Fighting The Stigma

We’ve all seen the articles, the news stories “She lost over xxx-lbs! No surgery! No gimmicks!”

 

How hard could this all be , Fatty? You must just be lazy!

How hard could this all be to follow, Fatty? You must just be lazy!

Well, fuck you.

 Weight Loss Surgery is not a gimmick, it is not the “easy way” out, it isn’t “cheating.” By the way, if it was a “magic fix” then post-op regain would never happen! I am sick and tired of the stigma that people like me (who had any kind of WLS) have to go through all the time.

 I have heard all of the following statements at one time or another since having surgery:

“Have you seen The Biggest Loser? Those people lose hundreds of pounds the ‘old fashioned’ way.” (Yeah, the old fashioned way where you are stuck at a ranch and workout 8 hours a day and are barely allowed to eat or drink water before getting on a scale, ok.)

“I think you could have done it by yourself if you just exercised and ate right.” (Oh, my God! Exercise and Eating Right? Why didn’t you SAY SO? If I would have known it was so easy I would have TRIED THAT before REMOVING PART OF MY SMALL INTESTINE! You have blown my mind!)

“But people who get that surgery have to be like, really super duper fat right? You must have been really, really fat.” (Yeah. Thanks?)

“My cousin had a neighbor who had his stomach stapled and a staple came off and he died.” (OK???)

“You don’t look like you had surgery. Aren’t you supposed to get like, skinny?”(No shit. Someone said to me to my face. At my old job.)

“Well, you must be happy that you could eat anything and just turn skinny.” (LOL. See above.)

“Can you even eat?? I heard you can’t eat. OMG, what do you eat??” (Food.)

“You know that people can gain all their weight back and more? Like that singer lady?” (Sigh. Yes, Mom. I am aware of Carnie Wilson.)

“Yeah but I rather lose weight on my own, you know? Like, work for it instead of just cheating.” (Yep. To my face.)

So, let me just say again, for the record: THIS SHIT IS NOT EASY!

 My weightloss or my story isn’t any LESS than yours because I had surgery. I still wake up six times a day and work my ASS off to keep losing weight. I fight cravings. I struggle to make the right food choices. I log my calories. I work just as hard as anyone to get in shape and I think some WLS patients work even harder because they feel people constantly looking at them and judging them. I feel it all the time. At family functions, at my old job after surgery: people watch you like a hawk. They watch what you eat, when you eat it, how much you’re eating and they feel free to make comments. Why? Because somehow they think that because you had WLS your body is something they can freely talk about. As if we didn’t have enough to deal with when we were fat (Basically the same things, think about it. Everyone is a doctor when talking to a fat person.) now we have to deal with more shit after we decided to do something about it.

 Weight Loss Surgery isn’t a magic potion that will make you skinny and happy. It is a life-changing decision that is never come to lightly. And my weightloss matters as much as Whoever, who lost it the “old fashioned” way. Where is my story on ABC? My People Magazine cover? Did you know that 95% of people who diet and lose a significant amount of weight fail? Sorry I took three years to decide to increase my 5% chance of success. That doesn’t make me less than you, it just makes what I did different than what people usually do.

 I think more WLS patients need to get their positive stories out there and fight this ridiculous bias against us. We are constantly bombarded with all these stories about how people lost weight “all natural, “without gimmicks” and it’s almost like they want us to feel shame.

 Well, fuck that, I’m done feeling like a failure.

 

Having Gastric Bypass Surgery changed AND saved my life; I’d do it all over again.

2009-2013

2009-2013

 

I’m proud of my weightloss and you’ll never take that from me.


Any of you had WLS out there and been shamed for it? Fight back! Fuck the Haters!

Postcards From The Edge (Or “The Day I Saw The Devil”)

When I started this blog, it was such a completely different animal. I didn’t really mean to get personal, just have this nice “online persona” who was going to kick her own ass back into shape; but the past fifteen months have changed me so much in not only a hormonal and emotional way that it feels like my own self has changed in a molecular level. I’ve gone past the whole “weight loss blog” or “parenting blog” thing so long ago that if you asked me what I really blog about I would have no idea what to tell you. I feel like this is a safe place to just let it all out sometimes, which is strange because when you put things in the Internet really there’s no way to take them back. Maybe that’s what I find so freeing about it, who knows?

Anyway, yesterday I had one of the scariest experiences of my life.

Concussed Kat and my cousin Diana

As you may know, I’ve been struggling with Postpartum Depression since my daughter was born and have been medicated for over a year. Also, since then I’ve had kind of a bad luck streak. I have suffered from a crazy allergic reaction to the copper IUD which made me bleed for over 31 days and has resulted in me still being anemic; after that there was the crazy Tamiflu episode  in which that horrible medication was erroneously prescribed to me and mixed so strangely with my antidepressants that I basically had a psychotic episode; I’ve been so sick on and off with all kinds of ailments (flu, stomach flu, h1n3 flu); had a horrible car accident last December which resulted in a NASTY concussion. During a scan at the hospital they found a crazy lump on my left Thyroid that has been growing and the biopsy was inconclusive so I have to re-do that and the labs in two months. Two months of limbo, basically. Then last Thursday (after waiting MONTHS to get my car back because my car insurance is a piece of shit) I got into another car accident. Yep. This asshole causes me to hit him, sees me lose consciousness and just leaves the scene of the accident. Mark was close by and so he drove me to the hospital. I was diagnosed with yet another concussion (second one in less than 3 months!) and an acute cervical sprain -I got a neat neck brace as a souvenir. Yay.

