Scream

The Stigma Behind Bariatric Surgery

Over the past few months I have noticed an increasing amount of mentions, opinions, good & bad articles regarding Bariatric Surgery. Being that I am 5 years Post-Op from Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery this is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. There would appear to be more of a negative opinion when it comes to weight loss surgery. That being said; I am here to discuss this issue, because well, it pisses me off and I’m going to let you know about it.

I have been a big fat, all my life. Well, at least since I was 8... or something.
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The curly, frizzy hair, jorts, and horizontal lined tank top sure as hell didn't help either...

Though I am blessed to say that I have and had a very close group of girls during my childhood/teenager years that I could always go to, it was nothing short of a nightmare growing up as "the fat ass" in grade school. In the seventh grade I was held down by high schoolers so that another girl repeatedly punched me in the head, only to end up going to the hospital. I remember running home from school nearly Every. Single. Day. to wash my hair before my mom got home. Why? Because it was dripping with green slimy phlegm from kids spitting in my hair the entire way home on the bus. And I just didn’t want momma to worry about me.

In school nobody knew me, but that didn't stop them from referring to me by the most genuine and heartwarming nicknames known to mankind. "Beastly." "Tub-a-lard." "Shovel Face." "Fatty." The word "Heffer" still makes me cringe to this day. High school was murder. I didn't fit in, except with my group of girls, which is alllll that I ever needed... but its not like we were in every class together. We could have "each other's back" at lunch, but that was about it. Thankfully I was accepted into an accelerated high school program in my junior year. Than I was able to leave the hell hole and went to a school where there were other oddballs, fatties, nerds, and geeks just like me. I left that school, and didn't look back. I still have a few individuals that I like to stay in contact with (that are outside my group of amazing girls) that went to that high school, but that’s it.

The lessons of grade school do stick with people for years and years. I am 29 years old and am STILL battling at times to find my voice and stick up for myself. I hate standing out. I am terrified of ridicule, and god forbid if I am in any confrontation. I will cry, at the drop of a hat. Even if it is over the dumbest shit possible. I am scared to death when it comes to knowing other people's opinions about me. I bend & break to avoid any negative atmosphere because that is what I was surrounded in for 8 hours straight every day at school.

I went off to Kentucky for college after high school. Although one of the reasons for leaving college was certainly due to the fact that they messed up my transfer royally (to the tune of 10k in one semester,) it was mainly due to the fact that I couldn't go out and meet people. Thank God for my roommate Bethany. If it wasn't for the fact that she was awesome and sweet.. I probably would have not unpacked.

I was fucking terrified of being hurt, over and over.

Because I am obsessed with food and at that time lacked self-control, I became obese. In our culture obesity has become the bane of existence. You are the (fat) butt of every joke. You are scrutinized by family, friends and strangers for every morsel of food you put in your mouth. Sometimes intentional, other times meant out of love. (Still sucked like hell even if it was out of love.) At times I would become bitter and eat out of spite. I think Fat Bastard said it best...

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I left college and came home. Then I  went to work in a kitchen. Because, hey, we know that I am qualified for that! And well... nom nom nom! 1 lb. after the next came along. I'd diet. I joined the gym, weight watchers and all of that. Yes, they did work! They absolutely worked. I cannot tell you how many times I would lose 20-35 lbs. But one mishap with a cookie and I’d gain 40 lbs. back. My weight came on easily. I would yo-yo like a champ when it came to my weight.
I "seemed" happy with myself, but on the inside I was screaming.

A short time later after returning home I started dating my Josh. This man is absolutely amazing. At the start there were many individuals that were skeptical of our relationship. Why? Josh was handsome, immensely charming, lean and mean... and a ladies' man. What was I?
Chunky with extra gravy.
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I mean, why would he date me?! He could do better! People thought that he was taking advantage of me. Why else would he be there unless I was of any benefit? Truly, Josh came with a lot of baggage and had some serious demons in his closet. However it is in my opinion that the right person for you is the person that has demons that play nicely with yours.

It took a long time to fight off the negative perception of our relationship. But frankly it was the first time that I didn't care what anyone else "thought was going on." I knew he loved me from the start. If he wanted "better" he would have and could have got it.

True story: He has been hit on MANY times right in front of me. There was this one time (at band camp) at a restaurant that the waitress and another waitress kept coming to us and asking "what the big date" was about. "I mean, are you friends? Or is it a special occasion? What's going on here?"

Bitch. We sleep together. Naked. Go somewhere.

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When I had made the decision to have bariatric surgery, there were many individuals that asked if I "was doing it for Josh?" Nope. I did it because I was miserable, lacked confidence and was gaining weight rapidly. Josh was with me as I gained almost 80 lbs. Trust me; if he wanted to pick up anchor and run off he would have a long, long time ago. Not once did he feel ashamed that I was a big girl that was getting bigger. He told me that he loved me every single day. I felt (and still do) the same love he had for me since the first day we met. He has loved me at all stages of fat: Fat, Fatter, and Fattest.

