This post is longer than guest posts I typically share with you. I could find no words I thought were unnecessary. Raw. Honest. Blunt. Heartfelt.
Please to enjoy.
Over at It’s Just Me, Drazil & Sheniqua….we poop a lot of rainbows and live in Care Bear Land pretty often.…but sometimes it’s not all about bathing in rainbow Skittles.
Today I’m here for a kinda gross, yet interesting (I hope) topic.
And truth be told, today I’m here to out myself as a lying, selfish hypocrite.
That’s such a terrible word isn’t it? One often shouted in anger or rage and usually meant as an insult. Meh – I can take it. It’s true in this instance. I did something I swore I’d never do….hence the big nasty H word.
And it goes well with the grossness of what I’m going to write about.
It’s something most people who lose lots of weight usually deal with in one way or another.
Hanging elephant saggy look like a pancake gone wrong skin….the kind that can only come from losing weight. The kind that pisses you off to no end because you finally got your life back on track and you’re healthy now – and you’re left with – freaking skin. It’s really the biggest slap in the face ever…like opening your birthday present when you’re five only to find out that it’s a toy with square wheels.
Months – hell for me it was years – of going to the gym every single day.
Hours of plodding away on the treadmill. Wads of money spent on gym fees, new clothes when old ones fell off, healthy food.
Incessant mundane talks with muscle mania gym rat man who wouldn’t leave me alone so I could just run.
All for the greater cause – health, thin-ness, vanity. And skin? NOBODY told me about this. NOBODY told me this would happen. A part of my own body was foreign to me. It didn’t match the work I put in. I was at the end and all I felt was….disappointment.
Which left no room for celebration or pride or a sense of accomplishment. Just let-down of the deepest kind. On your darkest, most frustrating days it’s the kind that makes you wonder, “Why did I even bother? Was it even worth it?”
You see I started my weight loss journey at 226 pounds. I’m only 5’3”.
Some people can pull off 226 if they have the height to support it. I am not one of those people.
Sooooo the moment my second daughter was out of my hatchery – I began Operation Try to See My Toes When I Look Down. I didn’t go on any fancy named diet or have a personal trainer – though many days I wished I had. I literally ate less (about 1200 calories) and ran about 5 miles a day.
As I got closer and closer to my goal, I noticed everything was shrinking – everything except one part….“the skin”.
I completely and naively thought it was fat. I remember grabbing folds of it and trying to see if it had shrunk. I only had it one spot of this skin. My lower stomach below my belly button. Nearly 80 pounds gone and I still couldn’t tuck shirts in. Couldn’t wear tight dresses without Spanx. Couldn’t bear to put on a bikini. Didn’t want my husband to see me naked. It was torture. It felt like a punishment for all the years of gluttony and taking my health for granted. It was payback for abusing my body.
And every day – I’d work harder and stay on track – and measure the skin….and it remained. I was obsessed with that piece of skin. It negated all my work every time I looked at it or had to buy pants that would go over it….all the while knowing that underneath was the body of an athlete.
Then along came karma…the sneaky little witch that she is….and I heard a plastic surgery commercial for a woman doctor in my area. And though I have major issues about using the phone – that day – that moment – I called. I made an appointment.
I told some people at work about my appointment and the reaction was…um….sucktastic.
To the outside world – and to many women I work with who still struggled with their weight and wanted to cut my eyes out in jealousy – they couldn’t see the hanging skin I saw – to them I was thin and healthy and plastic surgery? Well that was insane and all about my vanity!
Plastic surgery is for the stars – not little residents of Nowhere, America . People around here use money for heat and food and college – NOT plastic surgery. I couldn’t convince anyone it was necessary. Living in Podunk , USA was not going to help my case – and so the fact remained plastic surgery just isn’t something we country folks do around here you know?
To this day – most people in my real life town where I live do not know about my surgery. After that reaction with my co-workers – do you blame me?
I got tired of trying to explain myself…when I knew in my heart I couldn’t live without this procedure. And I was scared of more judgement – more looks that secretly said, “Well, plastic surgery is just cheating you big Cheaterpants.”
I was left with no one who understood except my husband.
When I told my own mother I got the same reaction and then I lifted my shirt. She literally out loud gasped – and said she had no idea that was there. She actually had the nerve to say, “Wow – you’re actually as skinny as your sister under that.” But she was afraid I’d regret and be sorry and feel guilty. She was wrong.
Even after so many people tried to tell me I was stupid or talk me out of it….I stood strong. I usually can be swayed very easily. I usually see reason – especially when it comes to money. I usually feel undeserving – like a lot of women and mothers. And not for one second did I waver or rethink the decision or call to postpone.
Something in me knew this was the right thing to do.
The only part I regretted in this whole process was the hypocritical part I talked about above. You see, of the people I told – I made it quite clear that I was ONLY going to see that surgeon so that once and for all a professional could tell me if the hanging stuff was skin or fat. I had to know. If it was fat – I could keep working. *I* have power over fat. Fat feels and looks different – it’s kinda solid-y if that makes sense. I could never grab my fat by handfuls and pull them away from my body.
