I have a secret that no one talks about.
When you lose a lot of weight, and I mean A LOT, your skin doesn’t spring back into place.
You know all those photos for people in bikinis with tight skin in their ‘after’ photos…yeah, about that…
So we all know what I have been doing since January 1, 2011. I have been living my life in a different manner. I began ‘lifestyle’ change not a diet. This is me before:
That is over 100lbs ago – about 107.8lbs to be precise.
As I lost weight, it was like my body was melting from the top down. I still have a giant ass and legs, but the weight on top left first. Weird. I noticed things like, rings falling off, my cheeks didn’t obstruct my vision, shoes got too big and underwear would slide down my hips as I walked. I couldn’t visually see me change, except I found my collar bone.
I could sit in theatre seats, I didn’t need seat belt extensions for the airplane, my kids could walk past me in the pantry, I use to have to move out of the way so they could enter.
As the weight continued to disappear, I noticed something else. My skin stayed where it was and didn’t leave. Think about that. Lose a person the size of my 16 year old daughter and the skin doesn’t spring back. Skin is heavy.
I talked to me Nurse about this issue…was there a cream? Was there more time needed? What did I need to do?
She said something very shocking to me.
What the hell man! I do this the hard way, no surgery, no lypo, no bariatric and you expect me to cut off my skin? How is THAT even fair??
I had a preconceived notion that plastic surgery meant vanity.
It does to some people. I talked to my doctor about it. Skin removal would ease the strain on my neck and back. I would be able to move more freely. I would be able to see the change and keep moving forward because honestly, I am only half way in my weight loss goal. He talked to me about a plastics surgeon that only works with people who have lost weight and have been able to maintain the weightless for over 2 years. The candidate cannot be on a fad diet nor can they be yoyoers. They must be healthy and fit to meet these requirements.
I thought about it for a while.
This was a big change. People don’t really understand. I was at the point where I could easily give up and go back to my old ways. Removing skin was for me, a bigger change than I had anticipated. It not only meant physically changing my body, but it mentally implied that I was ready to move forward and keep going. My long term commitment was still not over. I would have a lifetime of thinking of food as a battle. I never could relax for a moment. Kind of like a person with a drug or alcohol addiction. It is always there in the background, never leaving you. Removing skin was going to be me saying to my body – I let you down, but I never will again.
I was asked to be put on the list.
2 years later, the surgeon calls me for a consult.
Took you long enough pal.
I figured a year because I needed to maintain or keep losing…I had done just that. I kept moving forward and waited a really long time for this moment.
I entered his office on clinic morning and an entourage of interns and resident docs paraded behind him. I was asked to remove my clothes and stand in front of the gang while they poked, tugged, lifted, made inappropriate comments.
First I said no – there is too many people here and this is weird. Get out. They all left but the Resident – she was lovely and had great bedside manner, a gift that will be beat out of her as her tenure for surgery continues – and my Doc. He kept saying “these are crazy nipples” I smacked his hand and said “DUDE I am standing RIGHT HERE and can hear everything you say!”
He apologized and from that moment on, we had a good relationship. He agreed to my surgery saying I was an excellent candidate and I needed to get on another wait list….WTF?
So I called his office where is staff were lovely, kind and compassionate. I was asked to go on the cancellation list.
Then I waited.
less than one month later I get the call : So….how’s 3 days from now?
Things that crossed my mind:
- I can’t leave work, we are short staffed
- I can’t leave work because I took on the extra to help out my boss
- I can’t because I am running races this summer
- I can’t because I am scared
Then I cried.
I went into my bosses office and asked to speak privately. I have this issue with thinking in my brain before getting the entire story out so I began the conversation with, “so I guess I have to say no but…”
He panicked and said “No TO WHAT??”
I told him about the surgery.
At that point I was prepared to quit. I didn’t want to because I respect him too much and I couldn’t do that to the team, but I was willing to.
He told me to do it and not to worry about a thing. He organized everything and I left that weekend feeling relaxed and able to put work behind me.
Step one to a successful surgery : Zero Stress
Step two: be fit
Step three: eat protein
My the third day I was laying in Day Surgery at the Lois Hole Women’s Hospital starving to death. No food or water since 11:30 the night before.
I have this great ability to sleep anytime/anywhere – so I did.
Then they took me up to the operating theatre where they drew all over me in sharpie in (including a happy face for me later) obviously the doc cut along the lines.
I woke up 2 hours later and wanted to eat. They said I would be nauseous – nope – food please.
Here is what I discovered:
- my fitness level made my recovery fast and effortless.
- my core strength made moving in and out of bed a breeze
- the nurse was worried about my blood pressure and resting heart rate. Apparently it was too low for someone my size (64 people! that is awesome) I told her I just ran a half marathon, I am a runner – suck it.
- I was also asked about diabetes – I lost 100lbs and I run – suck it
- My blood work showed my cholesterol was normal – again runner!!! Suck it and I eat healthy.
- Size discrimination is rampant
Here I sit, 5 days later – I nap frequently because surgery makes me sleepy and they cut off 6.8 lbs of skin people!!! Walking to the car, I noticed my neck and back felt fantastic! The weight was gone. Now if only the potholes would leave I would be a happy camper!
I am glad I did it. I look so different, feel fantastic and really need to run – but that is still 3 weeks away. I feel like I am on a really long taper.
The next phase will be the panelectomy – the saggy skin that hangs low past my belly – I can’t WAIT for that one!
Meanwhile, I really feel like I am over the hill that was holding me back. Onwards and upwards and did you know that bras come WITHOUT industrial harnesses? AND in pretty colours?? Neither did I!
Me yesterday: My sister and I comparing chest sizes after I go from an I to a D – I still win :)