Truth be told, when I told Josh that I was going to have surgery he immediately stopped everything that he was doing, sat my ass down and straight up asked "are you doing this for me?" I said "no," that I was "doing it for myself. Because I’m done with being sad and I want to be the happiest for me... which in turn would make our relationship that much more awesome." His answer: "Good. If you said that you were doing it for me than I would tell you to not have the surgery."

Two weeks later, along with my mother, he was with me at my first consultation appointment at a Bariatric Clinic.
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Okay... maybe I wanted it because Chloe wasn't growing fast enough for me to hide behind.
I started the process that took almost a year: monthly appointments along with therapy sessions and insurance hoop jumping. My doctors, family, friends and I would ask all of the time "are you sure you want to do this?"

I even had another “friend” that straight up wrote me a letter letting me know that I was a disappointment to her. That, I was a coward. “Why would you do that to your body? It is NOT natural. You just need to stop being lazy and work out!”

It's not that I couldn't lose the weight. I know that I had the ability. Hell I had lost a lot of weight, multiple times. The problem I was experiencing was that I would gain it back... so quickly. This starts the vicious cycle of depression. Than eating because you are depressed. Than being depressed because you just ate that.

I worked out! I wrote down everything that touched these puffy pink lips. I was in karate for years! My weight went up and down up and down.

I was tired of fighting, struggling, and crying.

I never mentioned to people that another reason that I struggled to lose weight is because I have PCOS. (Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) It’s a hormone imbalance that loves to tamper with your hunger pangs. I also never told people that if I didn’t lose weight, according to my MD, that being morbidly obese with PCOS I might as well not plan to have children. I want kids. I have two beautiful children in my life now. But, i want to know what it feels like to carry a little critter in my belly for 9 months. There is still a possibility that might not happen. Though I am sure even if I had laid this out for people I would still get scrutinized.

December 21st, 2009 was my surgery day. That surgery was intense. In-fucking-tense. I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a MACK truck. The surgery was 5 hours long. Later, I woke up in my room where I got to see my 'rents, and my Joshy. 2 hours later the 80 year old nurse's assistant from crotchety hell was waking me up to "go for a walk." I hated her but… I walked down the hall. I had to sit down at the very end of the hallway because I felt like I was going to pass out/vomit/die. Once back in my room my nurse was happily waiting with a muscle relaxer syringe full of godliness that she lovingly called "Nap time." "Nap time” and I became fast friends. It was called "Nap time" because within 3 minutes of it being administered, I was out cold.

Only to be woken 2 hours later by the crotchety-nurse’s-assistant-from-hell to go on a walk.

That bitch.

I was off of work for 3 glorious weeks. Sippin' my chocolate-y goodness protein shakes which went from "It tastes like okay-sugary-chalk," quickly to "if I had to imagine what ass tasted like, I'd guess this."

In my first month post-op  I "only" lost 4 lbs. I almost lost my mind... "Did the surgery not work?"

Next month; I lost 25.

The next 10 months were the greatest “let-me-try-on-these-pants" months ever! One week a pair of pants would be way too small. 2 weeks later even wearing a belt with them resembled the tie around a garbage bag. Josh would laugh and smile and hug me whenever I would cry. I was crying simply because I was a 'size smaller."

I started to smile more. I was finishing up school and being confident at my job interviews. I was much happier. I worked out and I watched what I ate religiously.

I started letting people know when they sucked.

I had lost over 100 lbs...
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So there is this stigma that Bariatric Surgery is "the short way" or the "coward’s way." It's a sign of weakness & laziness.  I’m sorry, that's nothing short of bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong. Everyone should try to lose weight the "good ol'fashion way." Everyone has the ability to lose weight this way too. Just remember: nobody has the same struggle.

For me, it wasn't a quick fix. My stomach pouch is now my tool. Yes, I have lost an incredible amount of weight because of Bariatric Surgery. But, I still need to work out, watch what I eat and be mindful about my moods and the triggers to the want/need of eating a whole pecan pie. I’m still a fat kid at heart. My Bariatric Pouch is now the tool I use to help me live a healthier life. I have my good days, and my bad days... but I no longer "rebound" into an abyss of depression and Oreo cookies. It has given me the control that I absolutely needed to change my life for the better. I know in my heart that if I did not have Bariatric Surgery, I would easily have been 400 lbs. by now.

Since my surgery I’ve got a much .. much better job that allows a lot of potential. I’ve started my own business. I can ride rollercoasters at Cedar Point again! (I did experience the embarrassment of not being able to fit on a ride before.)

