July 25th is my D-Day. It is the day my personal forces will storm the wings of CHI Franciscan and lay bare for a life-changing event- Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG for short). As I write this I am D-9-, 9 days away from surgery. I have met my last requirements…spoken with every person who works at the clinic and hospital…triple checked that ALL providers are “in-network”, confirmed my out of pocket costs…bought ALL the protein shakes…I have jumped through the last hoop on this medical journey and have been cleared for surgery.
Everyone keeps asking me if I am nervous or scared or sad about the procedure and my life afterward. My short answer is no. I am not really worried about it and sometimes that does kind of make me worried. I know this is major surgery but I am either a) not phased and ready or b) using the Vulcan practice of Kolinahr to override my feelings of terror and anguish. But since my 23 and Me test came back without any Vulcan connections I think it must be A. I am tired of being bested by my weight. I am bested every fucking day by my weight either because of my own thoughts or actions, by situations I find myself in, or the comments or judgments of others. I am fucking over it. I have overcome everything that has stood in the way of something I have ever wanted. I do not want to be fat anymore yet this victory has remained elusive for a long, long, LONG time. I don’t like to be bested. I don’t like to be defeated. My weight is now MMA fighting with my life and homie don’t play that. I know so many people who have successfully had this procedure I think I am living my future life based on their current results. I am VERY much a planner and a worse-case scenarioer but for some reason, I am just letting this one go. My sister just popped out her first kid and is totally chill about it all. If she can bring fouth and push out life, I can let part of my stomach go. I have no real expectations after surgery…I plan on following the doctor’s orders and being the best big patient I can be. I am hopeful for a quick recovery and that I can tolerate all foods and champaign after the procedure but I am not really mourning the loss of any of those things. I am also hopeful for a shiny, blingy recovery present from my husband but I ain’t holding my breath on that one. Don’t get it twisted though…I LOVE me some champaign and that could be the reason that I am fat. I have also heard that my portion sizes are a little out of wack…this could also be a contributing factor to my current weight situation. Tomato…tamato…toothpaste. Everyone likes a generous scoop of brownie pudding SHANE!
I have been thinking about how I got here…fat enough that VSG is deemed “medically necessary”. I really am a “good” fat person- I eat healthy balanced meals that include lots of fruits and vegetables, I am active and social, I splurge and indulge with chips or gummy bears or-only at Christmas– a Coco-Cola infrequently, I don’t bust out of macros daily or even weekly, I have no health issues, I do not take any medication, I am educated on the basic functions of the body and organs, I stay on top of the newest health news, I buy organic, I take my vitamins every day, I am a stylish and snappy dresser, I buy designer things for GODS SAKE! I AM A GOOD FAT PERSON! This thinking -however- is what has kept me in a really shitty mindset for years. There is no such thing as a “good fat person”. The size of one human compared to another human has about one billion factors that modern medicine STILL has not been able to decode. The “good fat” mentality and marketing brainwashed me (and millions of others) into thinking that I was not worthy of a place in society because I am fat. But if I spent all of my time, energy, and money trying to prove to others that I should be allowed to take up space and oxygen by doing things that others believe to be “healthy”, I can live above ground and not under bridges with the bad, fat trolls. I needed to prove that I was dedicated to not being a fat person by doing things that showed my dedication to be thin. Dang, that was a long thought. And all of this happened with the smallest comments or actions…the off looks or glances. These things travel on invisible pathways that fat people have receptors for because they already know something is “off” about them…they don’t look like what the doctors and magazines say everyone else looks like. It is a constant bombardment of real and imagined condemnation and judgment that rains down on your soul and the only way out- you think– is to abide by their demands. Exhibit A: I stayed in a shitty relationship for years because my fatness deemed my unworthy of a *nice, good looking guy*…I was “lucky” enough to have someone PERIOD! Exhibit B: I didn’t want to attach to people for fear that they would all of a sudden SEE me as the fat person I was and ditch me for the skinny biatches. Exhibit C: I worked like a madwoman for YEARS to prove to EVERYONE that I really was smart and talented despite my size. Exhibit D: I brushed off weight loss surgery because it was a) admitting that I was a lazy person who could not just put down a doughnut and b) was taking the easiest way out of fatdom…there is no dedication in weight loss surgery! I spent so much time and money and other peoples money chasing every skinny product, program, and dream instead of just cutting to the chase and purchasing a real TOOL to help me live life at a healthy weight. Mass marketing man…its a bitch. It has taken me years of learning to unlearn this shit…years of therapy, deep conversations with body-positive friends, consistent invitations to be social from the same people aka friends who are friends at any pant size, kind and loving words and actions from a husband who loves the whole and not the parts, lectures and books that feature fat, smart, powerful women asking why I believed all of the garbage hype about body size, saying “fuck you I am a good human” often and loudly, family members who encourage, support, and problem-solve, podcasts about what it means a good human…period. It has taken some time to unfuck this fucked up thinking but man has it been powerful. And liberating. And freeing. So I am ok with being fat. I am also not ok with being fat for any longer. And that is ok. That fit’s into the desires and goals and aspirations I have set for my own life.
