I had to laugh, one of my sons mates was recently over and he actually saw Flo (the period app) on my phone and he was like – ❤️❤️❤️ I love looking at peoples Flo’s ❤️❤️❤️ So I handed over my phone and he was looking through the last two years of Data and yes over the last 5 months my periods have gone weird. He said – wow thats weird …….. I agree with that assessment. I asked my doctor about it – he said with everything that I have gone through lately it is no wonder I am not as regular – yes I agree with that but he also pointed out that my very low weight might be stuffing around with my hormones. I am actually sure that it most definitely is! But lets be honest – early menopause runs on my mums side of our family.
That got me thinking – Gosh it is a strange thought to imagine myself beyond the “reproductive years”. I know that we do have a grown child and another son about to turn 18 but I have friends that are having babies at my age and it makes my ovaries literally hurt. I also have friends that cannot, for all kinds of medical reasons, have more children. This is the category that I fell into a few years ago when we were seriously considering another child. Yes, yes roll your eyes if you must but I imagined being a mother from when I was a little child. These beautiful people were loved long before I carried them and I know how blessed I am to have been afforded the opportunity to be their mother.
There are a couple of things that have been on my mind lately and as always I am wanting to open up a dialogue about them. I can remember when I was first contemplating WLS again back in 2017. This was after my failed and horrendous lap band fiasco at the hands of a surgeon in QLD. I had my doubts that WLS was really going to be a good idea for me and I also wondered how effective it would be in the long term.
I do not jump into things without truck loads of research first. I read medical journal posts, I read the Monash studies, I read the US medical pages, I read THOUSANDS of posts from sites all over the globe (yes I am the info lover)!!! I read posts from normal people, like you and me, who typed things like “60lbs gone forever” “70 kilos gone for good” and I used to wonder, “wow is that true? What makes that true? I know people that have had WLS and regained……. so what is the difference? How do we define success?” On and on and on my questions would go. That rabbit hole does have a bottom but it probably isn’t always popular to talk about.
Eventually I got past asking my 56 billion questions because I was so tired of my life becoming more and more limited by my ever growing size! I also realised that no one, no surgeon, no matter how spotless their reputation, no WLS guru, no body could tell me that I was going live a complication free, thin life for the rest of my life after surgery! I wanted, for years, to not be responsible for my outcome. I was actually looking for some kind of reassurance that bypass or The Switch would be my “golden ticket” and I would be able to keep up my unhealthy relationship with food – just eat less of it. If I am honest, and it is only in the last few days that I have been bold enough to admit that my TOTAL reason for delaying having WLS again after my band was because I was frightened that I would have to change my relationship with food and I didn’t want to.
Finally I got to the point where I decided that any weight loss, however small, had to help! So in June of 2018 I bit the bullet, jumped up onto the operating table and had RNY. Since then I have learned a lot of different things! One of the most frustrating is that there isn’t a standard “one size fits most” approach in the way to walk the journey after WLS. Everyone has different thoughts and opinions – this makes it so interesting but it also can be very scary and frustrating at times. What I have learned is that I cannot eat the same diet I used to have and expect that my results will be good in the long term. What I eat has changed and will never be the same again. I have learned that for me – changing my relationship with food would transform my whole life.
I have learned that food is not my comfort, my treat or my friend, it’s just a tool to fuel my body and I have learned that I have to face my emotional shit and I hate that part!! I don’t eat my feelings anymore. This has been harder than I bargained for but I know it will pay off in the long run. I have also learned that sometimes their are complications that we just have to work through!! I didn’t plan to get as thin as I have so that has taken some adjusting to. But I am grateful for an amazing team and brilliant friend here that support me.
It is not about being a certain weight or a size for me. It’s about knowing how to work with my body, giving it what it needs to be healthy and how to be resilient when the challenges come. It is about keeping in mind the reason that I did this and understanding that I am not a powerless victim of circumstances. I decide how this story plays out so if I am knocked down then it’s on me to get back up. I have been knocked down for a few months now but I am back up again 🙂 I didn’t want to get back up. My heart has been broken and I wanted to stay down and stay hurting. What woke me is I have seen the way that my kids have been broken. The tears of my boys are the fuel that drives me and they NEED to see me get up, so I am! It’s okay to feel a bit lost at times, and it’s okay to say “I need help” it is also good when you can finally see clearly again. We got this guys and I refuse to wallow anymore.
The isolation has officially gotten to me. I have started making bread 🥯 … I can’t even believe that this is actually happening to me. I know that isolation can do things to people but I feel like I have had the chance to turn the clock back to 2002/3 in terms of the level of happiness and joy that I am finding in the little things. I will never ever again live my life to please others. It doesn’t mean that I intend to become a self absorbed shit head, never lifting my eyes off myself for long either to notice anything about anyone else. What it means is that I refuse to pretend. I will never ever again allow myself to live life that way, ever again.
