Weight Loss Surgery: My ball and chain.

April 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm 9 comments

This post was written for Maman A Droit and Breastfeeding Moms Unite‘s Body Image Carnival.

I didn’t have “colorectal surgeon” in my cell phone contacts until after I lost 130lbs.  Prior to that, my only experience with a proctologist was watching Katie Couric’s colonoscopy on the Today Show.

I had other issues though, at nearly 275lbs.  Mostly that I was exhausted and depressed, and self-loathing.  I tend to be harder on myself than I am on others; you might be fat because of bad genes or a really stressful time in your life or a medication that causes you to gain weight but I was fat because I was lazy and had no self-control.

The most difficult part of the decision to have weight-loss surgery was flying the surrender flag.  Choosing to have bariatric surgery meant that I had failed every diet-and-exercise-lifestyle-change-program on the planet.  I was not ever going to call Jenny (again). I was not ever going to attend another We*ight Wa*tchers meeting (again).  I was throwing in the towel instead, and throwing in my lot with a surgeon whose specialty is rearranging the intestines of the morbidly obese.

I had a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch on November 4th 2008, election day.  (I woke up from anesthesia and asked, “Who won?” and when my mom said “Obama,” I replied, “Really?” and fell back asleep.  She claims we had the same conversation eight times.  I don’t remember.)  I had my stomach cut and a portion of my small intestine moved and connected near my pylorus and duodenum; I no longer absorb much fat or protein in my meals.

My lowest weight, less than a year after surgery, was 129lbs; I’m now between 135lbs and 140lbs.  I wear a size six.

When I was morbidly obese I used to think that thinness would cure all my problems.  I knew in my rational brain that it was a fallacy, but it seemed like my problems always came back to my weight: I avoided intimacy with my husband because I felt my body was disgusting; I avoided making friends because I didn’t feel worthy of friendship; I rarely played with my kids because I had no energy to do so; I spent too much money buying  clothes I hated because I couldn’t shop at normal stores and instead went to Lane Bryant; showering several times a day caused a high water bill; our energy bill was even higher because I was hot and kept the air conditioning going most months of the year.

The surgery and subsequent weight loss did solve some of those issues: I am intimate with my husband, in more ways; I have a lot of friends; I have the energy to play with my kids; I can buy things off the clearance rack at O*ld Na*vy; I usually shower only once a day day.

(Our energy bill stayed high because I was freezing cold all winter.)

However, more intimacy with my husband does not mean my marriage improved; I would not have friends who are fat-phobic in the first place; having the energy to play with my kids is not the same as having the desire to play with them; I still wear the same type of clothes I wore before (shorts or jeans and a solid-colored tshirt or long-sleeved shirt); and there are new problems.

That caught me off-guard.  There are new problems.

I could not imagine a size six would have problems. Apparently I was sizist; what possible problem could one have when one fit into an airline seat properly and only needed to shower once a day?  What else was there to worry about?

But as I typed the words “colorectal surgeon” into a search engine for the first time, I had to admit, even thin people have problems.

Since that first time, I’ve seen the proctologist three times; recently while on vacation with my kids and dog in Florida I had to have anal surgery.  My insurance only covered 80% of the procedure, leaving me with a hefty out-of-pocket bill – and having to purchase a plane ticket to Florida for my husband so he could drive us home. I had taken our four kids (and the dog) by myself on vacation;  I thought I’d recover quickly and still be able to drive us all home on my own. I was wrong — the surgery was intensely painful — and I couldn’t drive for days.  It’s been nearly two weeks and my butt still hurts. This is a problem.

The issues for which I needed a colorectal surgeon are because of my surgery; specifically how my gut reacts to its new arrangement and how I treat my tender, rearranged intestines by what I eat.

There are other issues, too, daily issues: I do not have much good bacteria in my intestines, and bacteria are very useful to a colon.  Just ask the gastrointestinal doctor; another new one on my speed-dial since Obama was elected.  Even though I eat yogurt daily, and take a probiotic, sharing a bathroom with me isn’t fun.  If you do a search for “Duodenal switch” and “bathroom issues” you will get a million sites.  Maybe even my blog.

