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Moments We Will Remember Forever In Our Weight Loss Journey

There are days in our lives that we will never forget. Moments and memories forever etched into our minds that have written part of who we are with their mere existence. I want you to think for a moment of a scene from your favorite book, for me it’s always that moment in Great Expectations where Pip is standing in the graveyard at the end of the story and he realizes that his life has come full circle. Think about that scene in your favorite movie; for me it’s Christian Slater looking at Marisa Tome in “Untamed Heart” and saying “I don’t make sense, you don’t make sense, together, we make sense.”

We have moments like these in our lives as well. Little scenes that will stay with us forever like that. I have a lot of those special moments and memories with my Father, I notice that a lot more now that he is gone.  And we have these moments in our weight loss journey as well, and just like in the movies, sometimes they are happy moments and sometimes they are painful moments, but each one of them is a pivotal moment in our weight loss story. I’m about to share one of these moments with you.  I call them “Forever Moments”

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For me one of those days was spending my Birthday at Disneyland in 2005. 

Growing up in Southern California I spent a lot of time at Disneyland as a kid. We went there anytime relatives came to visit, heck we went there once a year just taking me and a friend. I’d say we went easily 2-4 times a year for the majority of my childhood. it wasn’t  until I became a teenager and roller coasters, boys and Magic Mountain and getting in free over and over with “Twickets” became the forefront of my Southern California amusement park date life.

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This Photo was taken in August of 2005 During a Visit to my Parents house in California

I can honestly say at this point, that I have been to Disneyland with everyone in my life that was ever important to me right up to Jason. My love of Disney is likely what lead me to my affinity or maybe I should say obsession, with Tinkerbell.

Jason and I had been married for going on three years at the time. We had just moved into house that we were hoping to someday buy, when we got a call from my Mother that my Dad was using the old playhouse that he and my grandfather had built me when I was a little girl as a storage shed and the floor was falling out and it wasn’t safe anymore. Jason and I packed the dog up in the Jeep Grand Cherokee that we owned at the time and drove to California. It was August, very near my birthday and we spent a couple of days tearing down that playhouse and then went and bought my Dad a Tough Shed and put it up for him, organized it and Jason built my Mother a cat box she was certain she just had to have.

Then Jason decided to take me to Disneyland for my Birthday. Now Jason, let me say, was a lot more fit that I was at the time and even though he was a very big man and soared easily soared above me at 6’2 to my 5’5, he wasn’t what you would consider “over-weight” at the time. He was very much the type of guy that you’d look at and go, yeah he’s a football player or a bouncer or something like that, but he’s big, and intimidating and with his long hair, gauged earrings and tattoos he looked like the type of man who you really didn’t want to end up in a fight with. I can only say that it was this fact that made me think that it was a good idea to wear a little 4x black skort and a tank top to Disneyland when I weighed 420 lbs. Let me define skort too just in case you are unaware; a skort looks like a skirt but it’s really short, so short in fact that you have a little pair of biker shorts attached to it so that it’s not obscene when you walk. I wear running skirts very similar in fashion today and you know what… I wear leggings underneath them because I am ashamed and disgusted my the excess skin that hangs on my thighs. ( Or at least I did up until now! We’ll see how I feel this next summer about putting on a pair of shorts now that my thighs are done.)

I was always the sort of girl who wore long pants, long skirts, and tried to flatter myself even though I was so big I could hardly find clothes that fit me. I to this day have no clue what possessed me to wear that outfit out in public accept that at the time I was a newlywed, my Husband was very happy to be with me, despite my weight we had a very active, healthy and interesting sex life, and I had some semblance of self-confidence when I was on his arm that allowed me to think I could wear whatever I wanted, he thought I was beautiful and that was all that mattered. But it wasn’t really… so that day proved to me.

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This picture was taken during the Disneyland Visit I am writing about in August of 2005. I was 29 years old.

