Over the last little while I have been working on things that make me happy. Things that bring joy into my life and focusing my time and attention on them. I think I have been doing this to distract myself from the fact that my surgery is just 4 sleeps away – YIKES!!!!! Recently I have been asked quite a lot of times why I need more skin surgery and this is seriously a fair enough question. The fact is that I am only 3 kilos lighter now than I was when I had my skin surgery 18 months ago! Soooooooooooo it isn’t because I have lost a hell of a lot more weight. It isn’t because of what I eat and don’t eat. It is because I was super morbidly obese and this is what my damaged skin looks like. This is my reality and it is just a part of how I am. Something that makes me happy is the thought that after this surgery I will be a little less saggy than I am today. I would like to have just a bit smoother skin – I know I won’t be perfect but a little bit smoother would be very nice. I like to try and imagine what it will be like to be able to fit my arms into clothes without folding my skin into them.
Another thing that makes me happy is looking after myself. I spent so many years locked in a cycle of self loathing and hatred and being cruel to myself that I never ever did nice things for me. Those days have ended and I like to now make myself really nutritious little meals that bring joy to my heart! I find that this has been part of a healing process for me. Finally taking care of myself physically has certainly coincided with losing that level of toxic hatred of myself that used to always simmer away inside me. The things that I like to make the biggest fuss over is breakfast. I think that has probably been intentional on my behalf because I always ignored that meal. I have grown a big love for smoothie bowls and making my food look at taste as appealing as possible is helping me to care on a daily basis about the way I am nurturing myself! Who knew I would ever care about this kind of thing! But I do!! What are your favourite breakfast ideas?
I share a lot more of my food ideas on my instagram which is myweightlosssurgery.life so feel free to follow if you would like more pics and I get my pretty powders from http://www.purebotanypurveyor.com
Today is one of those lazy kind of days. Its super rare for me to have a nothing sort of a day and I am relishing it and just lapping up the moments of quiet. We have been away from home for 19 days now and quite honestly it is only people and my dog that I miss. I have found that when I take stock of my life there seems to be few things that matter to me – the things that are most important are most definitely my loved ones.
The Christmas/New Year break has been an excellent time of reflection and re-evaluation for me. What do I want the most out of 2020. How am I going to become a better version of myself? I am looking forward to the way that I can answer that this year. I am up for the challenge. I am not usually one for change but this year I am going to take a hold of it with both hands and run harder than I have ever run before.
My weight loss seems to finally be under control. I am able to eat a little more these days and that is helping me to feel better. I will have to decide about the revision surgery for my skin removal and come to a decisions if I want to go down that path again or if I will just stay as I am. Lets face it – Being fabulous and looking a little bit like ET is actually okay with me. I am not out to impress anyone and even if I was ….. should my excess skin be the standard by which I am judged? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I am a passionate self love advocate and therefore I cannot even begin to write this with any kind of authenticity unless I am willing to love me as I am and I really do. 2019 was the year that I fell in love with me and found worth in the tapestry of smooshed together, brokenness and splendid imperfections that, thrown together, make me who I am.
I am more than the silver lines that snake down my limbs and across my abdomen, and I am more the pillowy softness of the discoloured skin that resides between my thighs. I am more than the laugh lines that hint at my sense of humour before you even know that I have one and I am also more than the callouses on my work roughened hands. We are all more than we appear to be on the outside. We are born with and infused with the power to chose the path that our lives will take. Sure, there are things that happen to us along the way that are outside of our control, but our responses are always within our own power. Don’t doubt that, not even for a second. You can do this. I lost 95 Kilos and a lifetime of self loathing over the past 18 months. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done. It was horrifying and liberating to finally acknowledge myself as I was and push myself towards who I knew I wanted to be.
I do not feel like I have arrived, I know that there is so much further to go. More mountains to climb and more challenges lie ahead but 2020 is my year to respond rather than react and I am praying that my response to life will wake me up in a way that I have never been woken before. I hope that I am more compassionate, driven by purpose and that I will live out of an authentic place that comes from knowing that I am okay, I am accepted and I am loved. I hope the same things for you too. Lots of love always Tash xx
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
I share small chunks of my life here. Usually my weight loss surgery life things. That is probably the most impacting thing on my own situation, life and future that I have ever done but I feel like this other story runs along side of it.