But if a professional could tell me it was skin – hanging skin like mine that never ever changed or got smaller – I knew I could back off and just maintain and be done. I knew I had no power over skin. I knew if it was skin – it was over. No amount of running or killing myself at the gym or cutting back another 100 calories was going to do a damn thing. I had to know I had done everything *in my power* I could to get the body I wanted. I had to know. I couldn’t end this journey without that little piece of information.
But prior to the appointment I told everyone that if it was skin – no way – was I ever getting a tummy tuck. No way would I spend the money on my own body. I just wanted to know – skin or fat. That was it. I outright said I couldn’t afford it. That I didn’t even deserve it. That it was outrageous to even consider it and I didn’t believe in plastic surgery. We needed things like auto repairs and home improvements – I literally only wanted info – I was never really going to buy a procedure. That would be….selfish….and that’s not a word I could deal with.
Until I was there.
And that plastic surgeon put her hands on me and in her expert voice – said to me – “Holy crap – your entire body is toned and muscular – except this skin. You would only need a mini tuck because the rest of your abs are so tight. You can’t lose anymore weight. It won’t even matter. Your body is damn near perfect….except for this. I can do it. Right on top of your c-sec scar. 3 hours out-patient. Flat stomach. $5000.00.”
I left the office that day holding my husband’s hand and before we walked out into the street – I already knew I’d have the tummy tuck. I knew that everyone would say, “She lied – she said she would never do it.” And I didn’t give a damn. I’d rather be a liar and a hypocrite than a person trapped in a body I didn’t deserve and didn’t sign up for. I knew I’d find a way. I knew I’d stand on the street corner turning tricks if I had to. I knew I couldn’t live another month with my athlete’s body hidden by that piece of skin.
I will always remember my older brother who has the body of a model and the metabolism of a 10 year old saying to me, “ I can’t imagine anyone working as hard as you did to lose this much weight and living with that skin if given the choice.”
I had the choice. And I made it. I have never been more sure of anything in my entire life.
One week later, my surgery was scheduled. I made the deposit.
Today I’m two years out from my mini tuck (meaning they never moved or went above my belly button). I will never have to do another sit up in my life because my abs are sewn together so tight it hurts to even try. I run around tucking shirts in even when it looks ridiculous…because I can. I wear bikinis in the winter…because I can. I’m naked a lot – because I spent too much time being un-naked and hiding.
Did I struggle with using my family’s money for ME? For my body? Hell yah. Was it worth it? Hell yah. Would I do it again? Hell yah.
But I won’t say it was easy. A tummy tuck is VERY invasive. In pretty rough terms – your skin is literally cut from your muscle and lifted up and then your muscles are sewn back together underneath. Some of that skin is then cut off and put back down. It can take a loooong time for that skin to reattach to your muscle and fluid usually builds up underneath and has to be drained. It is not for the feint of heart. And lipo is no walk in the park either.
It takes months – even years to heal. Two years out and I can still swell. I was informed. I researched the crap out of the surgery and knew the risks. I joined tummy tuck forums and read them every day. I knew I’d see my doctor nearly 3 times a month for the first year. I knew the time I had to invest. I knew I’d probably endure more lipo and contouring…and bruising like you’ve never seen. The entire middle of my body was black and purple and yellow for weeks. I knew I had to stop working out for 8 weeks and couldn’t lift my child. I knew that coming out of the surgery – I’d be bigger than when I went in for a while. I knew I’d still have stretch marks. I knew recovery would suck big green donkey balls…and I did it anyway. It was the culmination of my journey.
I had realistic expectations unlike a friend of mine who had my exact surgery one week after me with my same doc. She is devastated and disappointed – because she still has stretch marks. She went in thinking those would be gone. Um, no. ‘Fraid not honey.
I guess I’m just trying to say – never say never.
Don’t be surprised if at the end of your journey you contemplate this option.
If you never need it – kudos to you. If you do – research, reflect…and never regret.
For me I felt like I had run an entire marathon….well more like I had run 26 miles…and the .2 remained…and my feet wouldn’t move and I couldn’t cross the finish line. I was so close I could see the ribbon waiting for me to run through it but I couldn’t…my body was stuck in that spot…and I was left to only imagine what crossing would feel like. The hanging skin was the definition of unfairness and I hated how much I let it hold me back. Maybe some of you can embrace it and accept it – and I respect that. I wish I could have but I’m not afraid to admit I couldn’t.
That piece of skin wasn’t me. It wasn’t indicative of who I was or where I’d been or the miles I’d run or the sacrifices I’d made. That skin was the old me. And it had no place in my life now.
My body still isn’t perfect….but nothing hangs where it shouldn’t…unless you count those things on my chest that used to be boobs. There were days when I’d wake up and see my scarred, puffy, hurting stomach and think “Really? THIS is better than a little hanging skin?” And I’d wonder what I had done to myself.
But today I know – that for once in my life I put myself first. I did something for me. It was one of the hardest and one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Becoming a lying, selfish hypocrite that is…..with one expensive kick ass flat stomach.
Now I wonder what they can do with these things on my chest??? Hmmmmm…..