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

Shutting up the inner meanie!

I thought I loved this pic then I realised that I could see my excess back skin creeping around and I started to pick at every single other fault and flaw I could see. I did that for about 5 minutes until I made myself nearly cry and then I just stopped! I just made myself STOP for a minute and gave myself a reality check! I’m a nearly 45 year old woman with 5 children, who has lost 2 thirds of my body weight. I have had 28 surgeries in my life and overcome a hell of a lot of things that others never see so I am going to refuse to allow myself to be put down ….. ESPECIALLY by my own internal voice!! I am never going to be perfect and thank fuck for that, who needs that kind of pressure!! so a great big ole finger to you internal mean girl in my head you can shut up tonight coz I’ll be over here listening to my hype girl! She knows that we have totally got this next phase in our journey! I would love to know what you do to get co trol of your self talk xx

Puffy Muffy

Can we talk about something for a minute?? I wanna discuss post weight loss surgery Puffy Muffy! If you are easily offended this is probably a good blog to avoid 😳

Not sure if I am the only one who had dreams of a nice looking below the belt region? Well I guess when I say nice looking …… being able to see it was my first goal! But I am going to be honest here and say that when I finally could see it, I wanted to just place my fat flap down and never lift it up to look ever again.

Mine has not faired too well throughout this process. I had/have major skin discolouration from the years of sweaty groin and chub rub so that is something that I really dislike but it’s more than that. Tubby Kitty had some major swelling from an incisional hernia, 5 kids and 100 kilos of weight loss it looked like very very saggy balls. My muscle separation continued right down onto my mons with a VERY noticeable division down the middle of the fat pad but I vent after TWO mons lifts but I STILL still have puffy muffy. I feel like I have a bumper pad on me like a bumper car! I still have stretch marks on it and it still looks a bit ding dong dangly.

So my question is, has anyone had a lower incision into your mons where they took a bit more skin to make it smaller. It’s one thing to chop straight across but I feel like it needs a little something more to remove the sheer volume of excess skin in that area. Or am I destined to walk the earth with a saggy fupa 😆

Ps…… for those who know me in person – I see your eyes go south next time we see each other ……… imma laugh and laugh and laugh!

Transformation Tuesday

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!

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!

Kindness

Today was hard. My blood sugar was low right from my first waking moment. I don’t enjoy checking it, I hate the smell of blood. It reminds me of my time in the ICU last year. I am reminded of blood transfusions and life saving surgery in the middle of the night. I can feel my pulse quicken and I know it’s PTSD. So I just sit still and I try to push the panic down. I haven’t actually found the words to say that out loud to anyone in my family yet. I know it means I’m a little bit broken so I just continue on with the test. 3.8 great 😔 my blood sugar will fall from there when I drink my coffee ….. it will fall when I eat or drink anything so the medication will need to do its job this morning.

As is his custom, Steve brought a coffee and my bariatric multivitamins in to our room at around 6:30 am and I sat – trying not to feel frightened by the appearance of my favourite beverage. My endocrinologist has explained a couple of medical conditions to me – we are treating one and it is everyone’s hope that I am going to quickly respond. So I drank my coffee. I think I do feel better than I was feeling so we are taking that as a positive sign. Taking so many tablets each day is a very strange and foreign concept for me and I feel the symptoms of hypo number 1 for the day coming on at 8:00am. I know what the feeling is now – I thought it was all just in my imagination, a lack of sleep, stress or a combination of all of those things. I was wrong – All along it was blood sugar. It has even had me casting my mind back to last year – wondering if that is really when all of this started … I think it probably was.

I seem to have muddled my way through the morning. Helping the kids when they need me, working and then having my doctors appointment. My GP, I am fairly certain, is some kind of saint. He always listens to me with compassion and totally agrees with my specialist that I must not be driving while my blood sugar is still prone to such terrible lows. This isn’t what I wanted to hear but I know it is the safe and responsible thing. This also means that we need another driver in the family pronto. Dr. Mendes has written a note to that effect. Now we just have to hope that Vic Roads will give Aramis the medical exemption that he needs to get his P’s immediately so that my inability to drive doesn’t affect everyone so terribly.

After that I was feeling fairly low, sad, like a burden and useless. These are feelings that I am not a stranger to. They were my constant companions when I was big. I hate it when they reappear now that I am meant to be living my very best life …. then there was a knock on my front door and a delivery from a lady that I have met via a Facebook page that I help to run. We are nudging 36 thousand members and I truly believe that they are the most inspiring humans I have ever had the privilege to know. Serving the weight loss surgery community is such a passion in my life and I do it because I love watching people’s lives transform. Anyway … the postie handed me the package and when I opened it I was just so touched that someone thought of me. I was even more blown away by the timing of the delivery.

Someone’s kindness changed my whole day. It reminded me of the goodness of people. 💞

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.

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 😉