When I was 14 years old we were told that all was not well in the area of my hormones. I may never be able to have children and a whole heap of other things that were a LOT for someone to deal with. At that point I already knew that one day I did want to be a mother and I would go on to have 5 incredible children who I love dearly.
When I lift the lid on the period story, it started for me when I was 9. I was clearly early to that party! Particularly back in the 80’s, when girls were not getting their periods that early. Mine were horrible from the very beginning. Always, ALWAYS heavy and cramps like you wouldn’t believe. If we fast forward through the years I would be married and would fall pregnant fairly easily but the heavy periods persisted except for 4 blissful months after Mr. 19 was born ……. and then they were back with a vengeance. When I say back with a vengeance, I mean 10 – 12 days of very heavy bleeding every month. Never being able to use tampons because I would flood them within 10 minutes kind of bleeding. Multiple packs of monster pads every single month, horrific cramps etc.
When we fell pregnant with our last baby we thought it would be great because no periods for a while but I bled throughout the whole pregnancy. By the time he was born I was bleeding non stop and when he was 8 weeks old I had to have surgery. I had a massive ovarian cyst and there was concern about the lining of my uterus. A few months later I would have an ablation. That is when the lining of the uterus is burned. This works in a very high percentage of women. It did not work for me and my periods continued.
They were slightly lighter for a few years – until I had weight loss surgery and then Oh my god they took off again. Recently they have been lasting 20 days with 10 days in between. Prior to the weight loss surgery I didn’t have to battle the iron issues (except while pregnant with our last child) but now I was thrust into my own fresh hell. Finding myself unable to move some mornings and my iron levels couldn’t stay at the correct level, even with infusions and religious iron supplementation.
3 Weeks ago I saw my gynaecologist and last Saturday he removed my uterus and my tubes. I called my weight loss surgeon to ask him if I should expect weight gain and he said nope, my ovaries are staying so not at all. So far I have been asked if I feel empty, I have been asked if I feel old now, I have been told that I am going to love it, told to buy white pants and never worry again and I have been told that I will feel like it is the best thing I have ever done. I am still waiting for those euphoric feelings to come. I woke from surgery and felt pretty good until the nausea started and the babies started to cry – yep they put me in the maternity ward to recover. That stung, more than I would ever admit to anyone face to face. I don’t want pity for it but fricken hell, that cut. People have also said “oh just wait for grandchildren” and thankfully my own mum said to me “sweetheart it isn’t the same don’t listen” hahaha I love her so much.
I know people want to talk to me about it and ask me how I feel but I am not ready for that yet. I would rather make jokes about my red raw arse from the reaction I am having to the antibiotics and just pretend that everything is okay. Sooooooooo hopefully in this instance I can fake it till I make it!
Some day I cannot write for trying. But I thought of you all day – I always do.
I have felt like the Tin Man lately. I have felt fairly numb and I know full well that I have been disassociating because it is easier at times than dealing with the harsh reality of life which can, at times, feel very challenging. So what has been going on?
Well, I am staring straight down the barrel of another surgery. It is something that I truly did not want to do. I didn’t want to have another surgery and I didn’t want to have the particular one that I now need. The truth of the matter is that for the longest of times there is a part of me that wished I could have been a mother one more time. I know that isn’t possible now but it doesn’t stop me from wishing.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Oh I am so grateful for the children that I have. I love them all so dearly. I pray with all of my heart that they have the very best lives possible and am so thankful for their love and kindness towards me. I truly have amazing children!! There is no buts about that. I do wish that I had been a more active mum when they were little and that I had never had a lapband and the dramas that followed it. I am very different as a human being right now to how I was all those years ago when I became a mother for the first time but I have given away the thought that another child could happen for us, so I am going to have a hysterectomy.
My gynaecologist would have been happy to do this surgery in 2014 … The only stipulation that he had for the surgery to be safe was that I would need to lose some weight. Obviously there is no problem with my weight these days and I am seeing my gynaecologist on Wednesday to set the date. I feel overwhelmed but thankful for the thought of being able to get my iron issues under control.
This has come about because my recent blood tests have not been good. I have been tested every couple of months for a while now and my levels have not come up to a normal level even with extensive supplementation. 12 days ago I had an infusion and it has not made enough of a difference. My periods are coming every 9-10 days and lasting 10 days each time. I am just exhausted. I will update when I know more after Wednesday.
Hopefully I may feel more like I have emotions when I am a bit less tired. It would be nice to think that I could get back to normal rather than feeling like I am just on auto pilot! But I must say that I do tend to do auto pilot quite well!
