It’s been a while since my last post. Life gets in the way. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. I have had some difficulty getting things typed due to some RA issues in my fingers. My jewelry making takes it’s toll on my hands, but it’s not something I am willing to give up. Hmmm, I wonder if it would be a good idea to invest in one of those speech to type programs? Oh well….on to part 4 of my story.
There were many other instances in high school, but I would have to write a whole book to tell it all. After high school, I ran the gamut of experiences in life. I worked at a restaurant. I went to cosmetology school. I worked as a cosmetologist at Eckerd Drugs. I met and married my first husband. Throughout it all….my size fluctuated. My weight reached it’s highest after I married. By then, I had a good job at C&S Bank in the factoring division.
I had started feeling the “call of nature”. I wanted a baby. My monthly periods were sporadic at best. I had gone to see my gynecologist and got some bad news. “Unless you lose a significant amount of weight, I doubt very seriously if you will be able to conceive. If you miraculously do manage to become pregnant, your chances of carrying the baby safely, will be greatly reduced.” Those words out of the doctor’s mouth, were like being doused with a bucket of cold water. So, at this point in the story, I am sure you are asking yourselves “Why doesn’t she just go on a diet?”. It’s not that easy….at least for some of us.
Have I told you yet that my life had been a series of failed diet after failed diet? I tried every diet imaginable…pills (which when my school chums found out I had them….hounded me relentlessly to get their hands on them), shakes, fasts, pre-packaged foods….you name it. To say that I was an expert on fad diets, is an understatement. I knew I had to do something if I were to ever have a chance at having a child. So, I decided to go see a Bariatric specialist. He explained to me that a new surgery was available for obese people. The surgery, VBG or Vertical Banded Gastroplasty, was an option that he presented to me. One of the criteria was that you had to be 100 pounds or more overweight. I qualified in spades. As well as the 100 pounds overweight criteria, I also had to go through a mental evaluation. Without going into a long discourse on that, I have included this link concerning the mental evaluation process of VBG candidates. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096263/
So, I had my surgery in 1984. I went through hell after that surgery. It was a very difficult healing process. The incision ran from my sternum, all the way to my belly button. You have to understand that in order to get to your stomach, they cut through muscle. Just the act of sitting up from a lying position, was a major obstacle. I had to have assistance. Any kind of straining caused a lot of pain. Eating was a whole new experience. For the first month, all I could eat was soft foods…scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, jello, baby food. The reason for that was that the staples inside, had to heal up. Putting something solid into my stomach could rip them loose. Once I healed well enough, I was allowed solid food….which I had to chew extremely thoroughly. The problem with that was, if the food were not chewed to a pulp, it would become lodged in the banded area…causing extreme pain and discomfort until it was either passed on down into the stomach, or thrown up. Throwing up is literally a harrowing experience now. The food has to go back up past the band, then up the esophagus. In doing so, it is with much force and the resulting broken blood vessels in my eyes and face, are inevitable. This happened to me many times and still does on occasion.
Here is a link to a computer animation of VBG. It will give you a better idea of what is involved in the process. http://youtu.be/K4XApq-l6as
I would look in the mirror at my shrinking body. I knew that my eyes were showing me the correct image, but I could not help seeing the “other” me in the mirror from time to time. One disadvantage of losing weight so fast, is that your skin does not have time to shrink back properly. So, you end up with loose, saggy skin in different areas on your body. Mine was mostly the upper arms and legs. This became very difficult to look at in the mirror. So, I dressed appropriately. I made sure that these parts of my body were not visible to others. But I still enjoyed the compliments and praise that I received when I went back to work. I enjoyed the looks of men when I went out. I enjoyed buying smaller clothing. Mind you….I was still not a size 5…not even a size 12. But I was smaller. My periods returned to a regular cycle. I experienced difficulties from the procedure from time to time…but Life was different…better. But it was soon to be the best.
I lost almost 100 pounds and conceived my son in 1985. To say that I was ecstatic, is an understatement. It was a bittersweet day when I found out. That morning, I had gone in for a blood test. I knew in my heart that I was pregnant, although the EPT tests came up negative. Later in the afternoon, I got a call from my husband that his dad had had a heart attack and had been transported to the hospital. When we got there, his father had passed on. Needless to say, it was a heart breaking day. That evening, the doctor called to give me the good news that I was indeed pregnant. It was hard to know how to feel. But deep inside, my heart was full of joy. I was pregnant and would soon have a child.
This is my scar from my surgery…30 years later.
More in part 5 of Diary of a Fat Girl.