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Chris Powell answers my letter. Please help make my dream come true.

I’ve got to take a deep breath. I need to write this all down and honestly I’m so excited about everything that is happening right now that it’s hard to bring myself to stop and actually do that.

I posted on my Facebook account on January 3rd, “You know that old saying go big or go home? I’m actually scared of something I got brave and decided to do, Details to come soon.”

That was 5 days ago. And since then things just started falling into place for me. Originally my post was because I had decided to enter the Flab to Fabulous Pageant, and there was that little voice in me at first that said “Why would YOU enter a Pageant.” Then I reminded myself to keep up with my daily affirmations resolution and I looked myself in the mirror and I told myself “Because you are Fabulous and you were a Flabtastic ( I know that is not a word ) and you deserve to showcase your weight loss and tell the world about your accomplishments.”

FlabtoFabulousHonoreeNext I contacted the Pageant Director, Charlie Brown, to talk to her about the Pageant. During our conversation she offered me the slot as their 2012 Ms. Fabulous Honoree. The opportunity to be the Ms. Fabulous Face for the time leading up the pageant, and to be on stage with a crown and sash and crown the next Ms. Fabulous 2013. How could I turn that down? I get to be Ms. Fabulous 2012 and I get to help someone else become Ms. Fabulous 2013! This was originally the BIG NEWS that I was so excited to announce back on January 4th with I posted on Facebook “OH MY GAWD!!!!! Something AMAZING has happened for me. I can’t tell you yet, I want to so bad, but I can’t. But I’m working on getting all the right things to all the right people so that I CAN… Oh gosh this is big… remember when I said I was scared and that maybe I needed to remember go big or go home? Yeah, this is it, it’s coming…. 2013 I <3 you so far.

photo569The next thing I did was set out to find people who would be willing to represent OR in the Flab to Fabulous pageant but, I saw a possibility here, with cash prizes, I thought hey maybe I can find two people to compete on behalf of Oregon; I’ll sponsor their entry fees so it doesn’t cost them. I’ll help them with finding local sponsorship to get them to the Pageant if they make it to the Finals and I’ll ask them if they would be willing to donate their cash portion of the prize to one of my favorite charities the WLSFA! What a neat idea! So I found a Oregonian Bariatric Surgery patient that is willing to do JUST that. Steven Gray, who is my own personal Mentor and 8 year post op Gastric Bypass Patient, Steven, boasts a total weight loss of 265 lb. I cannot even begin to explain how proud I am to sponsor this contestant and send Oregon representation to the Flab to Fabulous Pageant!  The fact that he is willing to donate his prize money if he wins is amazing to me! The fact that he is willing to help me help a charity that I believe in as passionately as the WLSFA by trying to raise money for our PNW Chapter while getting a chance to experience something we never would have gotten the chance to experience before is absolutely FABULOUS!

But you know I couldn’t stop there. I mean I sponsored a local candidate as Mr. Fabulous. But there was someone else that I felt I needed to reach out too, someone else that I needed to repay a favor to. You see, there was a part of my WLS Journey that was very hard and dark for me when my Father passed away. And there was a woman whose voice shown through the dark and spoke to me during a time that I hardly had anything in me but to listen, to eat, and to work out. This woman’s voice through her writing and blog carried me through. If you have followed my blog you will know who I am talking about by now, my dear friend Waning Woman. So I called her, and I asked her to allow me to pay her entry fee and help her get sponsorship in any way I can to send her to the Finals if she makes it. I knew that this Flab to Fabulous Pageant was right up her ally, and I wanted to help make sure she got to participate. I am happy to Announce Waning Woman as my Ms. Fabulous sponsored contestant.

I am still looking for a local Oregon Female to Sponsor as well as a long distance Male Contestant; if you are interested in doing either, get in contact with me!

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So that done, I decided to write Chris Powell another letter. Many of you know I wrote Chris back in September and when he responded it was a monumental moment of my weight loss journey.  I talk about how Chris Powell is my hero all the time and how when he wrote me and told me that I was amazing and that he was proud of me, it really was the next best thing I could have had to hearing my Father say those same words to me. Since my Father passed away in just 9 months after my weight loss journey started he didn’t get to see me through. And so, I don’t know something in me just said, Hey, I think I will write Chris Powell and ask him if he would be at these events for me, because well, I would really like my Dad to be there and he can’t and Chris Powell would be the next best thing.

The next thing I knew I was getting a call from the local news station because one of my friends had tipped them off to my story, and by yesterday afternoon, my first time back in the gym after my reconstructive thigh lift, I was being interviewed by KOIN 6 News about my weight loss journey, about my trying to get the attention of Chris Powell, about the Flab to Fabulous Pageant, and about some of the Organizations I am most passionate about helping.  The segment is scheduled to air on Thursday during the 4 o’clock on KOIN 6 in the Portland, OR area. ( That is why I had a t-shirt on in that picture yesterday that said “Desperately Seeking Slender” )
chrispowell2I went to bed last night, without announcing anything that had happened, I needed some time to absorb everything that was going on. Then I woke up this morning and CHRIS POWELL WROTE ME BACK AGAIN.

