Invitation

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

Magical Unicorns

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!!!!

When Fears Whisper in your Ear

Hands up if you know what it is like to feel fear? That visceral, consuming, blood gone from your extremities, hyperventilating kind of fear that leaves you wanting to run – but you can’t run because there is no where to go to escape it.

Well that happened to me on Saturday afternoon. My plastic surgery in September 2019 was filled with problems. (Read back in my blog for info) Well my baby sister had her Tummy tuck last week – and we had just picked my mother up from the airport for a visit – the first time since pre covid times, when the phone rang.

Mum went outside to take the call as we were preparing for my sons 19th birthday party, and it was quite rowdy in the kitchen. When mum walked back into the room I knew that something was wrong and she told me what had happened and that my sister was not okay. I felt that fear – I had spoken with my baby sis right before her surgery and told her not to go towards the light – I guess I was trying to use humour as a coping mechanism to mask my concerns BUT I also had a yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach. Anyway as mum was talking to me I tuned out, it felt like she was speaking to me in slow motion and I felt everything about my experience come flooding back.

Hours later my sis was out of surgery again and they had found the source of her bleeding but she remains weakened and will have a longer recovery ahead now. Aaaaaaaand I am meant to have surgery myself in 31 days – and I’m just not sure how I feel about it!

The letter

I wrote myself a letter before my surgery. I didn’t expect that I would ever share it here but I am doing so in the hope that it may help someone to decide to take the chance and have the surgery. I never wanted to let myself forget why I have made the choices I have made. When I found this last night I ugly cried. So on Thankful Thursday I can’t even begin to explain how thankful I am for the life I have now 💞

June 16th 2018

Dear Tash,

I hope that you never forget the reason that you are about to have weight loss surgery. I know that you are absolutely terrified right now. Knowing you, you won’t forget tonight, but just in case your brain shrinks along with your body – I don’t want you to forget! You are sitting awkwardly at the dining table writing yourself this missive. You know you would usually sit in bed and do this but you can’t right now because there are two kids asleep in your room and you don’t want anyone to hear you crying. You are bawling because of all of the lost years that you can never get back. Your precious girl has moved out and you can’t get back the years with her but you still have a chance to be the mother that you always wanted to be to your boys. Tash please don’t just remember being afraid, remember why you are doing this. Be driven to become the healthiest version of you that you can possibly be. Remember that in amongst all of the fear you feel right now, it’s really fucking hard to reach the table!! Your belly is pressed hard up against it and your little T-Rex arms can hardly reach. You don’t want to live your life like this!

You know that you have to do this. Even though it terrifies you in every single way. You want so much more from life than what you have had. You don’t want to struggle to tie your own shoes or wipe your own arse! You want to be the mum that can run and play with your kids. You want to be able to go on adventures with them. You don’t ever want to hear another kid tease them because you are the “fat mum” ever again. You want a better job, you know you can do more but right now people only see your size. You want to be a better wife and have a better relationship with Steve. You want to be able to give yourself to him totally without always holding back because you feel frightened that one day he will decide that he can’t deal with your self loathing and your binge eating anymore.

But then there are the things that you want just for yourself. You want to be able to wear something that isn’t black. You want to wear pretty dresses and clothes that make you smile. You want to be able to stand to sit at the hair dresser rather than hating your reflection so much that you never go. You want to walk into a cafe and not worry about if the chairs are strong enough to accomodate you. You want to walk into country road and buy straight off the rack. You want to feel healthy and not like you are eating yourself into an early grave. Don’t give up. You want to sing again, you want to dance again. Keep going. Please don’t stop because you were made for more than what you have had up until now. This is all I can do for you. I can give you this chance and it is up to you what you do with it. Please write some wonderful chapters.

Pixie

The last few days have been hard! Who knew that cutting my hair short would trigger so many emotions!! Well I suspected it may but here is what I have been going thru personally. This year has been transformative for me. The heart episode in March was another wake up call!! I am making room in my life for me to become what I want to be. Does that sound kind of crazy? I think it does BUT I have worn a lot of labels in my life. I wore them because they were given to me by others and I just accepted that. As I have lost weight and my life has changed, I have started to examine those labels and the things that go along with them.

I always knew exactly who I was on the inside but I was frightened to be that person. I was scared of not being accepted, so it was easier to just wear the labels I was given by others because if I was never truly me, if I never let anyone see me as I really am, then I would never be hurt.

