two years out from weight-loss surgery

Exactly two years ago today, I woke up in a hospital room to find that the Democrats had taken the House, and the surgeon had taken a big chunk of my stomach and a long length of my intestines. I’ve recovered from the surgery, but I still haven’t entirely recovered from the physical fact of it–I elected to have a portion of my anatomy removed, and my intestines re-routed. Two years later, I am an entirely different person, in an entirely different place, with an entirely different life from the one I had started with. Once upon a time, I was three hundred and twenty pounds.

At one hundred thirty five pounds, I am not living the happily-ever-after I expected to be–things are every bit as turned upside-down as they used to be, and my problems have not been solved. Some things are far easier when you’re skinny, when you fit into airplane seats, when the first thought someone has about you is less likely to be a judgment about your size or your shape, when the very act of buying clothes (and even shoes) is much more simple than it ever was. These are all things that have made my life different, and in some ways better.



But my tendency toward depression–not cured by a single-digit at the
back of my pants. I still procrastinate, I still have a temper. The
secret wonderful parts of my personality that I was convinced were
packed in fat–as if fat is like dry ice–did not emerge from their
cocoon, overshadow the parts I don’t like, and make me blossom into a
whole new rainbow-colored me.

That fat girl cliché: I don’t think I gained all the weight to protect
myself from the world, to hide and cower and never have to engage–but
it is entirely possible that I used being fat as an excuse to be
unhappy, as a scapegoat for all my problems, as a reason for why
nothing could ever change, because my body would never change. It is
possible that that is why I got weight-loss surgery–by god, something
was going to change. By god, did things change.

Two years out, I am supposed to have adjusted to being an unexpected
size, to have adjusted to an unexpected shape and an unexpected way of
being looked at by the world. I am supposed to have just gotten on with
living my life as a person you wouldn’t have guessed was obese, but I
am still getting tangled up in the politics, the strange guilt, how to
talk about it, when to talk about it, what has changed about who I am
when you get right down to it, what ought to change, what I wish I
could change. The catch is that I am like an old-fashioned broken
television set, still, and I keep fiddling with the dial.

Two years out, the good outweighs the difficult, the happiness
outweighs the confusion, all the tiny things that normal-sized people
take for granted still far outweigh the frustration, and I think I am
on my way toward saying yes, it is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

  4 comments for “two years out from weight-loss surgery

  1. November 4, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    What a moving post. As I work my way down in sizes, I’m noticing how much I let the number on the scale affect my mood, but how little it actually affects everything else going on in life.

  2. Liz
    November 4, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing the devolution and evolution of the various aspects of your life with us all…. I can relate very much to the idea that perhaps the weight isn’t something I hide behind so much as an easy, tangible scapegoat for being depressed and unhappy and defeated. Sometimes I wish I could have the surgery, if only to force the change irrevocably (which is not to say I think WLS is “the easy way out”at all, although it does seem to be a more permanent way out). The truly frightening part to me is my depression. Looking beyond the “fat” thing and facing that is the scariest thing for me, and reading about your struggles and copings with the beast makes my days just a little bit brighter.

  3. anon
    November 4, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Great post.

    As you know (we’ve talked about this before), any significant weight loss, surgery or not, leaves you in this place.

    So, two years out, you’re supposed to have fully adjusted? Wow, I hope you’re wrong, because I’m about eight years out from an 80+ lbs loss (not through surgery) and I’m STILL adjusting. And yours was a much more profound loss. But still, 80+ lbs to me was a world of difference. Me then and me now? At the core, essentially the same chick. But in so many ways, a totally different person.

    And yes, I still deal with getting depressed and other annoyances that remind me that life wasn’t going to be one big bowl of cherries just because I lost the weight. But, still, and I’m sorry if this offends anyone: it was the best thing I ever did. It changed my life.

    As much as I still struggle with various shit in my life, and as much as of course I can admit that it was not ALL about the excess weight, I am still far happier navigating the pitfalls at this size than I was at that size. No, it was not the root cause of ALL my problems (and, yes, you have to love yourself on the inside too, blahdiddy blah blah), but being fat made me feel every single damn problem that much more acutely.

    And unfair though it is, the world treats me better now, and even as I still find myself wanting to hide under the covers some days, overall my days are happier and I do feel more adjusted and more grounded and centered (although I’d guess that some of that comes from the regular exercise–go endorphins!–more than simply the weight loss) than I did before. I feel more like ME, without all the extra me.

    Life is hard enough without extra strikes against you. As much as I can sometimes still hate to face the world and look it in the eye, most days it’s hella easier now.

    I think you’re in a good place. It takes a long while for some of us to really, fully adjust, and who knows, maybe you never will completely (not sure I will!), but the journey is worth it, and I’m glad for who I was and who I now am.

    And, off topic: GO OBAMA!

  4. mm
    November 5, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Great insight.

    I am nearly five years out, and 170 lbs lighter, and things are still not adjusted. It’s a lifelong thing.

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