I have been invited to things in my life, I have been uninvited and I have been not invited – I think most of us can relate to at least two of those things and if you are like me, like to speak your mind, have no hesitation about calling things as you see it, then you may have been uninvited too! 🤣 If you have been, “high five” you are in good company here.
So this is my invitation to you. I would love to know what you would like to know about me. I am happy to discuss all things weight loss surgery and skin removal surgery. My family is off limits but I will do my best to answer anything else xx
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.
When a was a child I had a favourite toy. It was the cutest My Little Pony and to me – well that toy was just the beginning and the end of all things. I loved it with all of my heart. In fact, I am fairly sure that I still have it somewhere in my garage. I think what I loved the most about it was that it stood out. Who doesn’t want a blue horse with a pink mane and tail right! I can remember taking it to school and no one else had the blue one! I thought “oh no! I should have got one that was like all the others!” and there began a lifetime of wanting to be like everyone else and never quite embracing my me-ishness!
Over the years I have been drawn to many sparkly unicorns 🦄 but eventually I put my me-ishness away in a box and decided that it was going to be better for everyone if I just stopped trying to be me. I shouldn’t want to grow my own food, and I shouldn’t enjoy making everything for my family from scratch. I should put away my long floral skirts and pretty mobiles that used to hang around my house. Apparently, so I was reliably informed – they were going to summon demons to my door 🤦🏼♀️ (Just quietly, I have always had one in our bedroom, given to me as a gift by someone that I absolutely ADORED when I was 15 annnnnnnnd no demons 🤷🏼♀️😂) Sewing was old fashioned and embroidery was worse. Why would I want to make preserves and why would I mix my own washing powder and why would I dream of a self sufficient life, on land – (with a mote and crocodiles to bite intruders – okay, okay perhaps that part was taking my introvert sensibilities a bit too far 😂😂😂😂) but seriously I spent so long trying to be someone that I wasn’t and I never quite managed to do it. It was not an authentic way to live and it was exhausting.
Then, one day I realised how stupid it all was. I realised that I was making myself miserable for other people. Those people didn’t expect it! I placed unrealistic expectations on myself and made myself miserable by trying to be something that I wasn’t. I wanted to be something other than me. I wanted to be a little less sparkly unicorn-ish and a lot more mainstream. I had fallen, hook, line and sinker for a story that brought me so much pain, misery and hopelessness. Comparison is a heartless bitch and I had been deceived by her narrative for decades. The day that I realised that, was the day that I decided to be me again. It was the day that I started allowing my dreams to bubble up in my heart again.
My biggest concern was, “would I be able to find her!” She whispered and sung and felt free among wide open spaces and lived right where quirky and mainstream collide! Thankfully my fears around not being able to find the real me were, for the most part, unfounded. After all, I think that in our heart of hearts, we do know who we truly are even if it worries us and even when we are afraid to dust off our inner unicorn and just be our own kind of weird and wonderful.
It took a while, but eventually I managed to locate the real me, she was buried under a huge pile of self loathing and pain, but she was still there, right where I left her. Still in love with the whimsical things, still a dreamer and still joyfully content with the simple life. It has been a revelation to find myself again. To find so many parts of me that I had lost along the way. To find the joy in being authentic has changed my life. This change happened because of an inner knowing that I am a better, kinder and more joyful soul now than I ever have been before and that I am responsible only for my own responses. There is a confidence that comes from knowing that I am loved as I am, imperfect, a bit broken and totally aware of my own failings but I am also wake to my own value.
I don’t expect anyone else to take care of me emotionally anymore. I know that I am responsible for the welfare of my own heart and soul and I do take responsibility for it these days. What a different life it is. My life is slower, more intentional and I listen to myself much more than I used to in the past AND I trust myself. I care for my body, I am kind to it in the most nurturing way possible. I have a small, tight circle of people that not only love me but see me. They are true friends, not people that stick around on our socials for the juicy goss! They are the flesh and blood people with hearts full of love for me and mine and purpose filled vision in their sights. They are the bringers of chocolate, gifters of meals, speakers of wisdom, value and purpose and offer a good slap of reality if I am in need of that too. When I stopped feeling like I needed to apologise for my very existence I learned how to live. Weight loss surgery gave me the confidence to deal with so much more than physical weight. It made me believe that I could deal with the emotional weight also.