The leftover skin – the skin I swore I wouldn’t mind, because who cares, it’s just extra skin! I’m not going to worry about that when I’m skinny! – migrated to my mid-section and most days that I don’t wear mom-jeans I look pregnant.  I have been asked by well-meaning strangers when I’m due – this means that not only do I look pregnant, I look pregnant enough that total strangers think it’s socially acceptable to ask me about it.

The first time someone asked, I was deeply offended and proffered a very snarky reply; the most recent time, I simply said I had a stomach condition that causes severe bloating.  Combine extra skin in the mid-section with a body that lacks the hips to hold up pants; combine the occasion bout of bloating with not standing ramrod-straight all the time and you get me, looking like I’ve just finished my first trimester.

I was wrong when I thought being thin would solve all my problems; it solved some, exacerbated others, and created new ones.  There are benefits to physical smallness: I love buying clothes off the rack; I love my underwear drawer full of size mediums and my cute bras.  I feel great: I can run around like never before and jump on the trampoline with my kids, and my treadmill is no longer a towel holder.  My self confidence has increased dramatically.

But in return, I’m married to my Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal switch; it’s with me every second of every day, and unlike the days of diets and exercise this has changed my entire body forever, I can’t ever throw in the towel on my own body.

About these ads

Entry filed under: family, food, weight loss surgery, writing. Tags: , , , .

Blogging guilt Dear Lovey Hart, I am Desperate

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melodie  |  April 12, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Wow. This is such a well written post. I’m really grateful you submitted to the carnival because I think this is an especially important personal story to share.

    Reply
  • 2. Bri  |  April 12, 2010 at 8:44 am

    This post reminds me of a song in the show ‘Wicked’ in which the good witch muses that “Getting what you want is a little, well, complicated.” Incidentally, Mary-Grace’s birth brought the same song to mind. Guess it’s a universal theme.

    Reply
  • 3. Lauren @ Hobo Mama  |  April 13, 2010 at 5:25 am

    This is such an interesting story. Thanks so much for telling the truth that all sizes have their problems. I never like to admit that while I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I know it has to be true.

    Favorite quote? “having the energy to play with my kids is not the same as having the desire to play with them.” Ha ha! I’m with you there.

    Reply
  • 4. The Skinny on Being Skinny | Breastfeeding Moms Unite  |  April 14, 2010 at 1:34 am

    [...] from Cream of Mommy Soup in her post Weight Loss Surgery: My Ball and Chain gives us an entirely new perspective on what it is to be slim because before she became a size 6 [...]

    Reply
  • 5. Alexandra  |  April 14, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    thank you so much for sharing your story!! It just goes to show the grass is not always greener. :( I have the same issues sometimes…ok ok a lot of the time.

    I am going to pass your link along to a few friends if that is ok….

    Reply
    • 6. creamofmommysoup  |  April 14, 2010 at 6:15 pm

      Absolutely. I am always happy to share information about my WLS to potential surgical candidates — or anyone who might benefit!

      Reply
  • 7. Betsy  |  April 14, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  • [...] Weight Loss Surgery My Ball and Chain at Cream of Mommy Soup [...]

    Reply
  • 9. Maman A Droit  |  April 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I had no clue it was such a complicated recovery process. As someone who was a size 6 most of my life so far, I can tell you being this size definitely doesn’t eliminate all problems, not even body image ones. It makes me feel better though knowing that everyone has their insecurities and it’s not just me. And I’m totally with you on the clearance shopping though-I definitely love getting great deals on clothes!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


About Mommy Soup

Wife and homeschooling mom of five, including my Christmas Day homebirth baby. Not Catholic, Amish, or quiverfull; we just like to... you know!

Writing about my interests: natural pregnancy and birth; attachment parenting; cooking; baking; homeschooling; green living; human rights; child passenger safety; dog training, and life after weight-loss surgery.

In my free time I try to figure out how I can promote world peace while wasting time on Facebook.

NaNoWriMo 2010

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 11 other followers

Feeds

Cream of Mommy Soup is on Facebook!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: