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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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Featured in the Dec Walk from Obesity E-Newsletter

So for those that don’t realize it, life was a little busy for me for a bit. I left Oregon for Dallas, TX on October 24th, in order to attend the 2012 Inaugural Your Weight Matters Convention. I left Dallas on the 30th, the day after we did the Walk From Obesity and headed to San Francisco CA, where I spent some time visiting friends, saw my niece Abby brought into the world and got to spend a week or so bonding with her before I headed home on the 19th. Getting home just in time for Thanksgiving on the 22nd spending the long weekend with my Family and the I was off for my Reconstructive Thigh Lift on the 28th. They sent me home the same day and I’ve been recovering for the past 17 days and I haven’t had a lot of time to do many serious blogs, but I can’t even believe that I forgot to point this out to you guys! After all, it was so exciting….

Guess who was featured in this months Walk from Obesity E-Newsletter a their Member Profile? Me!

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This month we spoke with Jamie Williams, also known as Pandora, from Portland, OR. Pandora participated in her first ever Walk from Obesity event in Dallas on October 28, 2012! Pandora attended the Obesity Action Coalition’s (OAC) Inaugural Your Weight MattersNational Convention and decided to participate in the Dallas Walk from Obesity, which was held in conjunction with the Convention.

Each e-newsletter we will feature a walker or a team that has participated in the Walk from Obesity. If you or your team would like to be featured, please send an email to walkfromobesitynewsletter@asmbsfoundation.org.
Read the Entire Article here:
2010 Walk from Obesity E-Newsletter – December

They spelled my name wrong though! Nobody ever spells “Jaime” the right way, it is one of the reasons I hate that name so much. Also, growing up in Los Angels CA, where there is a high hispanic population my name was always mistaken for the Spanish version – “Jaime” pronounced ‘Hi-me’. It used to irritated the crap out of me that with a maiden name like O’Neal, so categorically Irish, they would still pronounce my first name as though it had hispanic origin.

Mostly I hate being called Jaime because I don’t associate with that girl very well. I got the opportunity to have a talk with my friend Michelle from The World According to Egg Face, about this topic in fact, when we were attending the OAC Convention, to me “Jaime” is very much that “fat-girl” in the before picture that I stole Michelle’s fabulous idea, and wore around my neck on a lanyard for the weekend so that people could see my before with me standing in front of them as the after. But I very much associate the name “Jaime” with who I was pre Gastric Bypass and I very much see “Pandora”, a nickname that has stuck with me for longer than I can remember, as the post Gastric Bypass girl who is so passionate about helping others in their weight loss journey.If my phone rings and they ask for “Jaime” I always know its 1. Someone that doesn’t really know me. or B. Someone in the medical or financial field. Michelle suggested to me that I legally change my name. I might consider that again these days with the climate with my Family being what it is.

I’ve been spending way too much time in front of my desktop the last few days because I had a lot of bills to pay and finances to take care of and I do all of that on my Desktop not my Macbook Air, part of the joy of having a Windows PC for most things and a Macbook Air for blogging, writing, traveling and all that jazz. But sitting at the PC seems to serious increase my swelling. I went into the hospital at 165 and they cut off just about 3lb. of skin. I came home at 170, which isn’t really shocking considering swelling. I’ve bounced back and forth between 167 and 172 since I came home. yes that’s a gain, I’m not stressing it, my body is healing and I’ve got swelling on board, no reason to panic, I’ve been out of the gym and not exercising for 3 weeks now. ( I took a week off pre-op to make sure I didn’t over do it and that I went into it healthy and well hydrated. ) When the swelling goes down and I am released to exercise again, I’ll kick it into gear and get back to 160. But yesterday after sitting at the desktop for nearly 9 hours with pee breaks and walks through the apartment, my thighs, legs and feet all ended up swelling and I was showing 174 on the scale before bed.

That pretty  much means I am spending the weekend in the “recovery recliner’ has I have so lovingly named it, with everything elevated to combat the swelling. 17 days post WLS Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and I’m still waiting for the tape to come off the incisions, the drains to come out, and the swelling to stop being quiet and issue. Let’s hope those three things all start happening soon. Then maybe I won’t forget to tell you about a newsletter I was featured in for nearly two weeks!

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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