When It Isn’t What I Thought!

When I first had weight loss surgery I had a lap band. I can hear it right now, “why the heck did you do that Tash?” Well back in the day, the lap band was “the in thing”. It was going to fix my chubbiness and I was going to be able to finally be the healthy person that I had dreamed about being. In hindsight I rate that decision as one of THE worst decisions of my life. The lap band nearly killed me a couple of times. I had a total gut obstruction – repeat surgeries and complication after complication with it. After my original surgeon refused to remove it I was left wondering what was going to become of me. Thankfully my Gyne at the time took pity on me and he helped me to find a new surgeon who did remove the cursed thing. I feel sick that they are still promoted and that lap band is still performed 😦 … Anyway once that was done I swore off weight loss surgery – FOREVER! I had little children and I decided that I would rather be fat than dead. I had endured MONTHS of complications and hospitalisations and I didn’t want that for my kids, or Steve or my extended family anymore. I wanted my life back, so I decided to just get myself together and it would all be okay.

Fast forward 8 years or so and I was seriously regretting my vow of “NEVER HAVING WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY AGAIN”. I was growing fatter and fatter and had tried everything I knew to try to stop myself from gaining. My weight was tipping the scales up near the 150 kilo mark. Over those 10 years I had gained 70 kilos. I would diet and exercise and lose weight but inevitably the weight would come back – with a vengeance, and I felt like a failure all over again. I was stuck in the most destructive cycle. I was eating to cover my pain, to cope with shitty trauma and to hide from life.

We all have a tipping point. I have found that when I look back my tipping point was when I didn’t fit into the robes at my graduation ceremony for a course I had completed. My god the humiliation was intense. I was so ashamed of myself and on that night – I broke. The next day we increased our health insurance and started saving for me to have weight loss surgery again.

I had NO idea of the things that would unfold in my life once I had the surgery. I could never have predicted the life circumstances that would happen and the ways that I would change.

What I think I have truly learned is that

1. I did not know what moderation was and I had to learn that after my weight loss surgery.

2. I needed help to process past hurts and trauma to be able to learn better ways to deal with comfort eating – I mean professional help from a psychologist!

3. I would gain so much from the process of shedding the weight but I would also lose some things from my life that I didn’t want to lose. I would also learn what it is to be resilient and move on. Life is full of opportunities to learn, grow and move forward or we can stay, stagnate and become bitter.

4. I would become a passionate advocate for health post weight loss surgery.

5. I would, for the first time since I was a little child, feel like I can be myself and not care one jot what others may think of me because I know who and whose I am. It is one thing to say this but it is another thing entirely to believe it with all that you are.

As I was back in the day
Me today

Counting down

Yesterday was one of the most awful days I have had in a very long time. It was a low point – nearly as low as how I felt, oh about two years ago around this time. I was down, feeling unsure of myself, triggered physically as I struggle with my low iron levels and blood sugar and emotionally drained. I let myself get to the place of being totally empty, my tank was depleted and I could feel the crash beginning. I should know better than to burn the candle at both ends but sometimes I just don’t! Having lived the majority of my life as a large person it has been somewhat frustrating to lose so much weight but still be physically limited.

Yesterday, someone I love said something to me while I was in that really down state that made me stop and think. It stopped the ever turning cogs in my brain and broke me just a little bit more. They said “Do you know how to be happy?” Yes I do know how but quite honestly I haven’t much felt like it of recent times. A sadness HAS found its way into my bones and I would be foolish to fail to acknowledge that.

Some topics in my life will ever be off limits in my writing. This is largely the reason I have been unable to write much of late. My broken heart tends to tumble out of my fingertips when I go to pen any type of missive – so to avoid that I avoid writing. For that I do apologise. The 20 drafts sitting in this blog are a testament to my desire to write, but at the same time, highlight to me my inability to adequately express my feelings without over sharing.

At the moment there are two topics that have produced the most broken and profoundly all encompassing pain that I have ever known. When I was in hospital and the doctor was panicking at my blood pressure and pulse – they settled on the term “Broken Heart Syndrome” That has happened twice now. Apparently it is not a myth :/

Thankfully however, this is not a “Woe, is me” Post! Thankfully this is a victory post because in spite of it all I WILL not give up and will continue to put one foot firmly and bravely in front of the other and walk into my future, confident in the knowledge that our best days are ahead. Yes they are different than I wanted them to be. But different isn’t bad – it’s just not what we expected.

So the next step for me is April 28th. I go back in for another lot of plastic surgery. Yes I am excited about this but I am also scared. I think that is natural because I have been through an awful lot physically. But I need to own my body and be honest about the fact that the excess skin that I have is painful and it does hinder me in my life. So I am booked for a revision of my tummy tuck – converting from an ETT to an FDL, revision of my breasts, my arms and side boob revision. I anticipate that my recovery will be 6 weeks. So that’s where things currently are! I will begin documenting that part of my story more and more the closer that we get to the date!

When days are long!

