This was the letter I wrote on my personal blog to everyone who was asking, to myself and to anyone who might have wondered “Why are you doing this?”
Hi everyone, anyone, no one, you:
Where should I start? Age 16 when I first noticed I wasn’t really the same size as all the other girls? Age 17 when I didn’t make the volleyball team because I was viewed as fat which somehow equaled bad? Age 21 when I couldn’t find any pants that fit me anywhere in the entire mall?
All of my conscious adult life, I’ve been fat. Unapologetically so. So much so that if you made some sort of comment about it, I’d turn it around into a joke and most often enough to make you blush. I’ve never been the girl with the sad story who cried at night because I wasn’t a size 2. I’ve never been the girl who never had a boyfriend because my ass was twice the size of the next girl’s.
I have been the girl who could come up with the most elaborate excuse as to why I’m about to eat this, or why I’d ate that and that yesterday. I’ve also been the girl who centered her entire life around food and the process of consuming it.
It ends today.
Dr. Chang (who you will get to know more as this blog progresses) said something to me on Wednesday that absolutely struck me as the most truth: Nothing Tastes as Good as Thin.
Lets take a moment to drink that in.
Nothing Tastes as Good as Thin.
I know what you’re thinking, well some of you; “what is this girl going on about, I love my body no matter what and no one should tell me I have to be thin to be happy.” Honey, I’ve been there. Sitting here at my computer in size 26-28 yoga pants, I am telling you, I have been there as recently as yesterday. There is nothing wrong with self love. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being self confident. There is definately nothing wrong with strutting your stuff like the Queen you are. But what is wrong is looking into the mirror with such undying affection that it causes your common sense to go unheard. It is wrong to pull on your size 32 pants and suck in to button them up and see your belly snug like a bug in a rug. There is something wrong when you look at your measurements with a blind eye to the fact that you are as big around as you are tall.
When I got up this morning, brushing my teeth and looking into the mirror, I was bombared with thoughts and questions. Do I think I’ll live to see 50? No. Do I think I’ll live to see babies of my babies? No. When I really get honest with myself, do I even see my own babies? No. But do I think I’m beautiful? Yes.
This is where the past year has caught up to me. For the past year, I’ve been trying to lose weight. Trying is maybe too strong of a word. I’ve been concious of the idea of trying to lose weight. Trying to walk the very thin rope of health while underneath me, happiness is rooting for me to fall. I’ve been happy being fat. I’ve been happy going out to eat every night, eating whatever I wanted without consequence. While I’ve been so happy, my body has been crying out for some help. Migranes, insomnia, stomach aches, sore ankles, aching knees, have all been signs my body is unhappy. But my old friend Tylenol was there to soothe the pain. Until February 8th, 2008. On this day, I was hit with a pain that no medicine could ease. A pain no amount of prayer, sleep nor distraction could even come close to erasing. That was the day my body finally gave up and took from me the only thing in the world I have ever truly wanted: a baby. Even now, 8 months later, it still hurts. Although this wasn’t the first time by body had done this to me; it was made obvious to me what my body was saying this time:
“Kelsey, please get help”
After the physical trauma subsided a bit, and the emotional eating wore it’s self out, I finally got the nerve to go in and see the woman who had previously told me that I was too fat to ever get pregnant. In that little windowless office I cried like a baby being hugged by a woman who I had hated. I asked her why so many times. I reminded her that I had no diagnosed issues surrounding my weight. I pleaded with her to help me. I was doing the unthinkable. I was asking her to help me find a way to lose weight.
(For some of you reading this, this might be getting a bit too personal, and I do apologize but I feel it necessary for myself to have the entire process documented, including the lead up and my reasons why.)
Once she managed to calm me down and we were able to talk freely she suggested that I look into surgical weight loss. The thought has always been in the back of my head but never more than I passing fancy. I always thought “I don’t need the easy way out – if I wanted to lose weight, I could.” Well quite obviously I couldn’t. We talked and talked. She knew of my constant dieting and then binging. She knew of the pills upon pills upon shakes upon programs for weight loss. What she was seeing now though was new: desperation. She and I both knew that losing another baby because I can’t say no to eating two full portions of pasta was going to kill me. So she made the first move in my journey and put together a referal.
