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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Stretch Armstrong?

Remember that toy?  Stretch Armstrong?  The last name was a pun--he had strong arms!  But the important part of it was that he could be stretched and stretched--across a room!  

When I first had this surgery, nearly three years ago, people, being the doomsayers they are, told me that they knew people who gained all their weight back...and MORE.  Everyone had a sad story to tell about someone they KNEW.

Hearing that story freaked me out, so I asked the nurse practitioner in my surgeon's office if she had experience with people who gained all their weight back.  She told me that in her seven years of working in that office, she had NEVER seen anyone gain ALL their weight back. Yes, people gained back 10-15 pounds over a few years, but she had never seen ANYONE gain all their weight back.

So why the naysayers?  Can it be that people just don't WANT to admit that this surgery WORKS?  Last week's Grey's Anatomy mentioned a patient who had had gastric bypass surgery but that the stomach pouch and intestine had stretched out and needed to be repaired.  However, the show didn't mention WHY his pouch had stretched, and nothing more was mentioned about that patient.  I was hoping that they would expound on the subject, but they did not.  I'm not sure why they didn't address the issue--perhaps there was pressure from the bariatric surgical community.  Perhaps they didn't want to dump more fuel on the fire. Perhaps they didn't want to further the idea that everyone who has the surgery gains ALL their weight back.

I definitely can eat more today than I could two and a half years ago.  But I still can only eat a very small amount.  About half of a half of a chicken breast.  If I have one more bite than I should, I get sick.  One bite more.  How on earth could I possibly gain ALL my weight back?  On any given day, I weigh between 158 and 163...depending on intestinal issues more than anything else.  Maybe it's a surgical problem?  Perhaps the people who are "gaining back all their weight and then some" are doing so because they have inept surgeons?

I don't have any answers, and I can't speak for everyone.  Personally, I don't know ANYONE who gained back all of his or her weight.  I DO know that I'm still about 145 pounds down from where I started nearly three years ago--and I don't imagine that I'll be STRETCHING anytime soon...

Friday, May 2, 2014

Body Parts and Broken Hearts

I want to ask you a question.  What is your favorite body part?  Seriously.  Think about your body--that glorious mass of bones and tissue that covers and protects your heart, lungs, liver and other organs.  What's your favorite body part?

My favorite body part USED to be my eyes.  I still love them--they change color and are sometimes greener than they are at other times.  My eyelashes are really long and curly, and I love them.  People notice them, and I get a lot of compliments.  But I have a NEW favorite body part--my collarbones.  

I love my collarbones.  As you can see by this picture, they are rather prominent.
I love them.  I find myself stroking them, rapping on them (they make a cool hollow sound), grabbing at them.  Collarbones.  I've always HAD them, but before the surgery, I couldn't see them or feel them. My collarbones are this wonderfully TANGIBLE sign of the difference this surgery has made in my life.

There's a new documentary called "All of Me" about women who have had gastric bypass surgery.  These women used to be "fat acceptance advocates", but one by one decided that the health benefits of the surgery were right for her.  Some of these women lost a lot of weight; a couple did not.  But what struck me was the fact that a few lost friends and/or spouses.

My question to this is WHY?  Why do friends and lovers feel threatened by this surgery?  When I had mine,my fiance James didn't want me to do so.  Although he took me to the hospital, he left me on Friday night and didn't come back to the hospital until Sunday to pick me up.  He didn't throw away the junk food in my house that I had asked him to throw away.  I knew that it was the beginning of the end for us. He admitted to me (after I pressured him for an answer) that he wasn't sure he could be attracted to a smaller me.  He later said that he was afraid that if I lost the weight, I'd no longer be attracted to him.  (I'm not sure but I think that was insulting--did he not TRUST me?)

A woman in the documentary said that her new body didn't match her husband's sexual desires, but they are "trying" to hold their marriage together. He had moved out but they were dating.  Other women in the film talked about losing friends.  I had a friend--someone I thought was a GOOD friend--Crystal.  She and I used to meet for dinner whenever our busy schedules allowed.  But when I lost the weight--and began to look good--she was just too busy.  What happened there?  I'm not sure, but I theorize that she felt threatened by someone who would take the spotlight away from her. She stopped calling, didn't return my calls and didn't even seem to notice when I "unfriended" her on Facebook.

People make the mistake of thinking that weight-loss surgery is the EASY way out.  It is NOT easy.  It's difficult and scary and physically demanding.  Losing 145 pounds was one of the best things that ever happened to me...but it's not without collateral damage.  Still, as I stroke my collarbones, I regret nothing...