My name is Robby. I'm 37. I've been overweight since I was 8 years old (first trauma: witnessing my Nana die at 8; second trauma: losing my Mom at 13 -- the story is here).
My highest adult weight was 240(ish) pounds (109kg) from the age of 16 until 21 or 22. My lowest adult weight was 188 (November 2010 -- to fit in a bridesmaids dress) (photos here)
In the 8+ years since then, I've had 5 ortho surgeries (neck artificial disc in 2012, lower spine fusion in 2016, plantar fasciotomies and heel spur removals in 2017 and 2018, and ankle stabilization/modified Brostrom procedure in 2018). I was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease in April/May of 2016.
For those who have been with me a long time, you already know all/many of these details. Sometimes it's really hard to package up my life time in a quick blurb of "how did I arrive at this moment" to people that need to understand all/a little of that to understand who I am, how I am, and why I am certain ways. I know I'm not unique in this. We are all the sum of our stories -- the current and past drafts -- as well as what is still to be written.
And yet, standing in front of him with a paper gown on, I felt like I needed him to understand something: I wasn't looking to take the easy way out. I felt even terrible for thinking it. This isn't easy for anyone. I needed him to see past the fat suit and to see me. I needed him to see the fighter underneath it all, not a person conceding defeat of any sort.
This Friday, I had an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss my body -- the things I want to address surgically and what I need to do to be a good candidate for surgery (mainly abdominoplasty with a little liposuction contouring).
I've been wrestling with myself about whether I wanted to talk about this or not, or if I was somehow betraying my core philosophies on some level. It's really hard to kinda be known for (here, here) as someone who is unabashedly (and sometimes delusionally) going to love herself and defend herself/her body against all attacks from the outside world to then walk into a plastic surgery center.
In the end I realized a few things: (1) I'm human and am allowed to be curious; (2) body positivity and plastic surgery need not be polar opposites, but I need to know my motivation; and (3) I've always tried to be honest here.
(1) I wanted to know a few things: When I got down to 188, my lower abdomen didn't change that much and was that just resistant/skin/a lost cause? Could we address the L5-S1 scar on my lower abdomen that's very visible? Could they help give me stronger abs (correcting diastasis from obesity and surgery), which in turn will help me get more stable years out of my back? Is the fatty deposit between my boobs a morphological issue or just a weird place to store some bodyfat?
(2) Motivation: Now that I've been cleared by my physical therapist to work out more on my foot, I needed some concrete goal (like needing to fit into a bridesmaid dress) that made me want to invest in myself. I might get to the end of my "homework" process and realize I don't need/want surgery. But ultimately, I see my lower abdomen as a "scar" from the trauma of losing Nana/Mom. And I hate the idea of living a life always carrying that scar/trauma -- that I can do the hard emotional work, but still not lose the physical reminder.
(3) Honesty: I might not talk about everything right as it's happening, but I know how important it is to normalize the thoughts and feelings of what it's like to be an obese person in this body, in this world.
I have my work cut out for me (there's some other stuff that he said that I will address in another entry):
— He wants me to go balls-to-the-wall and try
to get down to that 188 again... and then try for another 5lbs (he did comment that it's going to be much harder to do this the second time around, almost as if doubting my commitment -- pfffffft!).
—He says my skin makes me a good candidate and that he's encouraged by the way my skin has healed after other surgeries (Lord Squigglesworth is a shadow of his former self).
—He was also kinda surprised at how awesome my legs/butt are (see? proof that I'm an athlete!)
My intention for my next blog post is to write a few lists in relation to my experience between 2009 and 2010 ("the first time around"):
- What I was good at
- What I was bad at
- What worked
- What didn't work
- What resources I had and used
- What resources I had but didn't use
- What resources I need this time around
Current Weight: 210 lbs (yay, period bloating!)
Goal Weight: 183
Pounds to Lose: 27
Mini-Goal -- 15lbs in 3 months (seems doable?)