The impact of my weight loss surgery sometimes goes by without me realizing it. I don’t do it intentionally, and I keep this blog for many reasons, but I want to catalogue and understand my experience. Capturing things in the moment helps me remember things long term, and my hope is that someone will come across it and read it and it may help them understand WLS.
I never realized that my WLS could impact others in the way it has. This was a journey for me. It is uber personal and it will be ongoing and evolving. I’m 13 months out and I’m still surprised at my life adapting. My weight is no longer a cage for me to break out of, but the invisible bars of the cage can still be seen and felt. My cage may never be gone. The weight will forever haunt me in some ways because even though the weight disappears, my body shrinks, and I change clothes – my brain can’t forget. It can evolve and adapt, but it will never be erased from the memories, the images…of my life.
I finished watching the 600 lb journey of Melissa that I mentioned last week. I saw in her inspiration. I saw in her how difficult healing and plastics were for her. I saw in her the hopes and dreams that so many of the WLS patients share: health, being independent, feeling good, feeling normal…being seen for more than your weight, but I also saw the struggles she went through and I realized how much the WLS can impact others around you.
My WLS has forever changed my marriage. The amount of change that one must go through is deep. There is no way to prepare for the changes and even though you might know what you need to prepare for there is always something that is new, different, and unique. There have been both positive and negative changes for us. The positives have been amazing. I’m more free now in myself, I’m healthier, there are less doctor appointments, and I feel better overall about myself, my life, and my career. The negatives are things that I’m still learning about. I’ve always wanted to do things for myself. I’m very independent, but now that I feel well and can physically do more – I’m more independent. I’ve had to let him take care of me. It used to be easy, now sometimes it isn’t, but then there are times he has to take care of me. I’m not used to being looked at as a “woman” and it is odd when men will compliment me or say things to me. I thought before surgery this might be a plus, but I’m a married woman and it is odd. I can talk to my husband about it, but that isn’t comfortable either. In some ways I want him to say those things that other men say and then on the other hand I want him to honor me …the brain makes this complicated.
I was one that before surgery wasn’t very particular about what I wore. If it fit, hid my fat, and was in a dark color it was in my wardrobe, but now I depend on other people to help me dress and make sure I look ok. I don’t know how to dress a size 14 body. I’m used to a 28 and it is very different. I didn’t like to shop before for clothes. Now I enjoy it and I want my husband to like what I wear, but it takes me a lot longer to try on clothes, I’m always looking at stores and my husband doesn’t like to shop with me at least for clothes. It is frustrating because I want his opinion. It is frustrating because I need his help. It is frustrating because I want to be a girl and feel like a girl in pretty clothes. I don’t know how he sees me…and I often wonder if I ask too often or not the right way.
Intimacy changes after weight loss surgery. I feel better clothed. I like clothes…I’m cold …I wear a lot of sweats. The dreams of being a victoria’s secret model won’t be coming to life for me. I hate how I look without clothing…and I wonder if this is a turn off. I know that no husband in their right mind would ever state that, but how can I not wonder – I would want to be with someone smooth, shapely, and not full of wrinkles, flaps, and oatmeal pudge. This is my reality. How can I make the man I love – love my new body? Will it ever be “beautiful” even with the oatmeal pudge? The journey to be smooth and thin won’t be easy. Can we as a couple survive plastics? Can we as a couple survive that recovery?
WLS has also impacted starting a family. Getting pregnant and having a little one has always been a dream of mine, but there is a honesty that I can’t go through losing another baby. We wouldn’t survive. There is a high risk of miscarriage for those that have the co-morbidities I did and WLS. Can I ethically go after a baby knowing I could lose it? I don’t want to have to survive a loss like that and honestly I don’t want the fear of getting fat while I’m pregnant. I fight that fear already – knowing that I could gain weight to have a baby terrifies me. Could we survive that mentally? So starting a family isn’t in the plan for us. Puppies yes and enjoying my step-sons wholeheartedly but not a baby that I bear out of my body. It isn’t in the plan for us. At least right now…maybe ever.
It leaves me with more questions than answers. Will I ever feel sexy? Will I ever have a body that I think I imagine in my head or is it just that an image? Will I ever have my husband look at me and feel those tingles like I did when we were first married and I felt beautiful? Will there be a family or will I become ok with the realness that I am already a mom though I didn't bear a child? This is just the smallest fragment of the impact of my WLS on me for this blink of an eye.
I know it has effected others....