Time is running out!

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Well, It is official.  I am scheduled to have gastric bypass surgery on September 24, 2013.

Words cannot describe the roller coaster I have been on since the date has been set.  The reality of my decision has taken it’s dear sweet time to sink in.  While I always knew that it was going to happen.  It seemed a far off.  Like Thanksgiving or Christmas in February.  But then you blink and the holidays are here.

And like the holidays, questions arise.  Am I ready? Have I done all that I need to do in order to be prepared for this occasion.  For the holidays, it is usually simply about food shopping and gift selection.

I have much deeper questions.

“Have you lost your mind?”  Yes, I have asked myself this question….several times even!

“Do you seriously think you are going to follow through with a commitment of this magnitude?”

Commitment is a big issue for me.  I am DYNAMIC at starting things.  You will not find anyone with more zeal than I have beginning a project or task.  The follow through however, I come up disastrously short.  And even that statement is a gross misrepresentation of the truth.  Once the glamor and glitter has faded, I am out!

“What about all the mess in your head and heart that push you toward eating in the first place?”

This is the part of me that doesn’t want to change.  (Yes, I am honest enough to admit that!)  The part of me that wants to hold onto what is comfortable and familiar.  The part of myself who has condemned myself to a life of misery and isolation.  The part of myself that feels that I don’t deserve any better than what I have right now.  The part of me better known as the punisher.  There is never a completely perfect time to do anything.  Opportunities aren’t about perfect timing.  Opportunities are about making the best out of the time and stuff you have at the moment.  As Bishop T.D. Jakes stated, “Maximize the Moment.”

My heart flutters even as I write this blog.  I am honest enough to admit that I am currently engaged to the gastric bypass procedure.  September 24, 2013 we will be getting married and moving forward will be the honeymoon phase which eventually fades and then the reality known as the real deal will unveil itself.  I had to admit to my therapist and a friend of mine that I was all wrapped up with the idea of having the gastric bypass that I hadn’t really delved into all that I needed to know about what having the operation really mean.  I had not read about protein and why it is vital to gastric bypass patients.  I had not wrapped my mind around the fact that moving forward I will need to measure my food…FOREVER!  I had not looked at the fact that I cannot exercise like I am crazy because I will be eating so little that if I exercise too much, I will burn off all that I have eaten.  I hadn’t really accepted the fact that I will need an eating and drinking “schedule”.  If I don’t eat every three hours and if I don’t get in all my protein and if I don’t drink enough water.  I will suffer malabsorption, dehydration and end up losing muscle instead of fat.  I didn’t realize that I would need a vitamin schedule.  I cannot take my iron with my vitamin C, the vitamin C is more important to my body canceling the iron out.    I should take my vitamin c and colace with my Iron.

Geez, this losing weight business is complicated.  Maybe I should just stay overweight!

Yeah, I know.  That is the punisher speaking.  Even you have to admit that is a lot to work out in your head.

Or so it is for someone who has spent a lifetime ignoring themselves.  Getting in the process of making time for yourself doesn’t sound hard but it really is a fight.  The tendency to get all wrapped up in the hustle and bustle called “life” is almost instinctual.

In the end….those are nothing but excuses.  As adults, we make space for what is important to us.  I make time and space to get on the computer every single day. I can make time to begin to care for myself as If I love myself.

The irony is that I have no clue how to begin loving myself.  I have lost touch of who the real me is and I am not sure how to get back to her.  I have given so much of myself to people and modified who I am to make others happy that the me that looks in the mirror now looks foreign.

But that’s okay.  It is never too late to begin again or to pick up the fragments and repair.

Life is such an intricate experience.  We have so many expectations placed on us by other people that we quickly forget that we are supposed to live our lives for OURSELVES!  We get so caught up in trying to live our lives to the expectations of others that we aren’t doing what we love or enjoy.  We have to keep up with the latest fashions.  We have to have the latest car.  We have to be married and have children.  We have to have a career making a set amount of money.  We become obsessed with the necessity of making ends meet that we lose track of our dreams.  So many people are locked in jobs or professions that they despise simply because they need a paycheck ( I was one.)  Then there are the expectations placed on us by those who are dear to us.  Often the things we want go on the back burner or more realistically, off the stove all together.  We can’t go to school because we have to work 2 or 3 jobs so our children can have the latest fashions.  We can’t take chances because chances are unpredictable.  We can’t leave our job and open our business because that is not guaranteed money.  We can’t apply for a loan because our credit is bad.  We can’t fix our credit because we have too many bills.  We have too many bills because we are trying to live a life that we really can’t afford and if we were to be totally honest with ourselves….we don’t even really want.

