Fat to Fit Chick’s 6-Month Gastric Sleeve Surgiversary
On 10/20/17 I was officially 6 months post op. What the what! I can’t believe it’s already been 6 months. SIX MONTHS. Time flies. I am no longer a surgery newbie but an experienced vet. I have learned so much about myself in these six months it’s surreal. Today I’m going to share some of my victories and my struggles with this journey. Are you post op and share some of my struggles? I’m sure I’m not alone, right?! But first, let’s start with the positives.
My Victories: Weight Loss
All right, let’s start with the most major victory of all: My weight loss! With my highest weight being 322, and my surgery weight being at 308, I have lost a total of 95 pounds. I am down to 227. Omg. I can’t believe I’ve lost this much. This is insane to me. However, despite losing all this weight, I really didn’t feel like I’ve accomplished much until I hit 229. Yes, only two pounds ago. I am starting to see numbers I haven’t seen in a very long time, and for that I feel like I have accomplished so much more than I ever have. For me, the real victory will be once I reach 199: I probably haven’t seen that number in 13 years, onderland.
As someone who was otherwise healthy, losing the weight has been my main achievement. Some people get surgery to help with diabetes, or to help them conceive, but none of those applied to me. I am really just focused on being a better me, and to start living my life as a young woman. Not a hermit.
Also, while in many ways I’m even more self-conscious, and self-aware than ever, overall I am feeling more confident in myself. I just feel more “normal”. It’s funny, people say we use food as a coping mechanism to become more invisible with our size, but I feel less visible now, in a good way! I don’t feel like I stick out everywhere I go; I feel like more of a person, and not an anomaly or a joke. I actually feel like I am taken more seriously now. Could be self-image thing, but I truly feel so much different about myself.
A Very Happy Bonus
Another personal win for me is that I finally got back into my career path of cosmetology. While I never did hair at my absolute largest, I still remember being very near 300 lbs as a hair stylist, and it was absolute agony for me. I was psychically not cut out (pun not intended) to do hair at that size. Aside from the obvious aches and pains associated of being that large, I would sweat so much behind the chair. I always thought it was just anxiety related but in retrospect I have learned that it was due to my size.
My face would sweat so bad I would literally be dripping onto the floor. My waterproof makeup would smudge and smear, and if I caught my reflection I had raccoon eyes. It was awful. Now that I’ve gone back into the industry at a smaller size I am thrilled to report that I don’t have to deal with that problem anymore. This is just a personal win for me, there are many curvy hairdressers that rock what they do at any size, but this was absolute hell for me and my body.
Post-Op Struggles and Blues
Well, here we are. In this section I’m supposed to talk about all of my post op struggles. But who am I kidding, there are none! I am sleeved, , and life has never been easier. I’m just dropping like 50 lbs a day because this process is just so gosh-darn easy.
If you think like this, it’s time for a reality check. While I knew this process wouldn’t be all butterflies and rainbows, I really didn’t think there would be so many challenges, this soon out from surgery. Let me preface my anecdote with that I have a history of major depression and anxiety. Even if not diagnosed, I believe that anyone who has allowed themselves to become morbidly obese may have some form of depression. When you have a BMI of over 50, there is more to it than just having a passion and strong desire for food.
My World of Darkness and Self Harm
The honeymoon period lasted about 4 months. Everything was great, and I was super optimistic. For reference, I was taking antidepressants, and anxiety medication (a large dose), rather faithfully throughout this process. Especially since I’ve heard that this process does affect your hormones. What I wasn’t ready for, was the mental hell I was about to endure. I’m not sure if my birthday brought upon a lot self-reflection but right as August hit I went for a downhill spiral.
It’s as if a switch in me turned off, but I completely changed overnight. I was so angry with myself despite losing about 80 pounds at that time. I loathed myself for needing to get surgery, for letting myself go so bad. I hated seeing how droopy my body was getting, how my stomach hangs very low, how nothing was firming up despite going to the gym. I was supposed to be doing better but I was at an all time low. I had not felt this low in years and years. I had so much disdain for myself.
I didn’t want to live, I was suicidal, self-harming, and I was also constantly over-eating to the point of needing to purge, just to eat some more again. Despite going to therapy and taking my medication, nothing helped. What made this process even worse, was that for the first time in 27 years, I did not have food to cope with my depression, which is why I had never experienced anything so horrific and low before. Food, always got me through rough times, and for the first time in my life, I had to deal with my problems head on as an adult, and I didn’t know how to.
I never felt so certain I was going to take my own life. Cody, my boyfriend, tried so much to help me, yet I pushed him away and selfishly made his life a living hell too as I could not be dealt with. It was a very dark a lonely time. Needless to say, I gained weight, which only fueled the fire of self-hatred.
This lasted about two months. I had never been surrounded by so much darkness, and didn’t see a glimmer of hope for myself.
Taking Back Control of My Life
Then, I finally made a change in my life. I quit my job. “I’d be depressed too if I worked as a customer service agent”, my big brother once told me. Something about him saying that was so validating. It sounds so cheesy, but I realized that I just needed to leave that job. I walked into work one morning, clocked in, and then clocked out about 30 seconds later, gathered my belongings, and left.
I’m not going to say that this job was the cause of all my problems, but for the first time in a long time, I took control of my life. I was in a career I didn’t want to be in, and I was just wasting time. I had absolutely no work lined up, but I knew I needed to change careers. It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
I was working my new job within about two weeks, and I had finally got my groove back. Was this job causing all my problems? Maybe. Maybe I would have gone through this exact phase while working at the salon, I don’t know. This job isn’t without its faults, believe me, but it was such a good choice for me. I am finally back on track, I am losing weight again, and I feel great.
One other thing my brother mentioned to me, that really helped me get through this time, was that he said “You are at a turning point now and this is going to be the hardest moment of your life. You are realizing that you cannot go back to your old ways, and life is changing for you forever. Once you pass this turning point life for you will never be the same, and you will never look back”. This brought me an incredible sense of comfort and I often reminded myself of this when I am struggling through life.
Reflections and Thoughts
Getting the gastric sleeve has been the biggest, and best decision of my life. It has not been an easy ride, but I am forever thankful for the opportunity. I am thankful that I had I horrible job to pay for my insurance to get me this surgery. I am in a very good frame of mind and I am so thankful for the people around me. I am starting to enjoy life again, and wanting to go out and appreciate all that life has to offer.
I am a little over half way through my weight loss goals, I can’t wait to see what the next six months brings. <3