Let’s talk for a minute about the Cost of Bariatric Surgery. Many of us pay quite a sum just to have our surgery in the first place. But the costs that are ongoing are something that we don’t really talk about a lot. That’s not to say that WLS isn’t one of the best descisions I have ever made because it is!! But these are things I didn’t think of beforehand. Some of the things that I have replaced because of weight loss surgery include the following.
My mattress – I was in pain from lying in my “big me” sized mattress hole.
All my shoes – I am now 2 sizes smaller
All of my underwear 4 times over as I found out the hard way one can’t wear undies that are too big and not risk them falling off in public – yep it really happened 🤦🏻♀️
My car seat – this is a weird one and I upgraded my car because it needed an upgrade anyway BUT the drivers seat was broken because of my bum and my weight.
My lounge suite because I broke it 😔
My dining chair – I am going to have to replace the set but am making do for now.
My entire wardrobe because going from a size 24/26 to a size 4/6 means that nothing from bigger me fits me anymore.
My supplements and vitamins ongoing but for me the cost of my weekly food and vitamins and supplements is still less than what I used to spend per week on my food (I ate a lot).
Skin removal surgery – this shot of me there with the excess skin is current. That is after my radical tummy tuck – obviously I require revision surgery because my surgeon thought that a radical tummy tuck would be enough but it wasn’t. When you have as much excess skin as me it is unpredictable how it will respond.
New glasses coz the old ones fall off my face 😳
As for the plastics, I don’t disclose how much my surgery cost, but the following is a rough guide per area of the body and what you might expect to pay (after private health insurance and Medicare covers the hospital costs and a small payment to the surgeon and the gas doctor) THESE ARE AUSTRALIAN PRICES $1k-$7k is considered low cost. $7k-$11k is mid range. $12k and over is high range. That is the gap payment as plastic surgeons will charge you a gap fee even if skin removal is deemed medically necessary. The gaps vary from surgeon to surgeon. My recommendation is ONLY USE a PLASTIC SURGEON. If you have private health insurance are in NSW or don’t mind traveling, google ‘The Access Program’ if you want a lower cost option.
Would I do it again? Heck yes! Over and over!! I have a life now and I am so grateful for it.
I feel like I spent years and years of my life going around with a blindfold tied firmly around my head. I put it on myself and I kept it there willingly mind you. I allowed myself to wallow in my own self loathing. I was totally convinced that life for me, was to a large extent, as good as it was going to get. That I had, because of my many short comings and failings, been overlooked and in my mind I deserved it. My sense of self loathing began as a little girl. I remember the day that it started and the trigger has haunted me for years. I remember what I was wearing that day and I remember coming home and throwing my favourite dress in the bin. It would be years and years and years before I told anyone what had happened but by then it was too late. I had brought into a destructive lie that would go on to shape so much of my thinking around who I was.
I remember not understanding so many things and wondering what was wrong with me and why I was different to other kids. My happiness and the care free feeling of childhood died that day. Within a few short years I would embark on a pathway that would lead towards an eating disorder and a few years after that it led to alcohol abuse and drugs. All the while my loving family continued to love and pray for me while many a sanctimonious relative looked down their judgemental noses at me, my choices and my life.
They swore that their kids would never end up as mucked up as I was (just quietly, how did that work out for you?) My mum was encouraged to kick me out of home to make me come to my sense. Honestly would have probably been easier on them some days! But my gosh, the love of my mother is a force. It can be felt across states, it still wraps around me now just like it did back then and there was no way that she would let me go. No way that my Dad would let me go either! Thankfully my Mum and Dad both flipped off the naysayers and refused to put me out of their home. However, all it took was one little blonde haired girl with ringlets and a disposition as sweet and pure as sunshine itself to do me in. I didn’t want her to be hurt or disappointed in me so I did my best to sort my shit out. I am my mother’s daughter, I love my family passionately and even if I didn’t love me at that time, I loved my little sister with all of my heart. I didn’t want my little brother to find me passed out in my own vomit anymore and I didn’t want to wake up and not remember what or who I had done. It sounds as bad as it was – It is probably worse than that actually. There were moments of sobriety but they were few and far between.
I really was just a messed up kid trying my very best to cope with some truly shitty things that we just don’t like to talk about and I still don’t like to talk about. The first guy I ever really loved copped the worst of me – the vile mood swings, the temper, the destructive self loathing and the hormones – oh my god – lets not forget those! Add into that an eating disorder, and a terrible need to feel like I had some kind of control over my life. I often cringe inwardly when I think back to the mess that I was in those years. Of course I was good at putting on faces and did a brilliant job of that most of the time but at that point in my life I wasn’t able to admit to the brokenness or even see it as that.
