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?
I don’t think I will ever comprehend not being thrilled for others when they are happy in themselves and have achieved something transformative in their lives! I am so fortunate to meet incredible people on a daily basis. Women and men that have decided their lives simply had to change, so they have made that happen. When you are around that kind of motivation day in and day out, it becomes infectious! I love talking about hopes and dreams with people! I love watching passion and purpose come alive in someone because I remember how it felt when it came alive in me!!
One of my favourite parts of each week is Tuesday! In the weight loss surgery community in Australia because it is affectionately known as Transformation day or Transformation Tuesday and what a wonderful thing to do!! Who doesn’t love a good transformation. I know I do!! It is just a fact that in life we really must learn to clap for ourselves!!!
One of the things that quickly became apparent to me after my weight loss surgery is that not everyone will cheer for us. Some people will watch from the sidelines and give you the once over every now and again, some will watch just waiting to see what happens and if you actually make it, some may even try to actively discourage you under the guise of “I’m just so concerned for you” and still others may just be blatantly opposed. The best and most valuable lesson that I think I have learned in life is that it IS NOT the voice of every external thing that matters! It is my response to those voices and my ability to advocate for myself, know who I am, what I want and deserve in life! It isn’t up to other people to give me those things. They aren’t found externally – self worth and self belief is something that bubbled up inside me when I eventually found the courage to drown out other voices!! When I looked at myself 4 years ago trying to wear a graduation robe that didn’t fit me, I saw a woman so filled with potential but also with so much frustration! It was exactly what I needed to see in that moment and that woman looking back at me in the mirror had achieved something on her own, with no help from anyone and right there I started to imagine that if I could study, be a mum and work full time then SURELY I could lose weight.
It was a painful road to be standing here!! The sacrifices have been steep! I am thankful for the lessons, for the learning, for the highs and I am also thankful for the lows. The painful times don’t cause me to self destruct anymore!! I care about my health and my life too much for that! But I will, without hesitation, question or even a parting glance, remove from my life, people who try to make me feel bad about myself or who are destructive to the self worth of those I love.
One of the keys I have found is in community. I have learned so much from some really fabulous people. It is in relationships with like minded people, people that have gone further than we have. I am continually inspired by some phenomenal human beings that have lost more weight than me, who do life beautifully and who practice the same types of behaviours that so value!! My friend surround yourself with a cheer squad, surround yourself with those who will celebrate you, love you for who you are and will be there for you every step of the way! People who walk beside us are precious!!
These days I have learned I can wish people well but that doesn’t mean they are up in my circle! I hope that the people who have tried to bring me down, one day see how toxic their behaviour was but it’s not my job or responsibility to do anything about that! It’s not even my business what they think of me just like it’s not their business what my opinion is of them!i have finally learned that I must choose my own mental health and wellness over the comfort of someone who does not have my best interests at heart. You deserve the best and so do I so let’s practice kindness to ourselves and celebrate ourselves each step of the way!
HAPPY Hump Day – I am hoping, for the sake of family and friends living in Melbourne, that tomorrow night will mark the lifting of the lockdown that they have been living under for these past couple of weeks. Covid strategy in Australia is very much a suppression game until enough of the population is vaccinated for things to return to “normal” whatever that may be. But standing on the other end of this 4th lock down, I do have to wonder what will be left after all of this is done. One thing I do know that will be left behind is the incredible and resilient spirit that I have come to love about Victorians. When we moved here ten years ago I was struck by the fact that come rain, hail or shine they will be out doing things on the weekends. That kids will play sport on frosty grass in winter and think nothing of it and that they will use ever opportunity to enjoy the glorious natural vistas that surround us. I love that about living here and I can’t wait to see everyone getting back to doing that again. In any case I feel at least a little hope in my heart that we may be able to see loved ones again soon, travel interstate, have family come for special events and hopefully get back to doing the things that make up our usual life. We aren’t asking for magical unicorns, simply to be able to play sport, go to the gym, go to work, school or university, see our friends, and just generally live our lives.
Yesterday I saw my plastic surgeon. My right arm has two seromas in it and both arms remain very swollen. This is a combination of the liposuction and the skin removal and this swelling may take up to 12 months to totally subside BUT, and this is so flipping exciting to me, I have clearance to go back to the gym!!!!!! SO FREAK’EN HAPPY!! Apparently the contraction of the muscles from working out will help with swelling so as soon as I am able to go back to the gym, that is where I will be. My tummy is great, healed beautifully but there is already excess skin again. We knew that would happen and truthfully I don’t care at all. When your body is covered in damaged skin the results aren’t going to be perfect but they will be okay and I am so happy about that. I am sitting here writing to you thinking about the fact that I do not own a single set of activewear but that I will be able to go and get some and for the first time in my entire life I won’t have to worry about my arm skin, or my stomach skin! I am trying to imagine how that is going to feel and to be honest – I can’t! I am just excited to get back to living. I also cant wait to post a whole lot of gym selfies. Yes I will be that person. HAHAHAaaaa!!!!
I adore this recipe!!! I was scrolling the Interwebs looking for food inspiration and happened upon the oat flour crazes that are all over TikTok!
The next morning I made baked oats for the kids and a thing started! They were in love And I had to make it every single day… (that is a recipe for another day) but it sparked a thought about a vague memory of a mini donut maker that was gifted to us so I went hunting and found it!! And these were born!!
The protein Powder that I use is called Tasteless by Feel Good and it is from Costprice Supplements
The Fruit Powders that I use are from http://www.purebotanypurveyor.com.
Anyway here is the recipe for you two different ways.