I am loving reading fan fiction and creating recipes for the WLS community I am part of. I am excited about the recipe book I have been asked to collaborate on. I am enjoying time with my boys doing weird gymnastic work outs and them laughing at me as I try and mostly fail to do the exercises that they can do, but hey, at least I can usually do one or two of them these days! That is so much better than how things used to be, back in the days when I couldn’t see my toes, let alone even try to touch them! I am loving the slower pace of life. When isolation started we said to the boys “look around this table, these are the people that you are going to be with, night and day, for the next few months. Learn to appreciate each other!” And they so have!
I miss our friends, I miss our families but I am going to miss these precious days when all of this is over. There is always a silver lining and I am finally starting to see mine.
I get incredibly emotional over Anzac Day. I always have done – how can we not be moved by the selfless love and national pride that drives young men and women to lay down their lives to defend and protect our country. We have a history of service persons on all sides of our family and I don’t think that there is ever a way that we can thank them enough for what they have done and do every day. Lest We Forget.
Have you started doing laps of your house yet? Staring randomly out of the windows longing to see other people? Have you left the house to do essential things like shopping and found yourself super excited to see the staff at the check out counter? Ummmmm well that may or may not have been me today 😆😆 It was super exciting to me to hear another female voice! We have been in isolation for 5 weeks and 2 days. That feels like a long time but honestly, in the grand scheme of life, it’s a blip isn’t it? I feel really fortunate to have these days with our boys. I am so grateful to them for their chilled out natures and for the fact that they haven’t even suggested doing anything that they know would put any of us in harms way. Stage three restrictions are working here in Victoria! The Corona Virus Curve is flattened and because of that it is likely that restrictions will start to roll back slowly in the weeks ahead. But what to do in the mean time?
There is only so much Netflix that I can stand. Actually I am not a television watcher. I will sit and watch movies with the kids but since my Weight Loss Surgery I don’t enjoy the TV like I used to. Perhaps I associate it with after dinner snacking? But whatever the reason I just don’t like to watch it for hours and hours so that isn’t a good way for me to occupy my time. My isolation boredom busters are things that I have stumbled upon quite on accident. I am loving caring for my indoor plants. I have loved learning how to look after them and am enjoying the challenge of keeping them alive! I already knew that I loved reading, so that has just continued on, and I do spend a good part of each day studying and learning. The new additions to my life have come in the form of all things fermented. I know that not everyone cares how bubbly my sourdough starter is today, that my kombucha is perfect after its second brew or that my kefir grains are growing 😂😂 and hey that’s okay! I was delighted tonight when one of my sons helped me start a Ginger Bug tonight so in a few days I am going to try my hand at brewing a fermented ginger beer!
One of the other wonderful things about being fairly isolated is getting to know myself again. The things that I like, what makes me tick and reevaluating how I want my life to look going forward from here, after isolation is over, after this year is over and into the rest of this decade. I am excited for the changes that are coming. I used to fear change and letting go of things but so many situations have taken place in our lives over the past few years that have caused me to learn to go with the flow. Even in this past week as Steve waited for the results of a procedure I was reminded over and over that we are not promised tomorrow! I’m grateful for each new day and for the opportunity to be kind – to others first and also to myself.
Motivation Monday! If you haven’t danced like a crazy girl in a pink wig on a table top and don’t have a rainbow wall and a disco ball in your dining room have you really lived ?? 🤣
You know, this isolation business is hard but for me, it’s the safest thing for me to do. That kick arse, beyond terrified of failing – but still brave enough to do it anyway, tired of being downtrodden, bigger version of me went through far too much to be here in this moment, for me to waste even a single day! I lived a shell of a life for the best part of two decades and I used my size to sideline myself from the fun, the crazy, the silly and the things that I wanted to do! It is hard right now but don’t let our current circumstances suck every bit of joy out of life. You are worth celebrating right now! You have breath in your lungs! You have the power to decide to make the very best of today. I may feel heart broken and I might be struggling but I will not let those things rob me of the joy of living in the moment. Life is full of mountain tops and valley experiences and if you are in a valley – well get on the damn table with me and let hope fill you up. Better days ARE coming xx
I was incredibly fortunate when I was starting out on my journey. I have siblings that have had gastric sleeve, I had a failed and removed lap band and kind of figured that gastric surgery would require a similar preparation and post operative care to what I had the first time round. But it was still super scary. How things work in Australia for someone with Private Health Insurance and covering the out of pocket surgical expenses themselves without accessing superannuation.
I made sure that my private health insurance covered weight loss surgery – we increased our level of cover and I commenced the year long wait for my top level cover to kick in.
Joined Bariatric Support Australia on Facebook – I love that group 💕
7 months later I went and saw my GP and he confirmed that “Yes, that is a reasonable thing for you to want to do at your size!” My BMI was over 50. In Australia most surgeons operate on people with a BMI over 35 but some will operate on lower BMI patients if they have other co-morbidities.