I can’t even begin to explain to you the excitement here. I’ve written Chris Powell three times and he has written me back each and every time. I truly believe at this point that my dream of meeting Chris Powell might actually happen, and I honestly believe that there MIGHT be a chance that he’ll consider coming to these events that I asked him too.

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I chose to have Gastric Bypass because my Father came to me before he died and told me that he needed to know that I was going to live a Happy and Healthy life.

A Happy Healthy Life. Those were my Father’s exact words to me that day….

Today when I pulled up Chris Powell’s New Vemme Bod-e Weight Loss Management Products Page to look at the nutritional information on the Powell Protein drinks I saw a quote at the bottom of the page I had never seen from him before…

 

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I’m sorry but sometimes you just know something was meant to happen.

Please! I’m begging you! Go tell Chris Powell that WE all deserve to live a happy and healthy life! That we do not deserve to have the cover of People Magazine taking pot shots at us. We do not deserve to be ignored because we choose the tool that would help us make this journey. Al Rocker has paved the way for us without even realizing it, we are TALKING about weight loss surgery right now in the media and how it’s being viewed with an unfair bias. PLEASE let Chris Powell know that this community wants the POWELL PACKs support. By going to this page and commenting and ASKING them to get involved.

This community is growing by leaps and bounds each day.  220,000 Weight Loss Surgeries being performed each year. Let’s help continue to pave the way for others to help ensure that they do not face some of the WLS biased that we have faced, let’s help advocate and educate and utilize this chance to rise and asked for involvement from someone who could really help this community.  By going to this page and commenting and ASKING them to get involved.

“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” The OAC Event taught me this philosophy, put your stick with mine my friends, please; together we can make a difference.

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Emotions Surfacing With Too Much Time to Think

Ok let’s get raw, after all, that is sort of what you are used to with me right? I’m one of those blunt, tell it like it is, call it like I see it girls that tend to rub people the wrong way if they don’t appreciate that sort of personality type. I am also one of the most supportive people you will ever meet and if you ever need someone fighting in your corner I am one of the people you know you can count on. I am also very real and very accountable when it comes to owning my own issues and calling myself on the carpet on my own behavior.

I am not always right, in fact, I am often wrong and I have admittedly made some pretty drastically bad financial decisions in the last 10 months. Some I regret, some I don’t, but they are stressing me out a lot and weighing heavy on my conscious as we approach the new year and a time of new budgets, resolutions, goals, and what have you. I’ve made decisions that have made me quickly second guess the path I was currently taking and wondering if I shouldn’t reassess the situation and come up with a plan B.

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There is some added pressure in that I am the one that handles the finance in my household. Nobody else in the house ever has to worry about whether the bills are being paid, about what they are spending, they never have to worry if they can afford to pick up something to eat o the way home and they never really have to ask “Can I buy this?” – I’ve always been the one that does the budgeting, that pays the bills, that writes the checks, that robs Peter to pay Paul, that borrows from the savings, that opens that new account to juggle interest charges, that works on building our credit scores, that pays attention to when things are due. So in those times that my Family has ended up in a situation where we are in over our heads and we’ve bitten off more than we can chew, guess whose fault it is? Mine. All Mine, And when it happens, I am very good about beating myself up over it and making myself miserable over it. I am also really good and sacrificing anything extra for myself without anyone else knowing to try to make myself feel a little less guilty.

Now, it is from that place that my post the other day about Reality Sucking came from. I’ve put my Family in a situation where because of the decisions that we made as far as how to fund our portions of the cost of a year of reconstructive plastic surgery, how to compensate our income for the time off, how to deal with the financial stress that my side of the family was putting on us, and to buy ME a new car that would also serve as a car I would use for my future business plans later. Not to mention how to fund sending me on trips we felt were going to be huge emotional moments and open doors and show me the right path as far as the new career I am seeking out, as well as decisions to buy me certain things I need and wanted after massive weight loss, we’re in over our heads, money is now extremely tight again, and once more our dream of buying a house is slipping through our fingertips. That’s A LOT of weight on my shoulders. The ONLY person in my household that is upset about this situation is me. The only one blaming me, is me. The only one making me feel guilty, is me. But because I do feel all those things, I start instantly trying to get back to a situation where I feel like I can give more than I take or get, because that is just the kind of person I am.

