A Life-changing Decision

Today is one day before my surgery, but I will not be posting this until everything is said and done.

This surgery is a touchy topic no matter who you talk with, or their opinion on it. It touches on issues that vary from vanity, to shame, to health, to laziness, death and disease. It is misunderstood and the people who chose to have it done are misunderstood and continue to face misunderstanding before and after the fact. What makes me sad is that, in general, breast implants/other manners of plastic surgery are more socially acceptable than the surgery I am having and I don’t know what that says about us as a people.

I remember I was 6 or 7 years old and my cousin was sleeping over but she hadn’t brought a swimsuit for us to go swimming. So my mother took one of my old ones, a cute bikini that I had recently become too fat to wear, and gave it to her to use and I had a fit. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t wear the cute one, and instead had to wear an ugly one-piece. Oh, what an analogy for how life would be for me from then on.

At 8 or 9 my mother tried to enroll me in dance lessons to try to get me to be more active than I was, possibly to curb how fleshy I was becoming. Unfortunately as a young child with club feet and the beginnings of fibromyalgia, dancing was painful and I hated it. I more or less refused to get off an uncomfortable metal folding chair in the corner of the dance studio until the instructor gave up on me. I suppose my intense lack of coordination didn’t help much the few times I gave it the ol’ college try, either, and there is nothing, nothing, flattering about a tutu on a fat girl.

I hadn’t, at that age, really comprehended what being fat meant. All I knew was that when I sat on the toilet, my tummy would make two lips and it was fun to play with. No, understanding came later. Along with low self-esteem, horrid moments of potent self-hatred, and social ostracism at school.

On the upside I developed a winning personality to make up for my physical shortcomings; there is always a silver-lining to everything.

I spent my whole life dreaming that one day I might be skinny. One day I might be beautiful. One day I might be all of the things I never thought I could be.

But then I grew up. I realized that I was loved, and lovable, and that so long as I knew what a wonderful person I was, there would be someone in this world who knew it as well. And I did find him- my rock, my lover, my best friend; the man who looks at everything I hate about myself and tells me that I am sexy. And it stopped mattering as much.

But as content as I am, and even though my heart and my soul are whole and happy, my body has slowly started to cry uncle. At 28 I began having knee problems, something that is genetic in my family, and later I was almost prostrate with back pain on a daily basis. I’ve had to sit in a chair to pray for more than a year because I can’t handle getting down on the floor for sujood.

I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had dieted and failed. I had exercised as much as I could considering my physical limitations, and failed. I restricted myself to a 1,000 calorie a day diet and exercised and failed.

So I decided to get gastric bypass surgery.

My mom did it 5 years ago and had wonderful success, and I was with her for much of it so I saw all the ugly things about the side-effects of the surgery, and the repercussions for not following the rules. I know that with my front-row seat on my mom’s journey I am going into this with my eyes wide open.

This surgery is not the magic pill; plenty of people have had it and misused it, and gained back all of the weight. I intend to use it as a tool to help me with my goals, goals of eating healthy, goals of conquering the elliptical (seriously, this machine is my mount Everest), and a goal of finally being able to do everything I can to ease my fibromyalgia pain. Oh Lord, if nothing else I am having this surgery on the off-chance that it will help my fibromyalgia.

I am not using this surgery because I think that it will make people love me more. No, I have an immense amount of love in my life already. I have an amazing husband who is everything to me; who supports me and encourages me through the hardest times of my life. I have a mother who is there to guide me through this. I have a wonderful family who cherishes me. And I have an absolutely amazing group of friends who keep me strong.

I love you guys for that. So much.

This surgery isn’t to make me beautiful because I am beautiful already if only for the beauty of those around me.

And frankly only God knows what is in store for me, but I feel so much hope.

I apologize to all of you who want to comment with words of encouragement, but I am closing the commenting on this. I have already had my fill of people who are of the opinion that I just didn’t try hard enough and I shouldn’t have the surgery because it is the lazy way out.

Send me love, send me light, and make du’a for me please.

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