Thursday, October 20, 2016

6 Months Post-Op

Every month my surgiversary surprises me. Every month it simultaneously feels like there is no way it's been as long as it has been - 6 months in this case - while also feeling like it has been forever since I went under the knife.

In honor of this milestone, I thought I would show you guys what happens when you go from nearly 500 pounds to...less...rapidly. I hope you don't consider these pictures to be offensive. Part of me wanted to completely throw up taking these pictures - - I'm not big on showing off my bod, but another part of me is really proud of how hard I've worked for what is now a very lumpy, bumpy body - but a much stronger body as well. I want to thank my sister Wendy for being my photographer for the new pictures. I hope I didn't traumatize her or my niece Macy who walked in for a few of them. These aren't pretty - but they are reality.....

All of the comparisons in this post are from the same 2 dates. On the left is September 9, 2015 - the date of my first appointment with the bariatric department. On the right are pictures from October 19, 2016. My surgery date was April 18, 2016.

My hands and arms are one of the first places I noticed a change. My fingers aren't as puffy as they once were. There are days where I can actually tell there is a wrist bone in there! One thing I noticed right away about these pictures is that I still have a tan near the end of October in the current picture. Why? Because I actually spent time outside this summer. Lots of time - participating in all sorts of run things - because I could!

I have been so lucky. I have been pain-free since shortly after my surgery. I have been able to eat a wide variety of foods, and have never (knock on wood) gotten ill. My hammock is finally able to tolerate protein shakes again without making me feel nauseous, which really helps make sure I'm getting to my protein goal each day. From month 1-2 post surgery I wasn't doing very well. Physically, I was fine. Mentally, not so much. There were times where I questioned if this was the right decision for me. I was so beyond tired of being told no, and having so many limitations on me that I was ready to snap. I can honestly say I have zero reservations saying that this is by far the best decision I've ever made for myself. Everything - and I truly mean everything - is easier.

This picture is hard for me. I have been programmed to avoid the mirror for a while now. If you don't really look at yourself, you don't really have to deal with the fact that you're...huge. I guess that must have been my philosophy? My defense mechanism? Because although I knew I was big, and getting around was hard, I didn't realize just how big I was.

And now - because of my mirror avoidance - I hadn't really looked at myself. The first time I saw my legs was in the mirror in the dressing room when I was trying on jeans a few weeks ago. They are an absolute mess! They are bumpy and you can see where my inner thighs are already sagging. I'm wondering if I'll ever see my kneecaps again?

But then my sister pointed out how good all of those lumps and bumps and sagging are. They are awesome. Because even though they may not look that great now, they are so much stronger than they used to be. They're allowing me to do so much more than I used to be able to do. Those legs tried to run yesterday!! Those legs worked so hard just getting me around before - they had to haul that 500 pound body around. Those legs should be so damn tired that they refuse to do anything - but instead they allow me to do squats and stairs and hike with relative ease. These legs are fucking amazing you guys. And although my FUPA is still holding on strong, it's a hell of a lot smaller than it used to be - and it isn't getting in the way nearly as much as it used to. So I'll embrace these lumps. I'll try not to cringe when I look at bumpy skin. I'll try and show this body the love it deserves for all the hell I've put it through, and it's still giving me it's all.

Not sure what I'm looking at here???
 It's not my body's fault that I tested the elasticity of my skin to such a ridiculous point. It is not reasonable to expect my skin to snap back when I've lost over 100 pounds in 6 months.

Yes - everything looks like cottage cheese right now. Yes, I have bat wings (that's the affectionate nickname I have given to that flap hanging over my bra under my armpit). Yes - my hips and thighs are dimpled. It's what happens. It is unavoidable when you were as big as I was. Will it go away or lessen with more exercise, and more time? I don't know. I think it might lessen a bit. May tighten up a small amount. But not completely. I will have to have skin removal surgery at some point, because things in the loose skin area are only going to continue to worsen the more weight I lose. The one thing that makes that seem worth it is that maybe they can put some of that excess back into my pancake boobs. Maybe? We'll see.....

So that is where my body is at 6 months. Let's talk about the rest of me....

My brain continues to be an issue. I think that is to be expected to a certain point. You can't be as heavy as I was, with the limitations I had without there being some residual...anxiety left behind. The only place that it consistently rears it's ugly head is in the gym. I have had instances where I am supposed to be doing something (stepping up onto a bench, or trying to rest my weight on a stability ball) and I will just absolutely freeze. The internal dialogue is ridiculous!! Eventually I get my body to cooperate, and I don't die, and then the next time I do it is easier - - but I would really be fine without all the back and forth to get to that point! I'm sure Scott (my trainer) would be fine with that too.  =)

Other than the mental stuff - everything is going pretty damn great. I'm borderline obsessed with honeycrisp apples with peanut butter and key lime greek yogurt at the moment. I'm trying to enjoy every decent day we have left before dreaded winter hits. I'm really enjoying not living in fear many ridiculous things. I try out most chairs with arms I run across now, and my butt tends to fit in most of them!!! There are days, and there are moments, that can be a bit of a challenge....but for the most part life is pretty damn good right now.