I got married... to my Joshy... the man that has loved me fully since the very beginning, while proudly wearing a size 14 wedding dress. (Not a size 28 that I used to wear.)

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I smile more.. a lot more. I go out more. I spend more time... just being happy.

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No. I did not lose weight "the natural way." I made a decision that was "naturally" the best thing for me. I did -not- take the quick way out. After enduring years of "Maybe it’s a thyroid problem?" tests, grade school torture, asshole adults, ridicule and "health tips" from skinny bitches that never-ever experienced the misery that is morbid obesity, I decided not to let life suck anymore.

Bariatric surgery is not a "weak person's way out."

I think it takes a strong individual to say that they need the help, and an even stronger individual to accept the help they need.

To the friends, family and strangers that supported me in and on this journey, God bless you. I love you. You are, the shit.

So, to those critics regarding weight loss surgery:

Screw you. I am a million times happier in my life, my confidence, my career, my marriage and my personal relationships. To try and rain on my parade simply makes you the asshole. Don’t you cut down or make someone feel inferior if they make the same decision. You do not wear their shoes. You know what is best for you and not anyone else.

If you have a problem with bariatric surgery; then don't have it.

Go eat a cookie. (And get me one too.) Dickhead.

With love and hostility,
Melissa

Scream

Let's start at the very beginning

It’s been an incredibly long time since I have even considered writing in this. I need to write more often as it assists me in composing my thoughts. Being someone that has a brain in constant motion, it’s a welcomed relief. Though this entry will not be too positive it will do some good. My stress levels have been tremendous lately. Often I find myself shutting down and just lying in a vegetative state on my bed. This being said though, I am never bored. I can be doing nothing physically at all for hours on end and never get bored. One of the perks of being an avid dreamer, I suppose.

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Mid July we put our home on the market. Our very first home that has treated us so well. We have put a lot of sweat, blood and many, many tears into this old gal, but she’s been great nonetheless. Our house is on the higher end of price when it comes to my neighborhood. Some may argue is way too high but if you only knew the work that has went into this home, you’d understand. I’ll give you a synopsis:


  1. All New Appliances (that will stay.)

  2. Plumbing to city sewage beneath the house has been completely replaced.

  3. New carpeting placed in the basement after all of the old tile was ripped up.

  4. New trim work in all rooms.

  5. Full Bathroom was completely gutted and renovated. All new hardware, vanity, toilet, bathroom surround (ceramic tile), and new flooring.

  6. ½ Bath was completely renovated with all new hardware, vanity, toilet & flooring.

  7. The 1960’s kitchen was completely gutted (to the studs, people). Five, FIVE layers of that sticky tile were ripped up. New cabinets and light fixtures, ceramic tile for floors and counter tops. New textured ceiling installed.  You know all the frills.

  8. When we moved in the garage had NO insulation, No working garage door opener, no cabinets. Work station built, cabinets installed, and walls completely insulated and dry-walled. Oh, garage door now operational.

  9. Bedrooms all have new trim and new light/fan fixtures.

  10. New and freshly painted front door and storm door.

  11. Crawl space completely insulated (was not insulated before.)

  12. Utility room completely redone. (new walls/ceiling/cabinets/shelves).

  13. Front lawn landscape completely redone. Tore out old sidewalk, made a new sandstone path.

I’m not even going to mention how much paint has been slung on those walls. Every. Single. One.

Within 3 weeks we had a seller’s contract with that offer that was damn near our asking price, and we were scrambling still to find our “forever family home.” The prospective buyers had an inspection done, and then gave us a massive laundry list of things that “would need to be done before closing.” Things such as “Paint exterior of home,” like the whole thing, and “install a new furnace,” and one of my favorites “caulk around all windows and doors.” You know, things that people should consider doing after they moved into a home they just purchased.
Personally, I find it absurd that you would ask someone to paint your house for you, before you bought it. Just sayin’.

What color would you like?

Let’s talk about our furnace. Their inspector said that the furnace did not work. Why he didn’t check to see if the pilot light was lit and that the gas was turned on to be ran to the furnace, is beyond me. It doesn’t get that chilly in July. The furnace works, just fine. Yes it may be ancient… but it works. Even during the harshest winter that was last year… she didn’t miss a beat. Why fix something that is not broke?

There were about 10 others things on the list. In the end it totaled around $10,000-$15,000 of “repairs” they were demanding of us. Later we found out that they were getting an FHA loan and that these “repairs” were required in order to finance. Though, we called their bluff on that. We bought the home with an FHA loan, without any things done on that list I mentioned, and the house was literally just taken out of “condemned” status.

In the end they decided to move on.