Disneyland as morbidly obese person wasn’t fun at all. The rides that I could ride on were so limited. Jason was so good about it though, he would sit me down somewhere near the ride entrance, then walk over and talk to the Disneyland attendant working at the front of the ride line and explain to him that I was a very large girl and that he didn’t want me to be embarrassed if I couldn’t fit on a ride and ask them first if the ride could accommodate my size. And Disneyland, I have to say, was amazing with their handling of the situation. I was really astounded by that. Anytime Jason asked ahead of time about me fitting on a ride, they would let him take me through the handicapped section and allow me to board before the other passengers so that we could make sure I could fit and that the seat belt would close before there was an entire crowd around to witness it if I couldn’t. They really went to great efforts to make sure I was spared any embarrassment they could afford me and to this day I am a loyal Disney customer because of that treatment.

But what changed me forever that day was the moment that I was talking about earlier. That moment in a movie or book that you will never forget… I remember this moment so vividly that I can close my eyes and see it like it just happened…

I was standing in Fantasy Land in that intersection right in front of the Story Book Whale Ride. I was holding the largest size drink that you could buy in the park, which is always the best choice financially because you get cheaper drinks all day by refilling it. But it’s size was ridiculous, probably 64 ounces, it was a diet coke, the sun was beating down on me and my face was breaking out in a terrible Lupus flare up. I was standing in front of the Matterhorn, that big white mountain that is like a trademark sight of the Disneyland California theme park and I could hear the music from the It’s a Small World ride in the background. I was trying to decide if I wanted to try squeezing into a teacup, or if there was a chance that I would be able to ride the Matterhorn, but was convinced that the Alice in Wonderland Caterpillar ride was the next thing on our to do list when it happened. This nice looking sort of exotic looking man walked by me. When his eyes hit me for the first time there was this moment of blankness of his face where it didn’t quite register. He was walking really fast, like he was trying to catch up with someone or trying to meet someone somewhere in the park, maybe even returning to where his family was standing in line to wait for a spot for the parade. We were thinking of doing that too. Suddenly he stopped dead in his tracks, like hit the brakes and just froze for a moment. Then he looked back at me and I watched as he took me in. It was the briefest moment, seconds really as he looked from my head to my feet and his eyes went wide. He was shocked, literally shocked, by how big I was. The look on his face wasn’t disgust, it wasn’t mean, it was sheer shock, and then when the shock faded, the look that was left was one of disbelief and fear and in that moment, I imagined the conversation he would have when he got to wherever he was going and met up with whoever he was there with, his girlfriend or wife I imagined.

“I saw this woman when I was walking back from the restroom. She was so big, I mean, literally I was shocked at how large her body was. I couldn’t help but wonder how she was even standing there, how strenuous it must be to try to move. She looked like she was in agony standing there. I can’t imagine how someone that large could spend a day at a place like this walking around. Her ankles were as big as my calves and her thighs were literally almost the size of your waist. I can’t imagine, being that heavy, out in this heat. I wonder how a day in a place like this can even be enjoyable. There is no possible way it is safe to let someone that size on a lot of these rides.”

This is a picture of my fellow Disney Loving Friend Joy Muller and I in October 2012

This is a picture of my fellow Disney Loving Friend Joy Muller and I in October 2012

And honestly that conversation I imagined him having after he saw me, is one of the kinder and gentler conversations that I’d ever imagined. Most the time as an obese woman, when someone reacted to my size it was a very negative thing. So for me to imagine this man having a conversation that wasn’t really meant to be mean or cruel truly speaks to how sincere I felt the look of utter shock on his face was.

I don’t think, that until that moment, I really ever realized just how big I was. I know that sounds strange, but I knew that I was fat, heck I knew I was way beyond fat, I knew that my weight was dramatically out of control, I even knew it was dangerous to my health. But I don’t think  ever truly until that moment realized my actual girth. I had been fat most of my life. I’d been chubby since I was a little girl, and I had really always sort of been one of those “If you don’t like me because I’m fat, you’re stupid and that’s much worse so screw you.” types. I’d always put on a very good show and a very strong face about my weight, I tried to play that BBW card like it was a good thing and under appreciated by most men that were just too vain or narcissistic to see beauty in something other than the norm.