The deeper I look within, the more I have to admit that there is a lot of work to be done.  Ironically, I have done without for so long, I forgot what it feel like to care about my own self.  I have ignored that I need to care about myself.

I determined that the work required to repair myself was too in depth and that my efforts were better used elsewhere.

While I previously berated myself for that mindset… I recently came to understand that just like the earth, life has seasons.

I am finally at the season of my life where I can and actually will focus on myself.

I am finally at a place in my life where peace in my life is important.

I am finally at a place within myself where I am important.

I finally understand that the changes I want to happen are not going to magically appear.

Change requires effort….Change requires commitment…

I am worth the effort!

September 24 will mark my resolve moving forward!

There is No spoon….

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The above picture is from the movie entitled, The Matrix.  It is a scene where a small child gives Neo a piece of key information needed for him to step into his destiny.

The conversation is below:

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon – that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you will see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

I just obtained a personal revelation of how true those very words are.

One of the main things that they try to engrave into your psyche is that Weight Loss Surgery is not a diet or a quick fix.  It is a lifestyle change.

And for the past month, I have been tossing that phrase around like it’s cute.  “I am not on a diet, I am changing my lifestyle.”  Almost like a badge of honor.  And to a degree, I have changed portions of my life.  The way I eat, what I eat, when I eat, how I drink, portion sizes, exercising.  There have been some real cute changes in my life.

However, I really didn’t understand how deep it is about to get until tonight.

Because the Gastric Bypass completely bypasses the stomach and reduces it to thumb size, you eat extremely small portions.  Because you eat so little, you have to eat frequently.  Most surgeons will tell you to eat every three hours or 7-8 times a day.  That sounded real cute to me until I started calculating. 

It is a struggle for me to get up at 9:30am.  I have to set my alarm clock and there has to be a fierce debate in order for me to actually get up out of the bed.  If I continued to wake up at that time, eating every three hours, the maximum amount of meals I would consume is 5.

So I looked at the clock and moved it back and hour….only six meals.

So I loved it back an hour…..Still only six meals….

Finally the ugly truth hit me.  The words clicked in my brain and I had an epiphany.

WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY IS A LIFESTYLE CHANGE!

I need to be up at 4am and eating my first meal by 4:30am. If I do as the surgeon tells me and eat every three hours, by 10pm, I will have consumed 7 meals.

Let me tell you how violent of a reaction that realization caused.  I caught a WHOLE attitude.

I am going to be so real right now….I really considered not having the surgery.

FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE DAMN MORNING!!!  ARE THEY CRAZY!

But then it hit me….

Change requires commitment.

Change requires commitment.

  WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY IS A LIFESTYLE CHANGE. 

I had to think about it.  I have committed to changing my life.  Not just the parts that are convenient.  What good has laying in the bed until 9pm done for me?

I was shocked how I had overlooked such a thing.  I was amazed how militant I became at the idea.  It was disturbing how many excuses I immediately came up with to justify sleeping late. 

In the end, all of them were nothing more than attempts to hold onto what feels good.

This is where the quote from The Matrix comes into play.  The spoon represents an perceived obstacle.  Don’t try to change the obstacle, that is impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.  There is no obstacle.  Then you will realize that the obstacle was never the problem.  It was only your perception. 

As agent Smith said in The Matrix Revolutions (edited for content) :  “Illusions.  Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose.”

Change requires commitment.

Insanity is doing the same things, expecting different result.

Sighs…Looks like I will be setting my alarm clock for 4am……Forward I go!

The World of the Real….

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As reality begins to wrap itself snugly around my mind.  I joined a WLS (weight loss surgery) group so I can talk with people who have experience what  I am going through and tell me the good, the bad and the ugly.

I will admit, I thought I was gansta.  I knew in my mind that after the surgery, I was going to be eating smaller portions. 

What I didn’t know was that my definition of small and the reality of what small really means where TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

As I scrolled through the messages, people in the group often post pictures of what they have eaten as part of their food diary or to encourage other members or give people ideas….

I, personally, was traumatized!!!!

Let me give you an example.

Caution: The following images are graphic in nature.

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Um, Are you about to feed an injured bird?  Is that plate for a small toddler?

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Er…Is grandma coming over for dinner and that’s HER plate?

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Now let me blow your mind, It is going to take me A FULL YEAR to work UP TO being able to eat that much food.

