Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Self-Doubt, Dismay...Determination and Optimism

It's an interesting state of limbo, this pre-surgical waiting period. Besides all the health-related stuff: blood tests and sleep studies, corrective measures to adjust various levels of nutrients and such...it's a deeply reflective time, too.

Oh heck, who am I kidding? Everything with me is a deeply reflective time. :) But the topic of WLS (remember, that's "weight loss surgery" - I'm really going to use that acronym here!) is front and center at the forefront of my mind.

Feelings range from dismay - "oh, look at the mess I made for myself," to complete optimism, "Imagine! Me, taking care of *ME*!" I struggle with WLS as a cop-out. I'm a pretty determined and strong person, and it is painful for me to continue "losing" (in every sense of the word except for the way I want it!) in regard to my weight. There isn't a lot that I haven't "won" at in my life. In many ways, that's what put me in the condition I'm in. With career, education, family, etc. I've been able to go all out: setting goals and meeting them. But with eating...it's always been my self-care. Tired? Stressed? Burned out? Worried? Sad? Food can soothe all these feelings. Years and years of self-medicating with carbs and other yummy goodness has taken its toll on my body.

When I think of WLS as a cop-out, I realize it's all part of the way I torture myself for not being *enough.* Not good enough, not disciplined enough, not strong enough. Enough. I don't let myself have anything easily. I don't celebrate my victories, I don't give myself credit where credit is due. I've gotten better about that over the last couple years, I think. Personal drama, e.g. divorce and all its ugly fall-out, has led me to examine and ruminate over every facet of my being. I've come to know myself a lot better in this time: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

So I know when I stress out about WLS as a copout, I also know that any path I take from here, I'll be pretty judge-y about my success, or lack of it. Nobody beats up me as well as I beat up me:

Lose the weight "on my own"?(<--I am beginning to hate this term more and more) Good for you - you should have never allowed yourself to get so fat in the first place! How much of your life did you waste? Yes, you lost it, but it sure took you a long time to do it!

Have the surgery?
Good for you! Now, how much of your life did you waste before you had the surgery? But, if you would have only had the (fill in the blank) surgery instead of the type you chose, you wouldn't be stuck with this (fill in the blank) symptom!

I'm looking for peace. Self-acceptance. Forgiveness. Yes, this is rather a bad spot I'm in, but I can find a way out of it and feel better. Feel good, even. I'm not a terrible person: I've made mistakes, I've damaged and been damaged. But I deserve to turn things around, and all the benefits (and challenges) that come from it.

I could take the phrase "on my own" and print it out, wad it up, stomp it on the ground and grind it into shreds. I read the phrase everywhere, I say it to myself all the time. "If I could lose the weight on my own instead..." WLS is not a magic fairy who will make it all better with the wave of a wand. Not at all. It will be a difficult recovery and it will present its own new challenges. And even with all that? It won't take away all my extra weight! Depending on which option I choose (I am planning gastric sleeve), my surgeon says it will take away about 75 pounds of my 125 pounds or so I want to lose. There will be a lot of work for me to do "on my own." Additionally, it's on me to solve the issues that led to the obesity in the first place. Where am I going to channel this extra energy that currently goes toward eating? How do I make sure I don't give up compulsive eating in favor of another addiction?

Either way, surgery or not, it's all on my own. I'm not sure exactly how I see or feel about the surgery, but I always at least see it as a tool to get me on the right road. And as far as the permanency of the smaller stomach - well, it's the guardrails along that road.

Much more on this later, at various times, because it's pretty much all I think about right now. ;)

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