I was advised to avoid all kinds of stress and rest my brain. The fun thing with concussion is that basically your brain is swollen and you’re all fucked for weeks, sometimes months. Post-Concussion Syndrome makes you super irritable, super sensitive to light and noise and BEYOND oversensitive.

That brings me to Yesterday. Hereto known as “The Day I Saw The Devil.”

My brain had been all funky all week (I fainted on Monday, had been suffering from dizziness and tunnel-vision and crying jags) but I managed to have a full 24 hours of rest on Tuesday because Mark is the most amazing human being on earth. I was feeling a little anxious Monday because of having gone outside with my father in law to see why my car keeps overheating (it’s either some leak in a tube or a hole in my radiator -yet another thing to pile on all my worries) and the sunlight gave me the worst migraine I have ever experienced. I was alone with the baby and you can imagine that taking care of a 15-month-old while feeling like your head is going to explode is not pleasant, to put it mildly. Then the stupidity began. Facebook drama is something I try to avoid but alas, it finds all of us. I have two friends, R. and G., who were once also friends until they were roommates and things ended BADLY. So R. now absolutely hates G. and makes no qualms about announcing it to the world. I don’t want to get too into the actual Facebook drama because it’s really insignificant but what did happen is that R. absolutely out of left field started attacking me about first still being friends with G. and then other things that he thinks I’ve done in the past and how I’m no longer a good friend, blah blah blah. Usually this kind of exchange would end with me telling someone to go fuck themselves and be mildly upset that a friendship that had lasted over 10 years had ended. But, my brain not able to process stress like “Normal Kat,” this triggered an extreme stress response that just kept escalating, and escalating, and escalating. I started seeing huge black spots and suddenly I couldn’t breathe because I was crying so hard and started feeling like I was dying. I called 911 and remember talking to a paramedic who was trying to talk me down and told me to unlock my door for them.

Then nothing.

Next thing I know I wake up screaming and kicking as paramedics are literally punching my sternum to wake me up (whatever happened to smelling salts?). And that’s when it happened. Right there, in the right corner of my ceiling I saw it. The Devil, a Demon, whatever. I have never been so scared in my life. I couldn’t stop screaming.

Not Exactly What I Saw But Close Enough

Not Exactly What I Saw But Close Enough

They had to restrain me to get me in the ambulance. I don’t remember how it all went down but apparently I kept telling everyone that no matter what they did they couldn’t fix it because I was cursed. Jinxed. Hexed. Doomed. They shot me full of Valium and nothing could calm me down. I was also convinced my eyes were popping out of my head like I was in Scanners. Needless to say they called the shrink. I was super scared and kept crying that no one believed me and that I wasn’t crazy. I remember Mark almost yelling at me that there are no such things as curses and that I was just concussed. The doctors, the nurses, everyone was very nice and managed to finally calm me down with Risperdal and ease my headache with Tramadol. A couple of hours later I spoke to the shrink. I felt like myself again. No longer cursed, but still just an all-around feeling of “being unlucky.” The Psychiatrist was actually very nice and made me feel better. He told me that I needed to see my own shrink again and consider adding talk-therapy besides just medication. Then after seeing my history at the hospital (I swear, I should totally have VIP status there, I visit so damn much) he told me I need to see an endocrinologist that specializes in Thyroid issues because all my symptoms could actually stem from that. He assured me I wasn’t cursed but I should try to meditate and practice positive thinking. He held my hand and smiled when he told me that no, I’m not crazy.

I still haven’t exactly processed all of this but find that writing about it makes me feel better. I’ve always been somewhat of a sardonic pessimist since young adulthood but never really serious about it. I would say things like “Of course that would happen to me, I have the worst luck” but never really fully meant it. In fact, I’d always really considered myself lucky underneath it all and was always able to crawl out of any emotional funk. Then something shifted. It got harder and harder to crawl out. Then I gave birth and I couldn’t even deal with just living. I felt like a shell of a person. Did I have untreated depression that I self-medicated before and just got worse after the hormonal shift of giving birth? Or has this been a Thyroid disorder (which actually runs in my family) that has been lying dormant and suddenly hit me now? Or is there really a curse on me? I don’t know. The questions and what-ifs are an endless stream on repeat inside my head and sometimes I feel like I’m slipping further and further away down a rabbit hole of insecurities.

All I can say is that I feel better today. Functional. Like myself. I imagine the Risperdal is helping with that (it stops paranoid, negative thoughts after all) but I can say that today I’ve had an actual good day. A whole good day. That’s a lot more than I’ve been able to say for a while now and it sure feels nice.



Are you superstitious? Do you believe in curses? Or do you think we create our own positive/negative energy?