We have some very interesting conversations in lockdown and one of the kids recently asked me what happened in my heart to cause me to change. (he was referring to my weight loss, new career, business etc) And I had to think about it for a while but you know what – I think it was the fact that I spent so many years of my life ignoring things that had happened to me and I gave away pieces of me until I lost the sense of who I actually was. I spent years of my life entombing myself in my very own prison! I spent years hoping that someone would see me, would help me, would rescue me but the truth was I didn’t need some other saviour, I needed to get up and realise that no one else could save me from myself except me! I had to find value in myself, I had to get up and do it myself! I didn’t get to be the weight that I was because of neglect, I got there through systematically abusing my body and treating myself so poorly because the truth of it is that that is all I felt that I deserved. I cannot even begin to explain how many times I withdrew from situations and from people, even from some of you because I was afraid of rejection, or afraid that I would be seen the way that I saw myself. Then one day in 2017, as I tried to walk across a stage in a graduation robe that wouldn’t fit me, I realised that no one else was coming to save me. I was going to have to do something different if I wanted things in my life to change. It has been the hardest, most confronting thing in the world to look myself in the eye and see myself how I was and then start to imagine myself how I could be. I now believe that process will be life long and I also believe that I am not where I used to be and I am so profoundly thankful for that but I also have a whole lot more mountains to climb!! I am so thankful for hope and for the fact that the knight in shining armour that I was waiting for was actually a brave brave big lady who could see in her mind what she wanted for her life and for her health so she got up and did something about it for herself! #beyourownhero
I think I always had a bit of angst with my body. Things that happened to me when I was a child caused me to believe that my body wasn’t really mine and that I had little control over it. From that broken place a really poor view of myself and my body grew. It has taken me a long long time to feel comfortable to talk about this. Even this week I have been asking myself questions about some of the beliefs that I grew up with around , victim blaming and other issues that I can now see were at the heart of poor self esteem.
I didn’t believe I was incredible, strong or unique. I felt disempowered and then other things took place in my life that reinforced that to me. I am truly grieved that it took me the best part of 40 years to start to love myself and my body.
For a while I did wonder about weight loss and body positivity. My journey towards loving my body had begun prior to weight loss surgery and my health had been in a rapid decline due to my size. As part of loving my body and myself I decided that if I was going to live, I simply had to try to lose some of the weight that was beginning to cause other life threatening medical conditions!
For me, I did not have a goal in mind, I didn’t have a size in mind. All I had was a hope of living past the age of 45. So I had the surgery. The entire process has been about wellness, kindness and lovingly accepting myself at all of the different stages of this journey.
Now I am still covered in damaged skin and my body is just that – mine. I love it as it was, and as it is today. How I look is no one else’s concern and likewise the way others look is never for me to make assumptions or judgements about!
Even the skin removal was a matter of health for me. Carrying all of that around was not going to be good for me as I aged and it was very heavy and gave me regular infections. Now I am left with scars and I am totally okay with that 😌
I guess what I am saying is that I feel like I have come a long way in accepting myself as I am and also understanding that this is always going to be a process, with new chapters being written. I am thankful for that. I am in love with the life and the process of finding out what is around the next corner and walking that walk out with love and kindness – both to myself and to others.
Brown town is one topic that makes most of us pretty uncomfortable. We seldom talk about the toilet – except if we are relaying someone else’s funny story ….. But (see what I did there) If you are like me then you may have a bariatraic bitch arse and sometimes it might be difficult in that area…. and other times it may be quite free flowing and fountain like 😳.
One of the things that I didn’t really think about prior to my WLS was how much my toilet habits may change, post op. I have always been a bit on the constipaty type side of things lol! My grandmother used to love to embarrass me with stories of when I was a little tiny girl I would feel a bit bound up so I would go off to the toilet and eat a prune right before I went through the door to the porcelain throne. Over the years things were difficult in the ole pooper department until I was finally diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and from there on pooing was so much better! I became a post meal pooper and all was good in my personal evacuation station.
Anyway fast-forward to my Gastric Bypass and a few things happened. Suddenly I didn’t poop for a week! When you are regular in that department and you know how big it is most days, I was stunned that nothing was coming out! How is this possible 😳 I mean I knew how it was possible – nothing much was going in, so nothing was coming out! I was sent home from hospital on day three with instructions to take coloxyl daily for a while, and sent on my way. By day 7 I was starting to think that my Pooper was broken! (ha ha – it has a crack in it jokes are springing to mind 🤣🤣) And then on day 8, I felt the urge to go.
