This morning I got the call:
“This is Dee from Dr. Nick’s office. I’m calling to give you your check-in time for Monday. You need to be at the hospital at 7:30 Monday morning…”
I heard nothing after that, even though she prattled on about the surgical instructions I’d already received from my pre-op nurse earlier this week–nothing by mouth after 10 pm Sunday night, the allowed protein shake for dinner and to be sure I take my blood pressure medication with a small sip of water Monday morning.
Monday morning at 7:30, I will be crossing the Rubicon. There is no looking back now. At this point, I’m all in.
I got off of the phone and began to think about the implications of my decision. I mean really think. After I got out of the shower, I looked at myself in the mirror and said out loud to myself, “I’m never going to see this body again.”
That’s when the gravity of what I’m about to do to and for myself finally hit me.
This body that has served me pretty well for the past 40 years is about to undergo a radical transformation. And while I’ve had 6 months to prepare myself, the one thing I was not expecting to feel about this whole process was grief.
I’d already mourned getting to eat at some of my favorite restaurants by having a few small food funerals, but I got over that pretty quick. I hadn’t expected to mourn myself.
As I looked at myself in the mirror, and examined the belly I’ve always had, the stretch marks therein, my “bingo flap*” arms and my cottage cheesy thighs, I thought to myself, If I’m never going to see this again, what will I see?
I know I will see 5 incisions. I know exactly where they’ll be–Dr. Nicholson told me at our last visit how all that was going to go down, because I asked about it.
I know I will have excess skin. How much excess skin is yet to be seen. I’m pretty young and my skin is in good shape, and the plan to tighten things up is to do some serious weight training so as to avoid plastic surgery. I only want to be cut on once!
I know I will see abs. Odd as this may seem, my right side has an indentation where my obliques are. This gives me hope that I might actually have a flatter belly eventually. With some hard work, perhaps I’ll actually have more definition there!
I know I will lose some of my butt. I’m okay with that so long as I don’t end up with the dreaded NoAssAtAll flat ass that seems to plague a lot of women in their 40’s.
What I don’t know is what lies underneath this layer of fat I’ve been carrying around my whole life. I am both excited and scared to see what gets uncovered as I progress through my weight loss.
I am excited that I will potentially go off my blood pressure medicine before school starts. I am excited that every week will bring me the opportunity to get that much closer to being healthy. I am excited that I may get to be off my diabetes medication before Christmas. I am excited that perhaps my triglycerides will drop.
I am excited that I will get to wear smaller clothes. I am excited that I will be able to be more active. I am excited that I will be able to participate in sports again.
I am scared, though of what lies ahead. I have never known life as a thin person. The people in my life have never known me as a thin person. I mean, I was even called “La Gorda” as a kid. How will people’s perceptions of me change as I transition to a smaller, healthier me? How will I be treated by others?
I do not see my fat as a way to hide from the world. I do not see my fat as something that buries some horrible thing that happened to me in my youth. I do not see my fat as something I am ashamed of. This is just how I have always been. Does my fat make me angry? You bet it does. I have fought against it my entire life, and now I will have a fighting chance to beat it. While this excites me and scares me, it also leaves me a little sad too.
Here’s the rub: I do not know any other version of me. This is why I silently mourn the Fat Girl–she is all I have ever known, and I am getting ready to abandon her for good. When you have known someone for your whole life, and then they go whether by death or broken relationship, of course you feel grief.
But when the someone is yourself, the grieving process seems a bit odd. I mean, how do you grieve the loss of yourself? This is something I am going to have to learn and process as I go, I suppose.
Monday morning, I am going to empower the Fat Girl to be bigger than her body. She is going to finally have a level playing field to play on in the fight against the fat on her way to becoming healthy. And while I may mourn her physical disappearance, the Fat Girl in my head will likely reside there forever.
I will have to learn to fight her when she wants a greasy enchilada or a cookie or a nice fatty piece of brisket. I will have to learn to fight her when she wants to stress eat after a hard day at school or a hard conversation with family. These things will not be conducive to getting healthy, and the Fat Girl needs to realize this.
I will have to learn to talk the Fat Girl in my head into going for a run, swim or bike instead. The Fat Girl in my head deserves to be healthy. The Fat Girl in my head deserves to live a long life. The Fat Girl in my head deserves to play sports and be active again. The Fat Girl in my head deserves to look good in her awesome smaller clothes. I have to learn to tell the Fat Girl in my head that she is good enough to have all these things.
And she is. Because she is me, and I am good enough.
*”bingo flap” arms: my brother says that when little old ladies play bingo and they wave their arms and holler out “BINGO!” that their tricep region flaps back and forth. Hence the term “bingo flaps.”