*queues a moment of silence….

???? That much food?!?!?!?

Somebody is OBVIOUSLY CONFUSED!

I mean seriously…When I contemplated small portions, my mind said ok so you will be having one chicken thigh, vegetables etc….

Now the truth has come crashing down….

I was the one who was OBVIOUSLY CONFUSED!

Lawd….what in the world have I gotten myself into? 

I just want to be completely honest at this point.  My body and fat have a COMPLETE attitude.  My body and fat have began to revolt already.  I AM SO HUNGRY.  Fortunately, I understand that it is head hunger and not real hunger.  So I am not moved.  My body and fat have said some very inappropriate things to me now that I have a visual of what life is about to be like.  Eventually.

This is the beginning of the test.  Am I really ready?  Am I really ready to put food in it’s appropriate place?  Do I really understand that food is a source of nourishment and not a form of entertainment?  Or am I all talk?

The Gastric Bypass Surgery is simply a tool.  Statistics show that people who do not understand that this is not a diet but instead a lifestyle change will ultimately gain the weight back. 

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I understand that change starts in the mind.  The pictures that I posted are not for you (sorry) they are so that I can wrap my mind around it. They say repetition is the mother of all learning.  I know that just as bad habits take time and effort to form so do good ones. 

Honestly, talking the talk is one thing.  Walking the walk is something completely different.  I am determined that my weight is no longer going to control me.  Food is no longer going to be the master of my existence.  Food is not the enemy.  My inappropriate use is the enemy.  My overindulgence is the enemy.  My stinkin thinkin is the enemy.As I understand that food is not a problem solver or a go to man, I sit on the brink of the real face of change.  Everything up to this point has been a mock simulation.  Now I get to test my moxie and put my money where my mouth is. 

This is still a choice.  Do I chose reformation or stay with my addiction?  Like any addict standing on the edge of a blade, teter tottering between life and death…I feel the warming comfort of the familiar and I feel the fear of radical change.  I see the benefits and liabilities of both.  My heart pulses and my blood races as I honestly and objectively consider what is about to happen.  This is not a decision to be taken lightly.  Anything worth having requires effort.  This is the brink of a new chapter in my life.  Consistency has always been a problem for me when it comes to matters of importance.  It is instinctual for me to run. 

That was then and this is now.

Now I must commit.  Now I must endure.  Now I must succeed.  I must regain balance.  I must change.  Image

I am not saying good bye to food because I need food in order to survive.  I am saying good-bye to my detrimental behaviors.  I am saying good-bye to a lifetime of hiding.  I am saying good-bye to putting a band-aid on cancer.  I am saying good-bye to excuses.  I am saying good-bye to counter productive behaviors.  I am saying good-bye to being less than I know I can be.

One of my favorite quotes is in order to success, simply act as though it is impossible to fail.   Another is Insanity is doing the same thing, expecting different results.  Both quotations have never rang truer to me than now. 

In the words of Morpheus from the Matrix, “Welcome…to the real world….”

It’s Official

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I called Keystone First (formally Keystone Mercy) yesterday at 10am.  I spoke to a young lady and informed her that my surgeon Dr. David Wernsing put in a request for gastric bypass surgery and I wanted to know where they stood in the decision making process.

She gathered some information from me and placed me one hold.  It seemed like it was forever.  I sat at my laptop holding the phone like a young child awaiting Christmas morning.  I checked my Facebook, my emails and attempted to play Candy Crush Saga but my brain would not settle.  Finally, she came back on the phone and stated that they had received the request and it was in review and still pending.  She stated that I could call back later before 5pm and I would have an answer.

My stomach immediately began fluttering.  So close but so far. 

What if they denied me? What if I have gotten myself so worked up and excited and started reshaping my attitude and perception only for them to say no?

Maybe I should research how to appeal and get my arguments in order.

The rest of the day was a blur.  I remember doing things but I couldn’t really tell you what. 

Then four o’clock came.  And the internal debate began. 

Ok, I’m going to call.

But what if they say no?

Imma call…Imma call…

I don’t want to hear them tell me no.

Imma call…Imma call…..

This literally went on for 20 minutes. 

Then my phone rang. It was a number that I didn’t recognize.

I answered and heard these magical words:

“This is so & so from Keystone First.  May I speak to so & so? (This is she) We have received a request from Dr. David Wernsing for gastric bypass surgery and the request has been approved.”

I stopped breathing.  I thanked the woman for her call and simply sat for a moment.  My ears heard what the woman said but my mind was just plain stuck. 