Sucking the marrow out of life has never been more enjoyable, or more fun than it has been over these past few days. I am exhausted but time has been well spent. Any investment into family is time that has been invested in the very best way. We have eaten out, laughed, played, been to an escape room, spent a day at the beach, licked ice creams, caffeinated ourselves, shopped and enjoyed each others company. Summer 2020/2021 has truly had some wonderful moments.

We have loved on family, we have celebrated, the boys have discovered their nordic heritage, they have procured drinking horns and were gifted life size, replica viking swords. If you ever get the chance to ask my son Dazz “do you want to battle” you will unleash his inner viking – because he is, after all, of the Faroe Islands. So much fun has been had but we all know that blue skies are more precious because they come with rain too.

So this past summer has also had some heartbreaking things – some of these things have changed me forever. I won’t be the same person that I once was, and thats okay. Actually it is to be expected because change is part of life. I am so much better at letting go of things now. Some bridges have been burned and I am grieved, yet resigned to it. The people who were at the other end of the burned bridges, I truly wish nothing but love as they live their lives in their way. If people and their situations take from our peace then I have learned I cannot hold on to this type of situation. My health cannot do it and I finally value myself enough to be comforted in the knowledge that our paths will not cross again. Thankfully we get to chose the kind of person that we want to be and how we will chose to treat others.

Today was filled with choices. I got to decide if I was going to hide away or if I would engage with people that I had not spoken with in years. When you are literally 100 kilos lighter than the last time that they saw you – it is EXTREMELY easy to hide. People that have known me and not seen me for a few years do not recognise me. And hey – Lets be real here for a minute – I can admit that I have enjoyed hiding in plain sight. I have done it for a few years now, but those days are over and I am, once again willing to get back to living life. It takes time to find yourself when your body morphs. It would be a lie to say that I haven’t changed because I really have. It takes time to find out who you are again. It is not always easy and it has been a process but I am finally at peace with it all.

Endings and beginnings

In this life what goes round comes round – I have accepted that. I have also accepted that some changes can be a good thing. 2021 has already been full of endings for us but it is also full of new beginnings too!!

Some things are horribly sad but from those horribly hard and sad things we can grow, become more resilient, kinder and better. We can take the hard things and the sad things and learn to be more loving and gracious or we can be bitter and twisted – I am not choosing the bitter twisted option.

I hope to get better at letting go of the past and living in the moment in 2021. That is my focus – one day at a time.

Wine, Beer, Whiskey

I wanted to go out tonight – but in our covid conscious society the days of happily opting to venture forth in search of fun and merriment without a lot of forward planning, are sadly behind us 😔 Perhaps this is a good thing because I do plan to see if I can make the walls of church implode by attending 🙂

Hugs change the world

The best hugs of all come from people that love you and do it minus an agenda. Give me those souls every day. I consider myself fortunate to have those ones in my life.

2021

2021 snuck up on me like that unpleasant relatives birthday party….. you know the one! It’s the one that no one really wants to attend ….. but we do because we have to and we just sort of hope to enjoy it once we are there! Well that is 2021 to me and here I stand – with a smile plastered in place as I grin and hope for better things.

We have had a flurry of activity over the past few months, so I do apologise for not writing more. Unfortunately, had I written, my heart may have tumbled out of the tips of my fingers and sometimes my honesty is brutal – too brutal for social media. It turned out to be a wonderful thing that I did not write – Instead I spent much time reading and reviving my soul which, truth be told, was sorely in need of a revival!

I feel like 2020 was a professor and her lessons will forever be etched across the pages of my heart. She taught me what it is to let go and that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Life is positively packed full of seasons and things do end. I have never been good with endings – My little romantic heart yearns for “happily ever after” but that is not promised nor is it a given, as much as I still believe it should be! I have been guilty of holding onto things and people far too hard and for far too long in all of the seasons of my life! But hopefully I am learning to do better and to be better.

When my health took a nose dive at the start of 2020, I had to act immediately. When it is life or a tragic ending you must, if you can, change the narrative! My life had to change and change it did. Heart issues can’t be messed about with, so it was important for things to be rearranged. When I had weight loss surgery I didn’t have it with a view to then allow stress and other shitty circumstances to rule me, overtake me and destroy me – but sitting in that hospital bed I found myself a breath from destruction and in that moment everything that mattered came to the forefront and everything else fell away.

2020 was a very cruel teacher but standing on the other end of her I can be grateful, totally grateful for her. I think that one of the most profound lessons has been that hurt changes people. It also taught me that hope can morph your whole life into something else – very very quickly. I woke up again. I woke up the parts of me that had been asleep for years. The parts that my upbringing, religious ideology and fears had silenced. The words of poets, the phrases of writers, the lyrics and tunes of many a song called to me – they breathed life to me. And as I bathed in their afterglow I felt myself wake up! I didn’t just wake up the nice girl, the good girl, the ‘always concerned with what everyone else thinks’ girl – all of me woke. The thing about waking up the parts of you that long slept is that they have boundless energy and unstoppable passion. I won’t go back to living the half dead life that I once did.