My personal train wreck continued on a really private level for a long, long time. I battled with the shame of my very public break down and as a result, I battled with feeling less than worthy. I struggled with self loathing and battled an eating disorder well into my 30ies. However, so many incredible, milestone moments have taken place on the very tricky path I have walked and those moments have shaped the turns that my story would take. There is no one in life that I love more than my children. When I became a mother for the first time everything changed. I wanted to be the best I could possibly be for this incredible little person that I got to love. I still have the same want and it motivates my choices each day. I did not get it right all the time or even most of the time. I have buckets of regrets and have cried rivers of tears over my short comings and failures. I have also learned that there is little point in living life filled with regret. I hope that my failings have caused me to grow and made me into a better, more authentic and kinder person – finding the good, or the golden in myself is a lesson in self discovery.
I have been asking myself over and over this week “What comes out of me when I am squeezed.” What are my responses to life? What are my responses to the challenges and to the trials that I am personally facing and that my family faces at this time. What about my friends and my community. Honestly, lately there are times when I have disappointed myself. Where my life and my choices do not make me feel proud or, if I am honest, even pleased with myself. Life in 2020 looks different to how any of us ever expected life to look. Did we honestly believe that we would be spending months on end social distancing, isolating for our own protection and the protection of others, that food shortages would be a thing or that so many people would find themselves jobless?
Human frailty sucks. My emotional state has not been where I wish it was. Since the episode with my heart and being in hospital, I have been struggling. I am supposed to be staying calm but that has proven to be more difficult than I would have expected it to be. Calm and the current state of the world that we live in don’t really go together. The personal situation that has been happening in our lives has broken me and caused so much pain to my family. We will all recover but we won’t be the same as we were. I have experienced a time like this before. It was a long long time ago – when Justus was born months early and we had multiple things happening in our lives at once. I felt like I would break from the grief that I was feeling.
I vividly remember an horrific phone call that I received during my long days spent by my sons humidi-crib. After that phone call, I went outside and walked up and down the pavement that flanked the hospital. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, from waking multiple times a night and from the emotional exhaustion of not being able to be there for my other 3 children. I was ranting, crying, praying and pleading with God to intervene in my circumstances. I am going to be really honest here. There was no gloriously splendid splitting of the sky with a rolling, thunderous voice, telling me that everything would be okay. There was no phone call from the people that we thought cared about our situation with the exception of our most immediate family. (Most people are only equipped to deal with their own shit – they can’t cope with yours too and if they can, well……………… they might do it for an hour or two, but they seldom do it for week after week, month after month – and by this time we were 2 months in to our journey) Our lovely Christian neighbours were complaining because I was coming and going from the house at odd hours (yep being called into the hospital in the middle of the night is fun and you are a bad neighbour if you turn your headlights on at 1 am) My marriage was all kinds of broken and I was in crisis.
As I broke down on the pavement that day, a scripture that I had read years earlier popped into my mind. It was from the 90th Psalm and it talks about numbering our days that we might obtain a heart of wisdom. In that moment I remember wondering if that meant that we should live with the end in mind. That moment, there beside the hospital, I realised that my suffering, my pain and the things that I was going through weren’t going to be magically taken away. It had nothing to do with me being good enough, or being able to quote enough scripture at it, or pray hard enough or stand long enough or having enough faith. It was the very first time in my life where I found myself questioning the charismatic teachings of my childhood and realising that the sovereignty of God is not something to be laughed about.
I grew up in a movement that often made fun of those who believe in the sovereignty of God. In its very simplistic form, it is the belief that all that is good is God and all that is bad is Satan and if you have bad things happening in your life then it must be because you have Sin lurking in your closet. Believe me – my closet has sin AND so does yours! 🤣 We can’t control anything in this life EXCEPT ourselves and how we choose to respond to what happens to us and our responses to that. I now believe that there is a fine line between faith and arrogance. I realised that day that this was a valley to walk through and it mattered very little why I was in the valley or even who was responsible for me being in the valley – what mattered was the person I was becoming in it and on the other side of it and where I would run for comfort. Would I still be arrogant? Would I assume that I knew all of the answers? Would I still pretend that I was fine when I wasn’t? Would I flash the fake smile around? Would I be authentic? Would I be brave enough to change.
