It takes some of us longer than others to find our feet. I really hope that I am not the only person that can relate to this but hey if I am then thats okay too. It feels like it has truthfully taken forever for me to achieve that sense of self and to feel at ease and at home in my own skin. I spent a great portion of the last 40ish years of my life not feeling that way. My younger years were distorted by abuse that happened at the hands of a non family member and I grew up with my confidence through the floor. I was such an unhappy child. I know that I was reactive to things and I felt like I was continually scrambling to avoid sinking under the crushing weight of anxiety that came from those times.
I think that this is on my mind because I will watch another child of mine Graduate from High School in a few days and oh the relief that floods my soul that he does not have the same degree of hang ups that I had at his age.
I “acted out” in my teenage years. It was probably the first glimpse of my questioning and doubts about some of the things that I had seen growing up in a hyper faith church, and around some very dysfunctional adults. I will never forget one time, as a 14 year old, when my hollow bedroom door blew shut while some people were visiting! My door had a habit slamming and rattling and was one of those things that my parents were going to get fixed but they were really super busy and it wasn’t like a door that could slam with no help at all was really high on the list of priorities. Anyway the visitors deemed the loud door as me being deeply rude and disrespectful and the visiting adults proceeded to yell, scream and carry on about everything that I was not and how awful I was, when in fact, the wind had blown my door shut. These people had terrorised my childhood and it was always a case of “be on your best behaviour” whenever they were around or all hell quite literally broke loose. That moment was the beginning of me understanding that sometimes people were NOT right just because they were older than me, “further along in the faith” “my elders” etc etc etc. It is possible for adults to be entitled, abusive, angry people and they would go on to prove themselves to be exactly that, time and time again.
That was the first time that I distanced myself from someone and I was right to do that! It would be years before I would personally have dealings with them again. I called it at 14 and wish with all of my heart that I had kept to what I felt back then but hey hide sight is 20 / 20! In short, after a lifetime of this and other unacceptable things happening, I was hurting and put myself into situations that were unsafe at times. Up until then I was always so keen to please, trying to gain approval and trying to feel like there was value in me. I felt like I needed to find a way to banish the self loathing that had entwined itself so fully into my heart that I struggled to find where the loathing stopped and I began. I was in a cycle, self loathing, disordered eating behaviours, placing myself at risk, giving people that did not see my worth power over me, and when I was treated poorly, then self loathing again. It was a pervasive thing that found its way into every single part of who I was.
I found some sense of belonging and feelings of self worth inside Christian teachings – but not the hyper faith movement that I grew up in. In that particular shit storm I found judgement and happy clappy, fake purveyors of a slick, shiny religion that diminished everything down to a point where everything became about being able to do things to earn love.
It would be years and years of feeling broken and trying so hard to be good enough before I would have a moment of total clarity. I had had some horrible complications during pregnancy and someone said that if we did not come and see them immediately they would be leaving the church. In that moment I checked out. I realised how often I brought into that, how often I put my own health both mentally and physically, on the back burner for others. Now thankfully I do not do, or give, anything unless I can freely and willingly do so without the thought of it ever benefiting me in any way at all and as long as it is not going to damage my emotional or physical well being.
I have little time for that type of thing now days. I have a couple of jobs, a busy family and I have found that found game playing, jumping through organisational hoops, being at church every single time the door is open and unrealistic expectations of week nights out on a regular basis are all things that I am just unwilling to do. I am excluded from certain things because of those choices and I am 100% good with that! I would far rather everyone know exactly where they stand with me as opposed to seeing someone on Sunday and then a different person entirely during the week.
I also feel like this needs to be said – I am a nicer, better, kinder person since I stepped away from the pressure of the hyper faith movement. I look back over those times in my life when I was struggling to fake it till I made it and all I made was myself and others miserable!! My god I was awful at times. I was so fricken miserable and I took it out on other people and I will have to live with those consequences for the rest of my life BUT the thing is – I will live. I refuse to just stay stuck and stagnate as I was. Weight loss surgery saved me. As my fat left, so too did the loathing and bitter hatred that I courted for myself. The frustration at not being able to be the person that I wanted to be because of my weight, diminished, until I knew that I would only ever be held back by my own limiting beliefs and that was a very happy day indeed.
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!
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?