I remember a few years ago I was told that only vain people wore as much make up as I was wearing on that day and I shouldn’t be trying to draw attention to myself. I was MORTIFIED, I wasn’t trying to draw attention – I was trying to face the day and not feel so ugly. It was a waste of money to get my hair done ….. that money could be better spent on being generous to others. It is frivolous to have more than one pair of jeans because you can only wear one pair at a time. I should just stick to black because it covered a multitude of sins and there was a lot to cover … and on and on and on it goes. Peeling back the layers on my personal transformation has been soul searching and tough!

The most challenging thing recently was my hair. I grew up with certain ideals around hair – and getting it cut short was not one of them. I always wanted to chop it all off but I had some ideals that needed to die before I was ready to wear it how it is now!! When I had my hair cut a number of men commented on it and hinted that men like long hair …. bish please … if you love it that much then you grow it!! And here is the thing – I now do what I want for me because it’s what I want to do. Where I am concerned times have changed – I dress to please myself, I wear what I love, I do my make up how I love it and I have my hair how I want it to be. I will not be transformed into the image someone else has of what I should be. I love my husband but I am not becoming his dream anything – I am becoming the best me that I can be.

For the first time in my life I have realised that it is okay for me to show who I have always been!! I’m a little bit sweary, I love my coffee, the greatest loves in my life are my family, I will be relentlessly authentic and I’m not sorry for that because it’s who I am. I am a jeans loving, converse wearing, little miss doo gooder, with short hair and a big heart!

Here are a few things that I have learned along the way from my plump self down to my slim self.

  1. It is my responsibility. No matter what, no matter the situation or why I feel compelled to want to eat … what I put into my mouth is on me.
  2. No one else can do this for me.
  3. Loving and cheering for myself and seeing the value in myself is ESSENTIAL for my health – both physical and mental!
  4. I am worth it.
  5. I am loveable at any size and so are you
  6. Never ever let something that someone else said about you define you! You have the final say x

By the window

(Trigger Warning)

The sky was inky black and smoke grey clouds swirled overhead as she pressed her face against the chilly glass. Condensation formed from the warmth of her breath and the smell of winter assailed her nostrils. The ominous, rain laden clouds, heavy with moisture, seemed to choose that moment to release their bounty and sheets of rain beat down, punishing everything in their path. She slid open the latch on her window, opening it just a crack, to let the freshness of it fill her room. A gust of wind found its way in through the tiny gap and seemed to multiply in the space, blowing papers about and rattling posters that cling to her walls with blue tac.

She adored a good storm, it often felt like they matched her mood! Her teenage moments, she acknowledged, had been tumultuous lately. Her past and the secrets that she carried, combined with rampaging hormones, seemed to provide a perfect storm and when they happened they were a really pleasant way to escape.

Her mind bounced between traumatic memories, the things that her neighbour did to her as a child, the things that happened just months earlier and the fact that she has been acting out before that. They told her it might even be viewed that she had deserved it. Everything she had done would be brought up, did she really want to put her family through that kind of shame. Never mind what had happened or the wrongness of it. Her job was to protect all of the people she had hurt with her behaviour, she didn’t want to cause them more pain, did she. So she would suck it up. She would find a way to cope. She would try her best to hurt no one else, just herself and she would eat her pain.

The bottomless pit of self loathing was temporarily sated when she filled it with food. When she ate, she could feel the hands and the things that they had done to her just melt away. It was never long before the temporary euphoria of the food consumed would turn to dust. The sweetness of her coping mechanism turning acrid in her own mouth and she would hate herself for the food she ate. She would hate herself so much for consuming excess calories that she would be driven get rid of them, she would drive herself with hours of exercise to try to make herself tired enough to sleep. She would cling to the toilet bowl, eyes burning and gut clenching as she forced the food out of her stomach once again. She was tormented and so profoundly lost. It was 1992.

The Cost

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.

  1. My mattress – I was in pain from lying in my “big me” sized mattress hole.
  2. All my shoes – I am now 2 sizes smaller
  3. 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 🤦🏻‍♀️
  4. 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.
  5. My lounge suite because I broke it 😔
  6. My dining chair – I am going to have to replace the set but am making do for now.
  7. My entire wardrobe because going from a size 24/26 to a size 4/6 means that nothing from bigger me fits me anymore.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. New glasses coz the old ones fall off my face 😳
This is me now

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.

Me yesterday and me a lifetime ago
My dangly skin before I had it chopped off

ET and I are mates 😉