My GP asked me if I knew who I wanted to be referred to for my surgery. I did know because I had done a LOT of research on Gastric Bypass and Sleeve surgeons in my area. I knew that Mister Darrin Goodall-Wilson (AKA god of gastric surgery) was widely considered one of the best surgeons in Victoria so it was a no-brainer choice for me.
I left the GP’s office that day, referral in hand and called the surgeons rooms straight away. I had a 4 month wait to get in to see the surgeon so I booked my appointment.
I went and saw the surgeon and we spoke and he determined that gastric bypass was going to be the best course of action for me considering my medical history. We booked my surgery on that day for 5 weeks from that date 😳😳😳😳 and I handed over the out of pocket cash for the surgery…..that part hurt……a lot. I took home a referral for a barium swallow test, blood test and ecg and a referral to the dietician. The dietician appointment was one week after my first appointment with my surgeon and all of the tests had to be conducted at least one week prior to my surgery date in June of 2018 😊
OH NO – I grew a cyst in my face – above one of my front teeth and had to have emergency surgery to remove the cyst but I also look like my husband has beaten me – this is a very bad look and also an expected set back. I had to be operated on in the hospital because I was too fat to have my surgery in the day stay at the dental hospital – embarrassing much 😩😩😩
I started doing the optifast (optishits) diet 2 weeks prior to my surgery and I lost 11 kilos. I think I poo’ed out my soul during those two weeks. When ole mate Johnny was singing about the burning ring of fire, he WAS talking about me.
Surgery day arrived. My anaesthetic doctor is the rudest man I have ever met in my life and I tell him so. “I knew as soon as I saw you you were going to be impossible to cannulate at your size” yeah thanks for that MATE!
Wheeled in for surgery having said goodbye to my family just in case I didn’t make it.
Wake up in recovery EXTREMELY agitated and in a LOT of pain. I was crying for my kids and wouldn’t settle down because they wouldn’t bring them to me so they had to knock me out again 🤣🤣🤣 – This Mumma can fight the knocking out drugs off a time or two for her kids.
Two years later I am 97 kilos lighter than I was at my highest weight. It has not been easy but my goodness it has been worth it!
I haven’t left my house for anything other than the absolute essentials in over 30 days and I have to say that it’s been hard!! Covid-19 is something I am very happy to stay away from!! During these weeks I would be lying if I didn’t admit that food has called to me! So far I have managed to tell the food cravings to shut the hell up but it’s not been easy!
I have dealt with stress the good ole “have a cuppa and something to eat” way my whole life! All the better if the food was either covered in butter or made from copious amounts of it. So what do you do if you are changing your ways?
I have had to short circuit the thinking that I had that would lead me to the refrigerator. I hate little walks, I spend time outside, I practice relaxation techniques and I exercise. Stretching has become a favourite part of my day. My body was so tight from years of abusive food habits and lack of movement. But slowly, day by day, I am getting my ability to move back.
If I was to write a letter to big me this is what it would say,
Hey there girly,
I am not sure how to even go about thanking you for all of the choices that you have made over the past two years. You have come so far!! I remember back to the sore and sad woman that you were and my heart breaks for you. You felt invisible, unlovable and totally undeserving of any kind of good future. You felt like you had failed at life and that it was probably going to be too late to make any meaningful changes in your life.
You were braver than you knew. You were more courageous than you believed you could be and you found a way to block out all of the noise and the doubters and you did it. You did change your stars, you bravely changed your life and I am so thankful to you for that.
Thank you for making the choice to have Gastric Bypass Surgery. Thank you for doing your research and choosing a truly amazing surgeon. Thank you for continuing to eat right and exercise and thank you for not allowing your former addiction to food to turn into any other type of addiction. Thanks for going there, to the painful place in your heart and dealing with your pent up shit from childhood. Thank you for forgiving yourself of your many failings and for stopping the cycle of self loathing and punishment that you were stuck in!
You deserve the world. You are not less than anyone else and don’t ever allow yourself to feel that way again. Those doubts about your worth DO eventually vanish! You find a way forward. Unfortunately it is going to be the hardest road you have ever walked in your life but you already knew that when you started. That’s why it took you so long to decide to take this path! You will meet incredible people on your journey. They will challenge you with their openness and their love for you will overwhelm you! You will reconnect with other friends that you had from years ago and they will strengthen you and your love for your family is going to morph into the kind of love that will carry you forward for a life time!
It all sounds good so far hey! But honestly babe, you will lose some things along the way and it is going to break your heart in ways that you didn’t know you could be broken. As a result of what is going to happen you will be humbled and more authentically you than you ever would have dared to be. For the first time in your life you will reach a point where you don’t allow the opinions of others to be the guiding force in your life.
Finally, it all turns out okay. Not everything is okay but YOU will be okay because that’s how you win. You just refuse to stay down.