Perhaps I didn’t change enough, or perhaps it is just one of those things, but here I am again. More broken than the last time but more sure than ever before that in my brokenness I am not alone. I wish that I learned differently, I wish that pain wasn’t the catalyst for radical changes in my thinking but unfortunately it is ……… so valley, I see you, and hey, I am not stopping here. My prayers now are not demanding, declarations. They are the pain filled cry of someone with a deep understanding that it will only be because of grace that I don’t get exactly what I deserve. And it will only be His kindness and love that restores my soul ….. or not
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, How stressful is the seeeeeeason! I am writing this in my post Christmas calm, while lying in bed having a little afternoon rest. This is code for I have a wicked hang over and reflux kept me awake all hours of the night, so I am trying to make up for some of those lost hours in the middle of the day. DAYUMMMMMM that’s a far cry from me a few years ago. If you have known me for a long time – well I am not sorry for who I am now but I am sorry if you were ever adversely affected by the self righteous stick that I have only learned to recently remove from ….. well you know where.
Christmas, its reason, its whole purpose was never about the warm glow of bellies filled with yuletide yumminess or of how many presents exhausted parents could stack under their trees, in an effort to convince their children that they love them. Im sorry I know that I sound cynical and to be honest, this year, I may well be a little cynical. For years and years I brought into Christmas hype. I made Christmas something that it isn’t and I am sorry for that. The wonder and beauty of the first Christmas is not wrapped in commercialism and families trying their best to awkwardly smile through another full day of activities bound up in feelings of duty.
This year I woke up in the home of my childhood. This year I woke up with both of my siblings in the same house as me – for the first time in ohhhhhh about 26 years! This year it wasn’t about presents (yes we had them) or particular dishes that we would gorge ourselves on. There is very little gorging when my brother, sister and I can eat a cup of food between us per meal 😂😂 This year it was about being with the people that we love. About reconnecting and adding value to relationships. The first Christmas was about hope and this year, after the darkest year of my life, I have felt hope come alive again. Not because of anything anyone preached to me, but because of the LOVE that has been shown. Oh to preach our beliefs with our actions rather than with empty words and to let love speak via who we are.
Christmas is more than a day – it is a love filled narrative that is year long and if its not that …. well I guess for me it is probably just an empty, commercialised thing. So for the first time in a very long time I can truly say that Christmas has changed my life.
Change hurts. There is no two ways about it. It does not feel pleasant to change everything about ones life. It just doesn’t – but there is a strange comfort that can come from this kind of pain. It lets me know that I am alive. For years and years I did everything within my power to numb my pain. I over ate to numb myself to the pain that I was carrying around in my heart and when I couldn’t shove that volume of food into myself anymore I found that all of that pain came bubbling towards the surface. What a suckfest that was! But the wonderful thing about that situation is that it was a chance!
Sometimes all we need is a chance and that is exactly what I needed – a chance to reevaluate – a chance to change. I have now decided that I am used to being uncomfortable and I rather like it. Yes, I do like the way it hurts! I am in a state of renovation at the moment – both inside and outside. What about you? What are you learning lately that is revolutionising your life?
Well that was a big title! What do you mean that no one is joining in my overflowing excitement that I am no longer plumpy me!?! All I can think when I say the word ‘Plumpy’ is of Moto Moto from a kids movie that I absolutely adore. I’ll try find a clip so you can see what I mean.
Annnnnnyway I am not sure what I was expecting to happen when I reached my goal. I think I was probably feeling like I would suddenly self actualise, all would be well in my universe, all of lifes bigger questions would be answered and BANG, just like that, things that had sucked would no longer be sucky and I would live in a state of perpetual bliss. WRONG. This sounds extreme and it is, BUT the bones of it are true. Numbers don’t fix things, smaller numbers on the scales may fix some health problems and give you a longer life but they will not remedy any inherent misery that you happen to be experiencing unless you actually work on those things.
My Nan was one of the most influential people in my life for the years that I was fortunate enough to have her. She was a bigger person for most of her life, and along with her bigger size, came her great big personality, her kind, generous heart, wicked baking skills and her stories. It is safe to say that I adored her – I always will. One day she was in considerable pain with her tummy apron. Her skin was excoriated, bleeding and causing her so much discomfort. I asked her if she would consider going to the doctor and she said “for him to tell me that I need to lose weight again! No thank you, I could go in there with my head dangling by a thread and that doctor would tell me that it would be fixed if I lost weight”. Guess what, Nan was totally correct about that attitude AND she was also correct that ole mate the doctor, would have told her to lose weight and her rash would go away because her apron would shrink. I know this because I saw the same doctor, for the same thing and that is what he told me! I can emphatically call bullshit on that notion!!! In losing all of the weight that I have lost I did not lose the tummy apron and the skin rashes and tearing only became worse not better! The only thing that worked for me and would have worked for my Nan, is the unceremonious removal of the offending apron. I didn’t really expect that my reward for all of my hard work and weight loss was going to be a body that resembled ET. Those smaller numbers on the scale were meant to fix everything right?