It is still stuck a whole 16 hours later.

I mean don’t get me wrong. I am excited. I am ecstatic.  But I just can’t believe it.  This is the first major step I have taken for myself in years.  This is the first major and serious attempt I have made at losing the weight and keeping it off. 

If I can be honest, a part of me didn’t believe it was going to happen.  A part of me feels I don’t deserve this.  A part of me feels that I have been this size for so long that I should just accept my fate and continue the way I have been.

Don’t worry, I am smothering that side of me as we speak!  Death to all disbelievers!

Even as I write this post, my mind is struggling.  My weight has been an issue since the birth of my first child at the age of 17.  My oldest daughter is now 17.  My weight has varied from mildly overweight to morbidly obese for 17 full years.  That is a long time to deal with any issue.  Especially one surrounded by emotional and mental turmoil.

There is so much I want to do.  There is so much I will be able to do. 

There is so much I will never do again.

With this new step, I will never allow my issues to sit and grow.  I will stop pushing my issues to the side and ignoring them.  I will stop sitting by the sidelines and watch life go by.  I will use the gifts and talents that I have been given.  I will exercise.  I will understand that life is a gift and I will treasure it.  I understand that my body is the only home that I have while on this earth and in order for it to take care of me, I MUST take care of it.  I will find another coping mechanism.  Food is for nutrition only! 

I am thankful for this new opportunity.  I am extremely thankful that I am still at a decent age.  I am 34 and have plenty of time ahead of me to accomplish things.  Not that ages is a factor because I have heard of people in there 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s who take this step and begin to live again.

My mind is spinning. 

Being overweight is a choice.  One that I comfortably resided in for 17 years.  I am neither judge nor jury.  Everything has a time and a season.  I learned what it is like to be judged based on what you look like.  I learned what intolerance feels like.  I know the ugly side of discrimination.  I learned what it is like for people not to want to deal with you because of excess weight.  I have learned who my real friends are.  I have learned the value of friendship.  I have learned that friendship can’t be bought.  I have learned that change requires commitment.  I have learned that anything worth having requires effort.  Success isn’t going to find you, you have to work diligently for it.  The Creator is not Santa Claus. He doesn’t one day come by with success gift wrapped and drop it off in your lap. 

He gives you skills, talents and time. 

The rest is up to you.

The Process has a purpose.

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So I had a moment of extreme annoyance and impatience.  I called my insurance provider to see where they were at in the decision process.  I spoke to someone in prior authorizations.  She stated that she had no request from my doctor.

I WAS LIVID!

But then I reminded myself to take a deep breath and relax.  Anything worth having is worth waiting for.  I have waited 17 years being overweight.  A few weeks waiting for a decision is not going to kill me.  It is funny how fast I want the system to move when I have been in relax mode for 17 years.

 

I want it so bad that I can taste it!

Is that a bad analogy considering the topic? LOL….

Patience breeds appreciation.  I am taking this time to unlearn some really bad habits. Today I simply said no to chocolate cake with butter cream icing and butter pecan & cookies & cream.  It was hard but I am setting the standard.  My grandfather always taught me that it’s not what’s good to you but what’s good for you.  I can honestly admit that while the cake and ice cream may taste good to me…it definitely is not good for me.  And Years of doing what feels good has landed me exactly where I am at now.

I read a post somewhere that said that someone who had had the gastric bypass procedure had gotten to a point where they were no longer angry about not being able to partake in certain foods even though their friends and family could.  I understand.  It is no different than people who can endure extreme amounts of pain or people who can run 5k marathons.  Those things simply don’t suit me.  To be honest, it is a matter of choice.  As Neo stated in The Matrix, “The problem is choice”.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.”  I absolutely can make the choice to eat a piece of cake. I absolutely can make the choice to eat some ice cream.  I am a grown woman… I can do anything I friggin want to…but the million dollar question is, “What about the moment after?” 

Now I have been told, “Just work it off. Just do some exercise and don’t worry about it.” 

My time in the world of fiction ended when I grew up.  I am at a point where I have to be honest with myself.  If I had self control, I wouldn’t be 200 lbs overweight.  And while exercising may do the trick, wouldn’t it just be easier to just say no?  Think about it. You now have to do your daily/necessary regimen and then you have to pack on extra for what? A few moments of pleasure?  I am not a fitness freak so extra exercise is damn near profane to me. 