I have learned that holding onto past hurts and pains doesn’t do anything except hurt me and so, much like I lost the physical weight – I have made a point of pressing on and losing the weight of emotional baggage that I have carried. I have, without question, comment, or regret, ended associations that took more from my life than they gave, and my life and family is better for it. I am grateful for the second chance. I am thankful for the whisper of hope that scurried through my heart when I allowed myself to be free of the opinions of those that did not truly care for me!! I am grateful that I met myself again as I threw off everything else that had been obscuring me from view. Hope took root in my heart and at that moment as started to breathe – truly breathe. I filled my lungs with enough air to utter all of the promises that I had made to myself and exhaled them in a litanius supplication to God. Raw and totally unmasked – and my life turned around that day.

I couldn’t and wouldn’t go back there – back to being afraid of my own shadow and being voiceless. I refuse to pretend that the lessons that come with passing years are anything other than precious and I refuse to play stupid games.

In short, in 2021 give me the doers of this world. Give me those precious souls that refuse silence, give me the passionate ones, the ones who live with a weather eye on the horizon. The ones who feel hope in their bones and will never let go of it. Give me those who talk of the future and of dreams and plans. I refuse to be around those who belittle and pick apart others – I have no time for that. I am passionately in love with living, with dreaming and with inspiring. People like that – they are my tribe.

Kindness is free

I often catch myself in situations when I feel less than charitable! The meanie in me wants to come out and have her say. Honestly part of being human seems to be seeing the things in others that we don’t necessarily like or agree with but I have also lived on this large rock long enough to know that we tend to notice things that we don’t like in others more easily when it is something that we dislike in ourselves first.

Growing up I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with my pop. We were very close. We worked on projects together and we would read books out loud to each other about our shared interests – that was a big deal for my pop. He didn’t find reading out loud to be a fun thing to do but he did it for me because I asked him to read to me. I listened to hours and hours of books on a particular type of bird that we both loved 💗 And those hours are some of the happiest memories of my childhood. We had shared interests and he always loved and supported me no matter what I was going through.

My Pop always called me on to a higher standard of behaviour. He was always unfailingly kind and never spoke badly of people – even if they did deserve it. Numerous times when I was much younger – he would look at me when I was complaining about something and he would say “Ahhhh my little chickie, my little Tashie, nothing in life is worth strife” It is funny how words wrap themselves around us and become part of who we are.

2020 has been hard. It is just a few days since other states in Australia have opened their borders to allow travel and soon we will finally be allowed to travel to see our family. Covid has played a very real part in our lives in Victoria this year. When loved ones have gone through horrific health struggles we have not been able to see them – border restrictions have kept us apart for nearly 12 months and so much has changed in that time. More than I will pen on a public forum – but suffice it to say that I am not the person I once was. My life is profoundly different after the year that has been.

Most of the year I have been concerned that I may not see my grandfather again. Pop is still fighting on and I will get to see him again. I have my theories around why he hangs on to life and I also have a steely resolve to act in a way that honours him and my grandmother.

To Be Kind

Recently, one of my children has faced a situation that activated and challenged their deepest thoughts and beliefs. While I do believe that our spur of the moment, instant responses to situations may not always reflect positively on us – they do speak to the type of person that we are on the inside. I hope that one day I am as brave as my son. I want to do better, be better and stand firmer because of them.

Prior to my weight loss, when squeezed, challenged or confronted with situations that I found upsetting or unjust, I used to bury my true feelings and try to “not rock the boat”But sometimes, not only does the boat need a good rocking, sometimes it needs to sink.

I refuse to participate in teaching my children to be “nice” !! I can totally get around teaching them to practice kindness, love and mercy but I will never make them be silent in the face of injustice. Just because it’s how it’s always been doesn’t mean it’s right!! And it really is possible to be right but very wrong at the same time!

Priceless

Sometimes the best blessings are the things that we do not get. Sometimes the best things of all are lessons that we learn along the way. I couldn’t be more thankful for the last 3 years of my life if I tried. It’s been hard, beyond what I wanted to ever endure but I have learned to be okay with the discomfort.

Sometimes, it is in the hard and broken places that we decide to change. We can chose to be different, chose a different outcome, chose a different path. If I had known what lay ahead of me back in 2017 when I decided to book in for weight loss surgery I would have likely chosen to remain as I was. So many things have happened……… and not all of them have been good BUT – I am a lover of silver linings, I look for them, even when I feel like there are none to be found. Hope truly is an anchor!

Right before my weight loss surgery there was a defining moment that happened in my life. I was bullied in the workplace. The things said were disgusting, beyond what I would consider ever saying to another human. But something happened in me that day and it has happened a few other times since. On that particular day, I rejected the words that were said about me and refused to agree with that assessment of who I am. That interaction changed my life forever! Now I am thankful for it! It’s hard to believe that being called a “Fat C@&$” could be a moment of power but it truly has become one and I am thankful for it!! It was the catalyst that I needed to truly believe in myself and my worth for the very first time.