For the first time that I could remember I was truly ashamed of my size and for the first time I could actually recall I felt unworthy. I felt like less of a human being because I was so morbidly obese. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there shocking other people with my mere existence like some circus side-show freak.

Another picture of my fellow Disney loving WLS BFF Joy Muller and I after we ran our FIRST 5K at the Walk from Obesity in Dallas TX Oct. 2012

Another picture of my fellow Disney loving WLS BFF Joy Muller and I after we ran our FIRST 5K at the Walk from Obesity in Dallas TX Oct. 2012

That California trip held two moments like that for me. Moments when I realized for the first time that I was truly so big that I could never go out without expecting, understanding and accepting that someone was likely to be shocked and likely to do or say something negative because of my size.

I can honestly say that day changed me. I realized for the first time that my weight was so out of control that I could no longer function in the everyday world. It was the very beginning of what would later end up being a good couple years of me practically becoming a hermit and only leaving the house when it was absolutely necessary.

One moment, forever etched in my memory, I am so grateful today to not live in fear of how people will look at me and not have to worry about those shocked faces. I’m so thankful to not worry about whether I will fit in a seat somewhere or if I can ride a ride or not. I am so happy to no longer feel so ashamed of myself that I am reluctant to go out with people I love because I don’t want to embarrass them. These are emotions that I’ve left behind me, ones I never have to fear or feel again thanks to the healthy lifestyle changes I have made and how I have used my weight loss surgery as a tool to take back control of my life.

I am an example of Bariatric Surgery gone right and if I can do this, anyone can do this, that’s my message for you all today. If I can do this, you can do this. And if you need some encouragement, I’m right here. We can do this. I just want to share a few more pictures with you of me and some of my favorite people. To really show you how different my life is today!

Me and some of the most wonderful women I could ask for as friends.

Me and some of the most wonderful women I could ask for as friends. Laura, Yvonne, Connie, and Sandy taken at the OAC Convention Awards Dinner October 2012

So now you know one of my “Forever Moments”, how about you share one of yours with me?

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My Third Christmas Post Weight Loss Surgery

I feel like I have so many things to do and catch up on, especially in the online world, that I am starting to panic that I’m “playing” too much.

f908a804500e11e28a5622000a1fbe35_6It’s nearly 10pm on December 26th, the day after Christmas when life begins to return to “normal” and the end of the Holiday season approaches. I had a couple really rough days leading up to Christmas. Murphy’s Law got me again and I was lucky enough to manage to get the Flu for literally the first time in my adult life while trying to recover from a thigh lift. Talk about a double whammy.

I am just starting to feel human again after having the good luck of coming down with the flu for the first time in my adult life while recovering from my thigh lift, and so I decided to start playing catch up in the online universe tonight and began downloading my email. Because catching up on my email will take HOURS less than catching up on Facebook or Twitter.

2beautiful-blogger21I was nominated for The Beautiful Blogger Award by Jessica at Bariatric Beginning. I’m very honored to have been nominated for this award and I am going to accept it and do all the things that the award require that I do… but it’s going to have to wait until I have gotten caught up. Jessica, thank you so much for the nomination and the kind words that you had to say about me. Having readers like you that do stuff like this for me is the reason I keep blogging.

So we had a really nice Christmas. Christmas at my house is always a big deal even when there are only a few of us here. I think it comes from my being deprived Christmases all during my childhood, it’s my favorite time of year and we always have a really nice Christmas if there is anyway we can make that happen. This year was the first year since Heather moved in and I really wanted it to be super special for her.

Now what sucked was that I came down with the flu the Thursday before Christmas and it was bad. I’ve never had the flu before, I can say this with certainty now. But let me tell you, recovering from a reconstructive thigh lift and getting the flu on top of it, where your entire body is suddenly achy, it is about as high on my to do list as jumping off the top of a ten story building. Now add-on to that running a 102 fever, going from hot to cold, oh but the best, the best was when the shivers set in, and suddenly my whole body, slit up, stitched up thighs and all were trembling uncontrollably, which causes all your achy muscles to tighten, and… yeah let’s just say that if you ever have the option to NOT get the flu while recovering from a thigh lift, take it.

