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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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Why Weight Loss Surgery?

My friend Jessica at Bariatric Beginnings wrote a blog today called Why Weight Loss Surgery. It addresses the seemingly common occurrence of WLS patients being told that by having weight loss surgery they took the easy way out.  Jessica discusses the process to surgery, she explains that for many we are taking our lives back…  I’ve decided to elaborate a little bit…

IMG_2353Hi I am Pandora; I used to weigh 420 lbs.

The first time I can remember being abused I was 4 years old.

My Family was one of the paradigms for “dysfunctional family” – My real mom was 14 when she had me. She tried to kill me, gave me to her older sister to raise instead. I was molested by my then grandfather, who molested someone else in my family before me, and my entire family knew about it and my grandmother married him and they all let him have access to me knowing what a monster he was.  Several of my aunts and uncles where junkies, my mother was emotionally, physically and verbally abusive and by the time I was 14 I was trying to commit suicide on a regular basis because I was so tired of fighting to live.

I credit my High School sweetheart, a boy named Chris Hanna that will likely never see this, with the fact that I made it out. Him showing me that someone could love me, and that there was a chance that someday someone could love me that had a normal and healthy family that would accept me and that I could be a part of instead of mine and his mother Sandy, a high school principal that saw a girl drowning in her family and showed me that there was a way out, are probably the only reason I decided to stand up and take my life back from what had been done to me.

Food had been my coping skill in a childhood of misery. Some of my best childhood memories are of eating cereal in front of the TV alone in the morning watching cartoons and sneaking Dr. Pepper and Ding Dongs late at night.  But you know the first time I remember food being my friend. Was when I’d visit my grandmother’s house and after something horrible had happened to me, I’d get an ice cream cone or some money to walk to the corner and get a donut.

By the time I left home and got on my own I was over 200 lbs  Next I went through my abusive men cycle. First I picked a boy who convinced me I should do crystal meth to lose weight. After I saw the bottom, and I do mean the bottom of the meth head phase, I moved on to the next one; the physically abusive boyfriend. But you know, I was so full of my own self-loathing then that I didn’t really care if he abused me, I was so mentally ill at this point that I had turned to self-mutilation and some guy beating the piss out of me wasn’t such a bad thing in my head space. It took a hospital psychologist forcing me to see a therapist, to get me to my next phase, a diagnosis of Dissociative Identify Disorder.  It took me about 6 years of therapy, being put in hospitals over and over again, months and months of inpatient programs and a really damn good doctor, to get past this part.

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But food was still my only real friend and now I weighed 420lbs. So I decided to try to tackle it. I tried weight watchers, I tried Jenny Craig, and I tried Calorie Restrictive diets nothing worked. I’d lose some, gain it back, lose some gain it back and I was always hungry, I always felt my stomach growling and I never felt satisfied. I did Atkins, lost 195lbs, got married, went back to eating like a normal person, you know some carbs, and I gained it all back.

I chose to have gastric bypass surgery when my 83-year-old father came to me and told me that he was scared he would die without knowing that I would have a happy and healthy life. I decided to have gastric bypass when I realized that I was scared I was going to die before 40. I decided to have gastric bypass when I realized that because my family treated me so bad that food was where I found love and comfort, I had always used it that way, and really I was killing myself with food. I was still allowing what they had done to me to drag me down and stop me from living my life.

And once I made that decision I did all the things my friend Jennifer wrote about. I struggled with insurance I did all the pre-op requirements… and before I could even have my surgery I had to lose 70 lbs on my own so I was not a death risk. I did that. And for six weeks before my surgery I gave up food completely and drank only milk.

And let me tell you what I did AFTER my Gastric Bypass

I became an avid exerciser. I started to learn about food and nutrition since I had never been taught. I followed all the new super restrictive rules I had agreed to follow in return for a CHANCE that MAYBE I could lose the weight and keep it off and get a chance to live my life.

10152012 008And after I had lost the weight, then I stood there looking in the mirror and all I saw was all the skin that hung off me, made me look old, worn, ugly, and… abused. Yup, I saw all that skin as remnants of my abuse. It was like even still no matter how much I fought to overcome one thing there was something else there to told me back that I still tied to my abusers.

So I spent a year of my life dedicated to cutting it off.

For the first time in my life I look in the mirror and I feel GOOD about myself. I feel like I see ME for the first time instead of seeing a broken woman still trying to recover from being a broken little girl. And for the first time in my life, I won’t allow anyone else to break me.

There isn’t one thing about my life or any decision I have made that has been easy.

Why gastric bypass? Because I deserve to live my life as much as you deserve to live yours.

And if I ever hear someone actually say that gastric bypass is an easy way out…  I’m going to smile and… educate them.

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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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