HAHIRA – This special, multi-part series will focus on one woman’s weight loss journey, and why she chose Bariatric surgery as a tool to help her live her healthiest life. Tune in every week and follow her amazing weight loss (80 pounds so far) and learn more about why this may or may not be the right choice for you.
It’s 4:30 AM on August 24, 2017.
I wake up in a hotel room in Birmingham, Alabama scared, nervous, and a little cold.
It’s my surgery day.
Some people say they were so excited they couldn’t sleep the night before their surgery. I don’t know if “excited” was the word I would have used but I surely didn’t sleep. We get to the hospital and wait for my turn to be called back. The last few things I remember were being given an IV, being wheeled away from my husband, and lying in a room full of white.
White sheets, white gowns, white scrubs, white aprons, white shoes, white gloves, white people, white ceiling, white walls, white everything.
The next thing I remember was a grumpy nurse. Who, in all probability, is a wonderful person who I was projecting my emotions on because she was yelling at me.
“YA GOTTA WAKE UP DARLIN’, YOU GOTTA KEEP THEM EYES OPEN”
Ok, first of all, I ain’t your darlin’. Please stop yelling at me. Please just let me sleep, please stop talking to me, please go away. Please just stop.
Suddenly, a flood of questions fills my mind.
Where is my husband? How did it go? Am I going to be ok? Were there any complications? Why did I do this to myself? What’s going to happen next? How long do I have to stay here? What if something happens after I get home? Do you know I live six hours away from here?
“KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN, HONEY”
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only person who wakes up from surgery super emotional. I would think not…mercy, I hope not! My body was just forced to sleep, cut open, operated on, sewn up, and then forced to wake up. Hopefully, I’m not the only one who gets upset and confused upon waking up from major surgery. I wouldn’t wish this feeling on anyone. Uncertainty. Pain. Worry. Stress. Fear. Anger. Confusion. All these emotions at one time are just about too much for one person.
Lots of people who have had any kind of weight loss surgery have said they were scared. But I was more than scared. I actually feared for my life. I wasn’t just afraid of having the surgery done. I was afraid of the feeling after surgery too. Also, afraid of failing and the surgery being completely worthless. I was full of doubt up until they wheeled me into the White Everything Room.
Even after I woke up, I had a gnawing feeling inside asking “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF?!” as I came to the realization that it couldn’t be undone. Obviously, I knew that going into the surgery but then when it was actually over-it hit me.
They have removed part of my stomach and I can’t get it back. I can’t undo this. For once in my life, I can’t fix it and go backwards.
So from that moment on, I didn’t try to go backwards. For several weeks after surgery, I still wondered why I did this to myself. I wondered if I’d ever get to the “this is the greatest thing I’ve ever done” stage. It probably took me until about…mid-October..? to realize it actually was a good thing. I have an amazing new tool that I can use to live a healthier, happier life! I’ve always been overweight and if I ever did lose any weight, it came right back. This plan is completely different. The weight that I have lost will never come back. Even though I’m only halfway to my goal weight, I know I can make it because of this surgery. I also know I never would’ve made it without this surgery.
I’ve decided I’m going to share about my weight loss surgery experience. Not for praise or congratulations. But because there are so many people whose weight loss journeys are just like mine. When diets don’t work, exercising hurts, and eating less means staying hungry. The stigma surrounding weight loss surgery shouldn’t stop anyone from getting healthy.
Tune in next week for my thoughts on the stigma surrounding bariatric surgery.