The next few steps of this I will just bulletin point:
>Doctor sends in referal
>Tricare refers a hospital 8 hours away
>I find someone closer who takes Tricare
>I wait 2 months for an appointment
>I go in to be told that I’m actually too fat for weight loss surgery (what in the hell?)
>I kinda give up
>I meet Sue.
Sue. I can’t even begin to describe how much I owe to Sue. Sue and I met at Curves. She’s a petite lady who just actually had her 60th birthday but doesn’t really look a day over 40. She’s always had a quick smile and a laugh to share. I honestly didn’t know Sue that well until I was working out a Curves one day, chit chatting with Lee – one of the trainers and talking about how I couldn’t believe this doctor in the city told me I was too fat for medical weight loss. Lee mentioned that Sue had gastric bypass and if I’d like it if she gave Sue my number and we could talk. At this point, I was convinced I only wanted the Lap Band ( I will explain the procedures more in depth shortly). Sue called me and we talked and she mentioned that her doctor had a practice only one hour from here and that it was one of only two centre’s of excellence in the country. My excitement kinda started to creep back in. She gave me his name and told me to call and see if they took his insurance. Getting up the nerve to call was something I had to work on, after being told I was too fat, I was so scared of that rejection again. The nicest woman answered the phone and told me that no, they didn’t take Tricare but that his partner who just opened his own practice did and she gave me that number. So I called them and they set me up an appointment right away. About 2 weeks later I met Dr. Chang.
Lets talk about Dr. Chang for a bit. Not only is he extremely cute but he’s very to the point. He doesn’t pussy foot around the issues. When I walked into his office at 402 pounds he said “we can do this, but you’re going to have to help me.” I was scared. I was so scared he was going to say, lose 100 pounds and we’ll talk – because if I could lose 100 pounds on my own, I wouldn’t be in there right? And he ACTUALLY said that. He realized that I’ve been on every diet under the sun and that I was coming to him to do something I couldn’t do alone.
Leaving Dr. Chang’s office that day, I felt a new sense of understanding and also like a changed woman. I understood that my health didn’t have to come second anymore. That he and I together could conquer this disease of Obesity.
From the moment I met Sue, she invited me to start going to her weight loss surgery support group. Pouch Pals was a scary thing to commit to. The first meeting, I walked into a room of super models. Well, they aren’t, but many of them could be. Skinny and tanned, gorgeous people sitting in a circle around the room. Paul – our moderator – was there and greeting everyone telling them how good they look. I initially kinda figured we had walked in on an ex cheerleaders meeting. I sat down nervously amongst the other 50 people, beside Sue and was silent. Which for those of you that know me, know that’s a rare occasion.
We started with Mia. Mia is an absolutely stunning Mexican girl. She started like an AA meeting with a twist, “Hi, I’m Mia and I’ve lost 202 pounds.” I was SHOCKED. What? This girl could never have had 200 pounds on her total! let alone on top of the probably 103 she weighs now. She passed around her photo album and I nearly fell out of my chair. There was the same face, I can see those eyes, and those lips on the girl in front of me…but the bulk around her was astounding. As I flipped the pages, I found that I had been holding my breath. It was truly amazing. As we went around the room introducing ourselves, it was incredible to hear how everyone had lost more than 100 pounds – all thanks to Dr. Chang and Sue’s doctor, Dr. McDaniel. When we got to Sue, she proudly stated she had lost 206 pounds. I was shocked again. I knew from that first night on that I too could have this type of success story. I could be a loser.
Fast forward to this wednesday. One month after meeting Dr. Chang for the first time. I’ve lost 16 pounds since we met. I’ve been to see his therapist to make sure my mind was right. I’ve been to his diet class on how to eat after surgery. He says those magic words “we’re ready for surgery.” So Amanda, his amazing assistant, puts in my referral for the surgery to Tricare. Fast forward to checking the Tricare website probably every 5 mins until Friday morning. Instead of the P for pending I see an A for approved. I nearly burst.
I am approved. OH MY GOD. I am approved. I AM APPROVED!
That is all for today, but my story will continue later when I find some pictures to show you guys about the procedure, about myself, about my doctor and my friends and my family.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life.