Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Who Will I Be

The approval for my revision from the LapBand to Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy came through...and I should be happy. I should.

The driving factor behind all of this was the blunt statement, and surgical notes backing it up, by my oncologist a couple of years ago, that she would have done a complete hysterectomy on me if she could have safely reached my uterus and the other ovary...but was prevented from doing so because my fat was in the way. During my follow-up, she said, "Get back to work with that LapBand, because when I see you next, not "if", but "when", that fat needs to be out of the way so I can get to everything!" That this same oncologist, who is considered quite brilliant in her treatment of gynecological cancers, lost my younger cousin who was very slim to aggressive cancer, scared the absolute hell out of me. Not if, when.

So when my LapBand malfunctioned during my mother's final illness, and the bariatric practice saw no point in working with it, the push was on to revise. I don't really like the idea of having three-fourths of the margin of my stomach cut off and removed, but that's the lay of the land. I don't want to be unable to even fight if I do get cancer, because the mounds of fat on my body would preclude it.

There are a lot of people who dismiss these surgeries as "the easy way out" or "just because you want to look more acceptable". Really, do you think I want to be mutilated for appearances' sake? Nope. I lost a huge amount of weight on one of those supervised liquid fasting diets in college, and the pressure of fending off the men (some of them who were previously "just friends" before) who moved in on me when I was at my low weight was just too much. It's like a switch flipped from "invisible" to "objectification"- and I had never had that kind of attention before. In high school, my goody-two-shoes/hardcore nerdette/perennial fat girl pigeonhole insulated me from both the scathing ugliness I experienced in college as well as blocking me from more ordinary dating experiences. Being desirable to men was outside my experience, and during that brief period when I was just another datable girl at the university, I was terrified.

It would be nice to not ache from the simple act of being. It would be nice to be able to walk without getting winded or being in pain. It would be nice to be able to clothes-shop in the same stores as my sister and my friends...but what I really want is to not fear dying because being too fat prevents me from receiving treatment.