So my weight has long been my cloak of invisibility. Not only is it the one thing that makes mobility difficult enough that I often stick out like a sore thumb. But it's the very same thing that helps me hide from the world and live quite comfortably in a role of observer.
We attended the orientation session last night for the bariatric surgery program at the hospital. It was nothing I didn't already expect. And as I sat there, I felt myself hunkering down. Preparing for battle. This is going to be one of the toughest wars I'll wage in my lifetime. But I already knew that. It's the toughest, and longest hard fought battle I've dealt with in my life so far. How could the final hill be won with any less blood, sweat and tears than I have already invested?
The session was really our opportunity to learn what we didn't already know and to firmly feel the gravitas that is this final decision to alter our metabolic system was really going to be. Think Top Gun, the scene where they're all being told that they are about to be flying for their careers and that only one of them will be Top Gun.
It was that, only for fat people. And instead of hearing "you're the best of the best", we heard a lot of "Don't waste our fucking time and money. Leave now if you're not absolutely fucking serious about this. Now. Did you hear me? Right fucking now."
And that sorta threw me for a loop. Who in their right mind goes through all the effort of dieting, and failing, and dieting and failing, and beating themselves up endlessly, long enough to finally throw their hands in the air, and make the appointment with their family doctor, only to confess in the most public way any of us ever could dream of having to do it, that they can not succeed without extreme intervention? The kind of extreme intervention that can only be offered at 5 hospitals in the province and has a 6 month waiting list just for a session in which we can be berated and demeaned further by a nurse, dietitian and social worker about wasted fucking time. Where we discover it will be another 3-6 months before we even get to meet with a surgeon. Where we sit for two hours and take it graciously despite the fact that the voices in our head who have beat us up all our lives for being worthless and fat are laughing maniacally at your treatment of us.
Apparently they didn't get the memo that I just spent the last six months worrying about heart attacks, strokes, and the fact that I might or might not see Christmas with my daughter, while they were jockeying their agendas and accusing other people who live with the same fears about waking up the next morning about not taking this seriously, wasting their time and potentially even punishing them for being lazy enough to need their services in the first fucking place.
The purpose of the program and for the rigors it includes is that it's meant to help people really succeed with this. I imagine the tough love is intended to weed out the weak and make room for the brave. These are going to be the people who support us through the surgical journey pre and post operative, for as much as five years after the surgery is over and done with. Somehow I'm hoping that their bedside manner outside of that orientation is a million times more supportive, otherwise I can see my ass being "kicked out of the program" for being insubordinate. Taxes paid be damned.
So begins my journey. Through all the pain that has been and all that is to come, I'm fighting my fight tooth and nail, sip by sip, and mashed up food for the win. My next appointment with the specialists is in March - 3 more months of fretting over what could happen between now and then. But I'll be damned if they are going to kick me out of this program and call me weak, lazy, worthless. My next round of tests is on Monday and then look out world. When all of this is done, I'll use my extra skin as a shield and I'll show my child what it is like to be healthy and happy and able. I'll show my child that she is the prize I fight for daily. That she is my entire reason for living. And she is my strength in beating something that has beaten me down for so many years.
And when my last appointment is done, I hope I get to tell those bitches who called a room full of desperate and disappointed people lazy and worthless, how lazy and worthless they really are.