So why then…if I am rah rah-woke-body-positive, am I having this surgery? Because I am tired and swollen and achy. Because I miscarry every pregnancy and the doctors don’t have any answers besides “maybe it could be your weight?”. Because I am not always comfortable in cars and planes and chairs and restaurant booths. Because my A1C is “elevated” and my cholesterol is in the “high range of normal”. Because what I think I look like is not what I actually look like. Because I am tired of being fat. And most importantly, because I want to. My back has not fully recovered from throwing it out last summer. My body feels stiff in the morning when I wake up and my knees make *a sound* that I don’t think is totally normal. I catch myself in pictures and have to do a double-take because the person in the photo is not what my mind’s eye knows. My skin does not have the glowy, dewy look despite the hundreds of dollars I invest in it and I am exhausted every freaking day…even the days I sit on the dock and read all. day. long. So I guess that is how I got here. I think some of my gripes can be attributed to *ummhummm age* but I really don’t think this is the case. I am only 31! Okokokok…I am 35! Uhhhhh FINE MOM- I am 38…thirty fucking eight. I am still too young for this shit. I guess I am really just tired of being meh. I am not a *meh* person…nothing about me is meh. If my life is still feeling “meh” after the surgery, then I need to do some serious soul searching. I need to sell it all and move to Tahiti I guess…open up an iced coffee and shave ice stand on a beach somewhere…teach the locals about green energy, American history, and sugar cookie decorating I guess. Only time will tell…but Tahiti has been calling my name…
A friend who went through this same procedure told me that the worst part of the whole experience was this time period…before the surgery. Now all you can do is second-guess and “what if” your decision. You hear horror stories about other people’s recovery or life afterward…you start missing foods and drinks that you really don’t actually like but the thought of never having _____ again sends you into a tailspin of doubt and self-loathing. I now understand what my friend was talking about. But the reality is that my future will be the same without VSG and I am not 100% thrilled with my current reality. If I stay on this path my back will get a little worse every year…my knees will get louder…something medical will bubble up. I would like to get to a point where whatever medical thing that is coming my way can just be an age thing and not a weight thing. I don’t want to be like Sharon from the nutrition class who was sharing in *full detail* her awful medical conidtions that were attributed to her weight- MOVE ON SHARON! NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT HOW YOU ALMOST DIED FROM BEING FAT AND TAKING BABY ASPIRIN!
I nervous? Sure…a little. Am I scared? Sure…a little. Am I sad? Sure…a little. I really….truly understand now that life really is too short to be nervous or scared or sad. am out of time and fucks to give about that shit. If you can’t pull the trigger when you need to, you will get shot first. (I copyright that…Williams 2020, #shootfirstdielast) And come on…the worst-case scenario here is that I am dead sooner rather than later. At least then I could get a restful night sleep…read my books in peace and quiet…finally tell off all of those parents who blamed ME for not passing their kid <the NERVE!>…not worry about my joints because I will be weightless…I could be just chilling, floating around in primordial goo before being called up to be a rock or a bird or a plant. When one door closes…the primordial goo opens another.