So the plan, as it stands now, as my Family has agreed, is that I continue to spend the next year, focused on my weight loss and achieving my goal weight, focused on exercise, that I have one final session of reconstructive plastic surgery to fix little cosmetic issues like pleated skin on incision lines, a dog-eared incision ending and possibly if I decide to, an arm revision and breast implants. Studying for my Personal Trainers exam, taking my test and making sure that by the end of the year I am able to start working in that industry in one form or another. My goal, is to open my own company as an Independent Personal Trainer in July of next year. These are still my goals. However, there is also a big part of me, feeling guilty as I explained above, that feels that if I go through with this second year plan my Family and I started last year, that come the end of the year instead of having us closer to our long-term goals I will have us closer to bankruptcy

When I start feeling this way, I often have to examine my life, my goals and my plans and figure out an alternate path that I’m more comfortable with. My Family, choose with me, to invest three years of our life to getting me healthy, happy and to getting me into a job that I’d be happy doing. We took that on, and there were several people involved in the decision, from our household to that of my dear friends the Hatcher Family, to my Second Father, all discussing what we felt was best for me, and for all of us in the long run. When we started this, when we first made the decision for me to have the gastric bypass, we did it knowing that once we did it a snowball effect would start. We knew that I would be one of those people who HAD to have the excess skin removal surgeries, and at the time, we decided that it was what needed to happen if I was going to have any chance at living to grow old with my Family, or more truthfully, a chance of ever living at all. We quite honestly, went into this deciding that we’d be ok with never being able to buy a house, and that we would likely, when all was said and done end up nearly $120,000 in debt. ( We fully expected back when this started to end up having to cash pay for both my gastric bypass and my plastics and expected the total to be about this much ) We even made comments about looking at the bypass surgery like the downpayment on a house, and it being something we new we had to do to make sure I was still around at 60 or 70 to enjoy the life we were building. We made comments about looking at the cost of the Plastics to be like buying a fancy car, and how fixing my body would be more important to my Family than a nice car.

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Now you would think, with a Family that is that supportive, and with us getting so lucky with how our insurance coverage ended up playing out, that the fact that we came out of this at more like $60,000 deep, and more than 1/3 of that is wrapped up in an unexpected new car loan so really only about  $40,000 deep rather than what we expected would make me feel better, or more accomplished, or like I really did a great job or something. But it doesn’t. The fact that my Family can’t buy a house right now, when we really really want to, and when the economy is best suited for it, all because we’ve spent two years FIXING the me I broke by shoveling ridiculous amounts of food in my mouth makes me feel like an utter asshole, there isn’t any other way for me to say it. I feel like a big fat giant ball of stupid for the fact that my family has to suffer financially while I get my life back, because the only way I could find to cope with my feelings was by stuffing my face and blowing my body up to a point that it was permanent damaged, scared and unable to every shrink back to normal.  Ever seen one of those cartoons where the fat person is floating in the air and there is someone on the ground blowing them up with an air pump? That’s the vision in my head of what I did to myself, and now, everyone around me pays for it as they help me fix the most irresponsible behavior I ever exhibited in my life.

Once this sort of self loathing kicks in, my brain starts to panic and look for the quickest exit and the quickest “fix”.

That’s where I have been lately. In that space in my head where I am trying to find the fix to everything. The answer that solves all my problems and makes me feel a little less guilty. I’m not sure what the answer is yet, I’m not sure if it is a change of direction that is needed, heck I’m not even sure that it’s not completely mental. I may very well be at some stage of my emotional weight loss journey where I need to accept that it is ok for my Family and for me to love me enough to put ourselves so in debt to get me here and accept it, and know that in a few years, this too shall pass, and I’ll still be the happier healthier me that we did this all for.

I’m coming to all these realizations, that a lot of people take to be negative, when to me, really they aren’t negative, they are just, finally me seeing the difference between dreams and realistic goals. There was a time that I believed I would be dead before I was 40 and that wearing a pair of size 8 jeans or a bikini in public was about as realistic as me thinking I could ride in space shuttle or walk on the moon. There was a time when I believed that likelihood of me every running, let alone running miles was about as likely as me being a famous singer.

Lately my dreams have been of becoming something like The Ellen DeGeneres meets Chris Powell of the weight loss community. I have dreams of being on a show like The Biggest Loser or Extreme Make Over-Weight Loss Edition, only having it focus on not only people LOSING the weight, but on people LIVING after the weight loss, because that is the truly amazing, and most emotional part of the journey. And there was a part of me, there for a moment, that really started to believe that maybe if I tried hard enough, I could make that dream happen. Maybe if I contacted the right people, got the right person to notice me, pitched my idea to the right network, got on the right reality game show, that somehow I could make that happen, and that really big dream, became the one I was chasing for a moment instead of the more realistic one that I had when I started this whole process a year ago.

c00d9cfa50a711e29b9b22000a1f96c5_6I have a lot of internal struggles going on and quite a bit of guilt, and I am sure any therapist out there could tell me that this is all being amplified and brought into the forefront because I am sitting here in a recliner, recovering from plastic surgery, with way too much time on my hands to think about this stuff rather than being at my usual go-go work-work-out-work-work-out sort of pace and that three-week of heavy-duty pain killers have my emotions a bit raw. You think? But that’s what this blog is for, that’s what it’s always been about, and it’s these harsh realities and moments of feeling absolutely desperate that caused me to create this online space. So I’ll keep writing about them and I’ll keep sharing these moments as long as I keep experiencing them.

Today I weight 164 lb. and I still feel like I’m Desperately Seeking Slender, I’m just looking for it in places other than the scale these days.

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
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