This is an excerpt from the manuscript I am working on. What will happen with it? I don't know. But, I know quite a few people have asked me how I got started on my journey. Here is where you'll find the first look at that story.
I plan to post more and hope people find it helpful to know they are not alone in starting out on such a long and difficult process. I know reading about others' paths has helped me realize I am not special or unique. We all have our struggles and are stronger when we share them.
I July 7, 2017
"So, what are we going to do about the weight?"
My doctor turned away from her laptop and looked me right in the eye.
My smart-ass mouth wanted to fire back. "We? What is this 'we' crap, doc? WE aren't going to do anything!"
But, I didn't feel like a smart-ass that day. All that filled me was shame, defensiveness, and vulnerability.
"You're up to almost 387 pounds," Dr. McCarty continued quietly and waited for a reply.
A lump in my throat blocked my response. For years, I thought closing my eyes whenever I stepped on the scale would make the number matter less or maybe even make my obesity just disappear.
She glanced back at my chart. "You have high blood pressure. High cholesterol. A fatty liver. Type 2 Diabetes. Sleep apnea. Asthma and depression. Am I missing anything?"
"No," I finally muttered. "That about covers it."
In that moment, I simultaneously felt huge enough to fill an entire room on the outside, yet microscopic on the inside. Sitting on that exam table, where my fat ass already stuck to and ripped the paper sheet stretched across felt like torture. Doing so while wearing wearing a hospital gown that the ties couldn't reach together only degraded my dignity even more.
My first visit with Dr. McCarty wasn't off to the best start. Tears of humiliation hovered on the brink of exposing my emotions. I don't cry in front of many people and this doctor was a stranger. I held my breath to keep the floodgates from opening.
After a few moment of silence, she pushed the computer aside. "Have you tried losing weight before?"
I think I laughed out loud. Talk about a loaded question!
Only she didn't find any humor in the situation. Dr. McCarty just sat there and looked at me.
"Yeah," I answered.
"What have you done?"
"Weight Watchers a few times," I replied and looked over her shoulder out the window. I knew if I looked at her directly, I'd bawl my eyes out.
She nodded. "What happened with that? Did it not work?"
"Of course it worked!" I snapped. This game of 20 questions was really getting annoying.
She raised an eyebrow at my tone, but silently leaned forward.
"For a while," I reluctantly continued. "I stopped doing it after a few months each time. The plan worked. I stopped working it."
Dr. McCarty nodded. She opened her mouth to speak, but hesitated for a moment. Finally, she just jumped right into the deep end.
"Have you ever thought of weight loss surgery?"
I shook my head fiercely. "No way. Not doing that." If I could have jumped off the exam table, I would have grabbed my clothes and run like Hell.
"We have a fantastic team here at the hospital," she continued calmly.
"I can't!" I started to sweat and my already elevated blood pressure was probably spiking off the chart by this point.
"You'd be a perfect candidate to go through the process."
"I don't want to," I insisted.
"Why not? It would help save your life."
"Not if I don't survive the surgery!" I blurted out.
Dr. McCarty leaned back a little. "What?"
"The last time I had surgery, the anesthesiologist said I had a lot of problems with going under. He said it could be dangerous."
A few years earlier, I had a uterine ablation, a relatively minor procedure to help reduce heavy periods. However, my obesity and then-undiagnosed apnea caused complications while I was under and in my recovery.
First, the surgical team had to use more anesthesia to compensate for my body size. All of that fat not only requires more drugs to work properly, but it also holds onto it longer, making coming out of my surgical nap a bit of an issue. While I got to go home on the same day, the anesthesia "hangover " was brutal. It took days for me to get over feeling like an 18-wheeler repeatedly ran over me.
After that, I adopted a no-elective surgery rule. I believed the next time I went under the mask would be my last.
"This surgery could change your life," Dr. McCarty repeated.
"Not if I'm dead!"
One of the tears escaped and slid down my cheek. I will not cry! I will not cry, damn it!"
When I forced myself to look at her, I noticed her eyes showed compassion and even a little pity. The compassion I didn't mind. The pity, I secretly hated.
"Well, we need to figure something out," she said.
I'm Marie. I'm working toward a 200 lb. weight loss goal. I'm doing it with baby steps. Follow my journey here.