sorry for rambling. Am drunk and sad - but happy for you!
    How strange to find this post of yours tonight of all nights...

  22. Blogger *S* | 6:55 PM |  

    Congrats on having made the decision and moved forward. I'm also hoping to have my surgery in the end of October. I've chronicled my issues choosing the right WLS and insurance idiocy at lessflabmorefab.blogspot.com if you are interested.
    Good luck!

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