I went to the toilet and had the most underwhelming tiny toothpaste squirt sized turd. It was an odd colour, it was an odd feeling and that was the first of many strange things in the faeces department.
There have been a couple of other unexpected things that have happened. Like the whale song of my insides! That was an incredibly unexpected and often embarrassing thing to contend with! I have the loudest digestive system known to humankind! That also took some getting used to. I learned not to eat too much at work because it can be a bit embarrassing if ole Ethel decides it’s time to sing her ” thank you for my lunch” song! It doesn’t roar quite as loudly these days during the day, but frequently my insides sings their thanks in the evening!
Another unexpected thing is the gassy belly. She could clear the savannah after every meal! Yes, its true, there are days when I could rival Pumba for most rancid farts and toilet moments! While working, VIPoo is life! I would actually consider it a work expense and I also took air freshener into the office loos with me. At home – well if you come to my bathroom then (keeping with the Lion King Theme) BE PREPARED!
So what has changed in the 3 years since my bypass? Is it easier now? Well I am more used to how strange my bowels can be now so that has helped me to cope with the changes. I learned the fine art of running through the shops with my arse cheeks clenched shut, hips thrust foward, like I was leading with my moo moo, to try to stave off a particularly bad episode of dumping from a boost juice, coz no one wants to shit themselves in public.
These days I know what causes that stuff so I just generally avoid those things – unless I feel like seeing how much my sprint time has improved and it seems worth it at the time OR my ole Ethel is trying to convince me I can’t drink coffee …… in those situations I just do it anyway and clench!!
I found that as the years pass and I can eat more, the terrible constipation episodes have become fewer and further between – however they do still happen from time to time and it is always horrible when they do. I got used to not going to the toilet as frequently, my poo being smaller and I now know how much I have to drink water. By 2 years post op I was taking movicol every second day to try and avoid becoming constipated but I didn’t really want to do that long term since tasteless fibre has come out I thought I would try a fibre supplement again because I am not generally a fan of those things and my tummy can play up and I usually bloat very badly but I haven’t this time so thats been nice. I started slowly and I’ll continue to take it slow. I am only using movicol about 1 time a week now. It isn’t until you have done a crap that stands up in the toilet and nearly touches your butt cheeks and makes you go “HOLY SHIT” how was I keeping that in there, that you can truly appreciate how important it is to avoid getting your constipation on! There are lots of great products out there for constipation! What have you found works for you?
Last week was one of the worst in my life. One of my kids was in hospital with a heart condition and omg nothing can make a parent feel worse or more helpless! Covid restrictions meant that we couldn’t visit and it was awful!! He is home now recovering but that part of the process has reminded of myself last year and last year something terrible happened in our lives. On that day I felt like I would die. I thought “come on girl, that is a bit dramatic – pull yourself together” and I tried. I tried so hard but something felt wrong. I cried more than I have ever cried in my life. I felt sick to the pit of my stomach and my heart hurt. I mean it hurt like it was actually breaking and the fact is it was…. I had Broken Heart Syndrome.
The link above is the condition that I was diagnosed with. My heart was quite literally broken. It was behaving in an incredibly scary and erratic way. Only medication, rest and an extensive hospital stay put it right again. That experience changed my life.
After that, for the sake of my physical and mental wellbeing, I put certain boundaries in place and they are totally non-negotiable. There are people and situations that I will not be involved with. I cannot be around certain types of drama. I have been called heartless ( ha ha if only people really knew ) and cold and you know what – I am. I won’t apologise for being cold to certain things. I have had to learn to be! The most honest fact is that I simply cannot take on the hurt of everything and everyone like I used to. Some people feel things very deeply and I am one of those people. I have, through a series of painful lessons, finally learned to guard myself.
Drama, and drama filled people who enjoy involving themselves in others lives and that exist to gossip and rip others apart are not in my life. I protect myself and my family from that. I have learned that normal people, people that are just trying to do their best and help others, they are my kind of people. I love to hang out with the dreamers. With the doers, with those who know AND passionately love their purpose and aren’t derailed from it.
I am thankful for what I learned during that week in hospital and for all that I have learned since. I am thankful for a kinder, softer and gentler life. One with my boys, my dogs, my family and friends.
Ps how cute is my baby girl Hela!!