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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Post-Op Head Games

So I have the surgery; my health is improved. Not only that, my confidence and general attitude are definitely better. Still a little shy, I think from some residual confidence issues, but overall so much better. I'm living my life now, instead of living vicariously through others. In fact, just last weekend I physically showed my daughter how to use a slip-n-slide! I have returned to school and I feel fantastic about LEADING my life.

I look in the mirror I see improvement. I don't see perfection, but that's OK because perfection is not what I'm looking for. I watch for changes that will motivate me. I take time to notice them and I enjoy wearing flattering clothes, the freedom of movement and every single "WOW" moment I experience. Those are the things that keep me going.

Here's where I seem to have a problem, and I know this is going to sound crazy... but I guess this is part of the post-op head game.

If I look in the mirror and I say, "Hey, you look good, you're feeling good and you've come such a long way." that's fine. But why is it when other people say, "Hey you look amazing!" or just *gasp* when they see me, I get very, very uncomfortable. In particular, I get mad with my family, especially my Mother, when they make such a fuss. I literally just cringe inside when anyone says anything overly positive or are overly animated about my progress.

I know I have such a long way to go to yet, so I thought, "Well, maybe that's why it bothers me"; since I'm still so far from a healthy goal weight.

Of course with my Mother, I figured it was resentment after all those years of telling me how fat I was and how I needed to lose weight. But I really thought I got past that when I learned my weight didn't define who I am as a person. Unless I just don't really believe it in my heart.

I see other post-ops who seem to enjoy and just bask in the glory of their success. Make no mistake, I'm extremely glad I had the surgery and got my life back. But in some form I feel like a farce when people say, "What are you doing to lose weight?" and I reply "..eat right and exercise". I don't want to be known as "Donna, that girl who had RNY", so I don't really share it day-to-day. I don't hesitate to share with someone who brings up the option of surgery, but I just don't bring it up as part of casual conversation.

I know the discomfort does nott stem from thinking "Well I was still me even when I was fatter... why didn't they see ME then." - I know a lot of post-ops who anguish over that. I do smile and say thank you to each and every compliment, but regardless I still cringe inside and it is still painful. Makes me wonder, perhaps, that while I felt I deserved this second chance to live my life, do I really feel like I deserve the success? It goes back to feeling like a farce. Of course I know I am not -- this is by far the hardest thing I've ever done!

I bring this up because I'm going back to NJ to visit my family the end of June, and they haven't seen me since I was 2 weeks post-op -- I've gone from a size 26 to a 16/18, so there is a noticeable physical change.. I love my family and I don't want to hurt their feelings and crush the excitement they feel for me. In a way I don't want to be selfish and say "Hey, don't share your happiness with me, it hurts." Especially when I can't define why it makes me hurt.

6 comments:

Aussieabroad said...

Not crazy at all Donna... I think for many of us fear of being on display is what kept us fat. But look at it this way. You are on display but the novelty will wear off. After people get used to seeing you, not fat you, they won't make the fuss they are now. You may even miss it...lol.

Every time someone gives you a compliment or makes a fuss, practice in your head, saying to yourself "yeah, I am doing great. I did good. Thank you". Eventually you'll start to believe it ;)

Incredible Me said...

I so completely understand where you are coming from...

I think when people compliment me now they are just being "nice" because while I have made progress it's not much yet, or it's not noticible to me.

... but I also agree with Aussie.

Just say thank you to the compliments and take them as they are meant.

Michelle said...

It's a hard head game to play with yourself. One I'm dealing with myself. I think we are very close in surgery dates, therefore we are at the same crisis in our journey together. While I smile and take the compliment, say thank you, I walk away from the situation and I'm either pissed or angry that I couldn't be the person they wanted me to be before. It's like the re-affirmation of yes you were obese, fat and well now your only marginally obese. I hate it, but I love it. I've blogged about this a few weeks back, talked extensively with my therapist and came to the conclusion of screw them, I am what I am...I'm no different with feelings inside now than I was 85 lb ago and I have to learn how to deal with that. My mother always told me I was fat too, now she's like "Can I snap a picture of you, you look great" yeah whatever!! I smile, snap and walk away. End of story.

Melting Mama said...

I get it. I do. Since my various re-gains... oh yes. :sigh:

barman said...

I lost a lot of weight without the surgery. I got a lot of the same attention that you have gotten. At first it was OK but as it went I was not sure I liked the attention. But you know what, after a while it did stop as people got use to what I became. And then I put the weight on and not one person said one thing to me as I did that.

I find it hard to know what to say to people that are losing weight. I want to say you are looking great even though you have more to go. But I do not mean to imply I did not like them before but how do you not imply that. So I try and take the middle ground and pay a compliment but just try not to go overboard. I mean we all need some encouragement.

By the way you are making such marvelous progress. Good luck on the rest of your journey Donna.

Kim said...

Hey Donna-

I have certainly been in your shoes. It does slow down when you have been at goal for awhile. But, they also like to tell you that you are TOO Thin. It is never good enough for some of them. It is great to get help to deal with the feelings because they can be overwhelming and sabotaging. You are doing the right things. Consistent weight loss is the key. I hope you have a great trip back to NJ and try not read any bad intent in the compliments. You deserve the good press in every way!

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