Than the second offer came in, and after some negotiating we agreed to a price. Lower than what my husband I wanted (much lower than the first accepted offer.)  But this person is awesome and we want to work with them. I mean, its a friend. I want to help family and friends first. While they were getting their inspections and appraisals done… Josh and I found the home that we want. It’s wonderful. It’s beautiful. It’s where we want to be. Our offer was accepted, our inspections went great, and they have taken my earnest money deposit. Yet, it is contingent on us selling our home.

Then the buyer for our home wanted to renegotiate price, again. ~sigh~

Instead of going into great detail about my finances I will just say this: There is a certain number that we must hit when selling our house. Going lower would place our financial future in serious jeopardy and we wouldn’t be able to take on the home that we want.
So another deal has fallen through, and I am devastated. Now the house that we want and had a grasp on could possibly not happen unless we were to get a buyer soon. I was so excited to move. We want to begin a new chapter. Our next house is where Josh and I want to expand on our family, where we want to raise Ethan and Chloe and one day our future itty-bittys. I had even started packing in anticipation.

I’ve been obsessively checking my e-mail, just praying that someone has changed their mind.

Nope.

On top of all of that my best friend is getting married next month. As her Matron of Honor I want to throw her an awesome and intimate, Bachelorette party. It is immensely hard to say “We’re going to do it at my house!” when I have NO idea where the hell "my house" will be. It is also increasingly frustrating to try and make concrete plans, in said conditions, when I know (and am reminded of) that everyone is super busy and needs to know things now. This I understand completely. I have two children, I am a home owner, my husband and I both work full time jobs and I have a side business that I work as my second job. Trust me, I get it. I especially know how hard it is for finances with everyone including myself.

As always I’m trying to play Atlas. I want everyone to be happy, truly.

~sigh~

Work has been nothing short of ‘suck.’ Good people are leaving because the way things are rolling. I was also offered a great opportunity that is just… out of reach. It would put a lot of burden on my family, and distance between us and our kids. Which, I won't do. I love them dearly. Their home with their mom is already quite far, I don't want to go any further. So, really work has just been depressing.

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Last, but not least (last stupid depressing thing for today,  I promise!) is that in these times I miss the hell out of my cat. We had to put him down at the beginning of May because his kidneys were failing. I never understood how attached to Ashes I was. He would force me to snuggle him like a teddy bear in bed, every night. If I did not come to bed early enough for him, he’d come and annoy the hell out of me until I went to bed. Every now and than I  get that stupid comment “Why don’t you get another cat?” It’s not that. All animals have different personalities. Yes, he was “just a cat,” but he was my family.
So there’s that. I’m done with ranting.

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My pathetic Chihuahua still loves me though...


Okay, change of pace:

Three things that I am thankful for today:

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1)      I am thankful for my husband. This man is my rock. Nobody believes me when I say this, but we do not fight. Once in a great blue moon we will disagree about something. But, never have we raised our voices at each other, disrespected one another, or stayed “angry” for longer than necessary (like… two seconds I swear.) I had read something a few months back that “couples that do not argue do not last because they are not “passionate” about something, and therefore do not have anything interesting going on in their relationship.” (Horribly paraphrased, of course.) I shared that information with Josh, so now we just make up shit to argue about. For example: He was a real asshole the other day and left the toothpaste uncapped.  So, I was mean and squeezed that bitch from the middle to get toothpaste out. ( I think that I am one of those people in general that squeezes the tube of toothpaste from the middle… perhaps that is not something I should admit about myself.) We had to keep the yelling down to a minimum though, Pico starts to shake when we're upset. That is an interesting thing though. How is it hard to conceive that a couple doesn't argue? Isn't the whole point of marriage is being with a person that's your best friend? Don't get me wrong. We've annoyed each other. We've been agitated by the actions of another and have bickered about miniscule things. But.. we've never fought.

But really, I can ask this man for anything. Even when i've annoyed him or managed to agitate him, he'll still do whatever I ask.  He holds me when I am SOBBING over the stupidest shit possible, as in the color of my pen wasn’t blue enough, stupid.

I am a serious introvert, but he is the 1 person that I can be around all of the time and still feel like I am getting “my space.”

Yay Josh!

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2) Bed. I am so thankful for my bed. I know that is absolutely ridiculous to say, but seriously. How good does it feel to come home from the most crap-tastic day, and just plop into your bed? When I do this I am often reminded of playing hide-and-go-seek as a kid. Remember how you had a “base?” The base that you would run your happy little ass off to because once you stepped a toe on that bitch you were “safe!” That's “bed” to me. Worries and life-stresses and all the other stupid stuff can’t touch me when I’m on base.

“SAFE!”

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and now I will take this advice..

3) No matter how bad a day may get… there’s always tomorrow.

End. Rant.

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