I also didn’t expect to find it so different to find my way in the world. I spent so much of my life obese, that I was comfortable with my role as an often disregarded, second class human. I actually didn’t want to believe that I was treated differently to anyone else. With that denial of the obvious firmly in place, I decided that I wanted a change! So in 2016, tired of working for myself, I decided that I was going to go in a different direction. Over a period of 2 years from 2016-2018, big me applied for in excess of 90 jobs and went for MANY interviews. But guess what, there was always someone better suited to the role. One lot of feedback I received from the recruiter was “the employer would love to stay in touch with you and said you are just the kind of person that would be in her friend group!” 🤔 What even is that? I am never opposed to making new friends but I went for a job interview. Fast forward 8 months – because I was tired of continual rejections, I went for no more job interviews until January of 2019. Imagine my shock 😒 when I was offered two jobs in one day from the first two interviews that I went for post weight loss surgery. I WAS STUNNED! Am I suddenly a more acceptable human being? Apparently I am. I was filled with rage. I know that rage is a strong term, but it is befitting the storm of emotions that I felt. I was NO DIFFERENT, still the same person – except that I was 50 kilos lighter at that stage.
That was a low point for me. It should have been a wonderful high point right? But it wasn’t – As the kilos continued to come off I realised that living at goal weight was something that I was spectacularly unprepared for. I believed in myself, I was losing weight for the right reasons and yet I was frightened of all of the changes that were happening. It is odd to go out and be hidden in plain sight. I don’t look like I did so I can accept that people do not recognise me. But it takes time to form a new image on the inside of yourself of who you are and where you fit in the world. These are my hot tips for living at goal weight. They are my must do’s and they have given me so much courage to take the road ahead.
Here is my LIST OF GOAL WEIGHT MUST DO’S
Celebrate yourself and what you have achieved. Most people won’t truly get it – they may be happy for you, some will be sick of hearing about it, some will be downright jealous, some will not see what the big deal is – all legitimate and valid points of view so celebrate yourself!
Make friends with your flappy bits. If you have lost a lot of weight then you are gonna need to make friends with your excess skin. I am friends with mine. Sure if I had unlimited spare dollars I would go and get a few other things sorted but right now I’m okay with me. My arms are still waving bye bye to people three minutes after I stop waving and that’s okay!
Get regular check ups from your GP – its so worth seeing the way that our body heals itself when it is given what it needs to do so. One of the most gratifying parts of this life change for me is the fact that I no longer have high blood pressure and I am no longer pre-diabetic. Mwahaaahahaaa take that genetic pre-disposition!!!
Learn that there are some jealous mofo’s out there in the world. Not everyone will be happy for you. In fact, there will be people who will give you the stink eye at every opportunity. Thats okay, all that squinting will make them wrinkly AF. On this matter I believe that Jane Austen said it best via Elizabeth Bennett when she penned this phrase “I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.” In other words – there opinion doesn’t matter – you just do you and let them be a squinty mess – who knows, you may even inspire them!
Keep track of your eating and your weight. That doesn’t mean be obsessive. That doesn’t mean go and jump on the scales 3 times a day. That means check yourself that you are staying on track. Enjoy good, nourishing food and drink. I stay within my calorie guidelines on a daily basis and when I do go over I do so because I am choosing to do so. Goal weight does not mean that we are dieting forever. It means that I am mindful of what I eat so that I stay within a 3 kilo tolerance of my goal.
Living at goal weight means that I am no longer restricted like I once was in terms of my physical activity so for me it means getting out and moving my kick arse body a whole lot more than I used to. Who knows I may even do a pole class soon 😜
Talk to your psychologist, see what I did there – I made an assumption that you have one because massive weight loss = massive mental shift and that needs support. It requires more support than I could give to myself or than my usual support system could give to me. Our mental health should not be an after thought.
Have fun. Don’t sit back and find another excuse to not live your life. I try to do something that scares me every single week. Its amazing what cultivating a culture of breakthrough will do in your life.