After a visit to my PCP and my Surgeon on the 21st which would be 3 weeks and 2 days Post Op she said that there was still a bit of swelling, she took the drain out of my left side but left the right side in and said that there was a little redness that COULD be the start of an infection, so she put me on another weeks worth of antibiotics just to be certain and I’m due to see her again in a couple of days. With the flu kicking my butt I pretty much slept from Friday to Christmas without really noticing the time passing by.

By Christmas Eve, thankfully, the worst of the flu had passed. We had a great time opening presents and my loot included …

 

2072231c500e11e29bac22000a9f13d0_6Games:

  • Guild Wars 2 ( PC ) – This game will keep me busy for the better part of  year+ once I start playing it. I played the first one for nearly two years before I got bored with it.
  • Rise of the Guardians ( Wii )
  • Skylander Giants ( Wii ) ( I got lots of little figures too! )
  • Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 ( Wii )

 

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Fun Stuff:

  • A Tinkerbell mouth rinse up for the bathroom 🙂 – I love Tinkerbell
  • Warm & Cozy Microwaveable aroma therapy stuffed animal and scarf. – A cute way to stay warm when you find yourself freezing after weight loss surgery!
  • Plantronics Bluetooth Earbuds – They let you listen to music, take calls, hear all your running app stuff and NOT get your arms tangled on cords. I’ll be writing a review!
  • Pandora Jewelry – I got one new charm and two new clips for my Pandora bracelets.
  • Oval Jewelry Box – I’ve had little wood square jewelry box for about 9 years, now I have a pretty oval, 5 drawer, side opening fancy, grown up jewelry box!

ddd0142e500d11e29e9622000a9f09f1_6Clothes:

  • Warn Cozy Jammies – I got three pairs of fleece ones and one really nice pair of like super warm gray ones where the top is a jacket! I’ve had one pair of warm PJs since I lost weight and those were last years Christmas Jammies and were a size 1X. These were all women’s size medium and large 🙂
  • Running Wear – I got some fitness wear two shirts, two 2nd layer hoodies and one pair of Capri pants to match them all and a purple heavier sweatshirt, all ventilated, all great for running! I can’t wait to try them out when they let me back on the pavement. Oh I also got my FIRST ever running tank top! It goes with all the other stuff color wise, but I’ve never worn a tank top to exercise before. ( remember I’ve spent a year doing plastics ) so this was an exciting first for me!967a6f60500e11e2ae8022000a9e2946_6
  • Scarfs – I got two really nice scarves, one black with stars and one sort of multi colored one. I am sure you will see them in lots of pictures to come!
  • Speedo Bathing Suit – Well I said I would go back to swimming at the gym after I got my thighs done and now I’m gonna be held to it. my new size 8 speedo bath suit sort of demands I live up to that promise. So soon a the doc says I can exercise in a public pool again, I’m there.
  • Robe – So I haven’t bought a new robe since I lost weight. My robe currently is the green one I was wearing after my gastric bypass at the hospital. It will be retired now, because I got a gorgeous black and leopard print warm fuzzy new robe under the tree!
  • Socks – Socks are a Christmas tradition in my family. One of the only two that I can clearly remember before my Mother decided that we were going to become Jehovah Witnesses when I was 5 and I never got Christmas again until I was an adult. Socks, you always get socks for Christmas, socks and an orange in your stocking.

I’m feeling a lot better these days, mostly sitting in the recliner, keeping my legs elevated and trying to get the swelling in my thighs to go down. I haven’t felt up to going back to work yet, and that only drains more and more out of our savings each week I am out, so I’m eager to get back, for now, I’m resting, like they keep telling me that I should, drifting in and out of consciousness and letting my body heal. As I finally finish this blog it’s nearly 3am and I’ve been dozing in and out, writing in between naps in those brief moments when I’m awake and watching HJ play Zombie U .. Go team not corpses.

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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