“My surgeon does a class for his pre-op patients. And the patient featured in the presentation, is me.

before and after weight loss surgery

These aren’t the typical before and after weight loss surgery pics. The pictures include me on a gurney wearing compression stockings, and the day after surgery walking the halls with my IV pole, hair in a bun, and no makeup. I offered the pictures so patients would have a clear image of the pre and post-op realities.

A couple weeks ago I went to his pre-op class to answer,

“What is before and after weight loss surgery really like

And it never fails.  I’m sitting there, fully engaged while my surgeon’s explaining the intricacies of a gastric bypass when all of a sudden BAM!

My picture pops up.

I sit there surprised while quietly responding to the patients seated around me, “Yes, that’s me.” And it’s not that I’m surprised my picture’s being shown to 60 people, I’m surprised that the morbidly obese woman smiling in the pictures is me.

But she is me.
And I am her.

Maybe you have the same photo story as mine. There aren’t many pictures of me. I was always behind the camera capturing the memories.  At one point I remember thinking, “if something happened to me today my kids wouldn’t have any pictures to remember me!” After that I jumped into a few photos, but still not many.

Back to ME on my surgeon’s big screen.

When I look up and see myself, I don’t feel embarrassed, angry, or even sad anymore. Now I feel love and gratitude.  I’m grateful for where I am today with my health, but I’m also grateful for every experience in the journey that’s led me here.

Before and after weight loss surgery.

I respect the Mary in the pictures.  She struggled so much.  She was in serious physical and emotional pain.  But she also had incredible courage and determination.

I believe it’s important to look back at ourselves before surgery and respect that person just as much as we do the person we are today, after surgery.

So often patients tell me their before-self was lazy, had no willpower, or was a failure.  But we need to honor our before-selves.

Your before-self had the tenacity to investigate weight loss surgery, the determination to work through insurance authorizations, pre-op tests and specialist consultations. The boldness to ignore the naysayers, and the courage to show up on the day of surgery committed to permanently changing the way you eat and drink for the rest of your life!

So really, your before-self was pretty BAD ASS!
(I was going to type BRAVE, but this is more what I’m really feeling so it’ll stay!)

It’s all about the journey, every step of it.
Appreciate it all.
Honor it all.
Be grateful for it all.
Before and after weight loss surgery.

Love, light and peace to you.

Written October, 2012, 18 months after surgery.