I’m taking a slight break from chronicling my weeks of misery. There’s still a bit more to tell, though I’ve already told you the worst of it. Mostly, I want to vent about some of the ridiculous things that happened – the medical personnel who were incompetant or rude or both. I really want to drive home the fact that you have rights when you’re in the hospital and you shouldn’t take crap from anyone. And that you have to be vigilant, because some of the hospital staff could care less about you.
Plus, it’ll be therapeutic.
But first, I want to tackle the topic I’d planned to put off till more time had passed. I wanted to give myself enough distance from the trauma to make sure I could be objective.
I’m jumping on into it, though, because I’m already being asked the question. Both by some of the medical people I’ve interacted with over the last couple of days, and by a few people online.
The question is, in light of this horrible experience, would I STILL have gastric bypass surgery if I had a chance to do it all over again?
Before the beginning of this ordeal, the answer would have been an immediate “Yes!” In fact, even up till the infection happened I think my answer would have been the same. But when I was asked just a few days ago by the Home Health nurse who was here to change the dressing on my open wound, I really hesitated. “Right now’s probably not the best time to ask me that,” I told her. Especially since at that exact moment my bandages were off and my wound was gaping open, exposed. And that has given me panic attacks ever since Jason the Nurse changed my dressing in the hospital.
I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Thinking about the stress this has caused my family, especially my sweet husband who’s had to completely take over running the house, taking care of the kids AND take care of me in my helpless state.
My kids, especially my youngest who is very sensitive and in love with his Mama, were pretty scared and upset by the whole thing.
And, of course, my experience has been unpleasant to say the least.
But I’ve also thought about how our lives have changed over the last 15 months. How I can be so much more active and involved with my kids. How we can do things I wouldn’t have had the energy or confidence to do before.
I’ve thought about how I’ve changed, not just physically, but emotionally. I no longer look at myself in the mirror and despise the image because of the fat.
I’ve said this before, but to me, fat was a character flaw that meant I was a failure of some sort. Less of a person, and unworthy of love. I was disgusted by the site of the flab that enveloped my body. It went much deeper than being unhappy with my appearance, though that’s what was on the surface. Much deeper than that was a hatred for who that fat made me. I was humiliated by it’s presence, and felt that because of it I didn’t deserve success in other areas.
Today, I don’t see that. I look in the mirror and see a woman who may still have some pounds to lose. (17 as of this morning). Someone who is fairly attractive, though not beauty-queen gorgeous. More importantly, I see a woman who has been liberated from 130-pound shackles. I feel that whatever I try to do, I will succeed or fail on my own merit. I won’t be sabotaged because of the character flaw of fatness.
I truly feel liberated. As if a huge barrier has been removed and I’m free to succeed or fail on my own merits. I’m free to be loved or disliked because of my character and actions, not because of some hideous layer of blubber I felt was standing between me and the world.
Most of this was in my own mind. Yes, there is a lot of prejudice in the world against fat people. But that wasn’t my problem. My problem was the prejudice in my own mind against my own body.
Having gastric bypass surgery and losing 130 pounds has changed every aspect of my life. It has drastically changed the way I see myself. It has allowed me to see past my appearance and genuinely and objectively contemplate the true character beneath.
It hasn’t been easy, even before this. Hell week was hell week. I’ve had the same difficulties battling the mental and emotional demons as everyone else who can never again eat the way they always have. It’s hard.
But real change is supposed to be hard. Things worth having are supposed to be the things that are toughest to achieve.
Hopefully, in a few more weeks this episode will be just a blip on my gastric bypass radar. It’ll be a lot easier then to say that yes, I’d do this all again. Because the memory of the pain and the trauma and the struggle will have dimmed.
So let me say it now, while there is still an open gaping hole in my stomach, while I’m still having to take Dilaudid every 4 hours for pain and Xanax every 8 for panic. While I’m still not really able to eat, while I still need help getting up to go to the bathroom. While my life is still turned upside down and while I’m still going stir crazy because I can’t leave the house and while I’m spending most of my time sleeping in a drugged-out haze.
I WOULD HAVE GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT. It has changed my life. And that change has been worth the struggle.
If I ever change my mind on that, I promise you’ll be the very first to know.