I am not judging anyone.  I have no heaven or hell to put anyone in.  Plus, I am too busy contending with my own issues.  I can only speak on what works for me.  I am all for working smart and not hard.  It seems to me that if you know you have an issue…it makes more sense to not put yourself in a situation to be tempted than to say that you can just not indulge.

You don’t take crackheads to a crack-house.

You don’t take alcoholics to the liquor store. 

You don’t put a person who over indulges in food that are bad for them in a situation where they have to exert self control over the foods that they love. 

Personally, I can admit that if I were able to just eat a little rice… a little pasta….a little white bread….a little cake… a little pie… a little ice cream…I wouldn’t be the size I am now.

But, everyone has their own individual journey and people ultimately have to do what works for them.  Life is about trial and error.  You have to discover what does and does not work. 

I finally understand that I have to get rid of the stinkin thinkin that I have been occupying forever in order to finally be successful.  It is not an overnight process but it is not a Mission: Impossible either. 

It is merely a choice…..

The Ugly Truth….

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As I sit here waiting for the insurance company to decide my fate, I am contemplating the path that my life has taken.  I consider all that I have been through. All the hurt and disappointment. All the frustration and anger.  All the lessons learned. And while at first I was quick to look at my life and consider it a waste of time; a closer look revealed all the growth and wisdom I have obtained.  I have learned some lessons that will enable me to actually be productive in my life.  One of those lessons that was the hardest for me to learn is that I cannot fix anyone.  I used to continuously put myself on the throne where GOD belongs.  If I am to be completely honest, it is much easier to focus on the issues of others and try to fix their mess than focus on the disaster in your own home.  I had so many unresolved issues that I have suppressed that I had become a walking time bomb.  Working on yourself requires honesty and strength. Real strength. To face the pain of your past and confront your inner demons requires moxie.

 Moxie.  I had that once. And I think I still have it. The courage to face difficulty with spirit and courage.  While my life is no more epic than anyone else’s; I have endured a lot.  I have had to come full circle to understand the events of my childhood.  I have had to have children to understand the real definition of love and sacrifice.  I have had to suffer to understand the purpose of joy.   I had to hurt to fully understand the purpose of love.  I had to be completely broken to understand and admit that I was not whole.  I had to stop comparing myself to others in order to understand that my life was on it’s own unique path.  GOD knew what I would need to travel down whatever road I am to ultimately descend down…and that is the path that I am taking and I am slowly going through experience after experience obtaining all the skills and strengths needed to get to where I need to be.

 As I sit and think about the kind of person I have become…I feel a tinge of anger.  While I am not anything like the person I had once desired to be. I am not anything like the woman I want to be.  Putting on massive amounts of weight has made me view life with a totally different perspective.  I have learned what it is like to be judged according to my appearance.  I have learned what it is like to be looked at with pity and disgust.  I have personally experienced being ostracized because of my size.  I have noticed the subtle differences from even people such as my family and friends.  I get less invitations to go out now.  People handle me with a sort of pathetic tolerance that is annoying as hell.  There are severe moments of awkwardness.  I always have to remind them that I cannot fit in a booth.  Maybe that’s why I don’t get any invites.  I am also tired of the awkward silence that falls on the table when it’s my turn to state my order.

 I miss my confidence.  I miss my self esteem.  I miss being comfortable in my skin.  I miss eye contact.  I miss interacting with people.  I miss living.  I miss being sure. I miss loving myself.

 Wait… Backup… Have I really ever loved myself.?

 Yes….Before…..

 Forgiveness is a process.  I realize that I have never really forgiven myself for the choices that I made.  I realize that life is a process.  I did the best with what I had at the moment.  Apparently I was destined to walk a different path.  Maybe the plans that I had were just set at the wrong time.  I can honestly say that I didn’t have the maturity and I didn’t understand the depth of responsibility necessary for the success I wanted.  I would have lost myself which is ironically exactly what happened.  I guess I would have really regretted if I had accumulated money and then tried to buy my way to happiness.  I may have ended up trying to kill myself once I found out the hard way that money can’t buy you joy or love.

 All things work out for the good of them that love the LORD….

 Something deep within me is tired of this false persona that I have developed.  It feels foreign and stifling.   The irony is that I don’t remember what the real me was like.  I do remember that I wasn’t always the nicest person.  Part of me thinks that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  There should be a bit of sugar and a bit of spice. Some girls have more sugar and some girls have more spice.

 I want my boldness back.  Not the pseudo boldness that I fake now…but the boldness that comes from being confident with yourself and feeling more than comfortable in your own skin.

 I want me back!