Supportively Yours….Me

So, I think one of the biggest factors behind our success at any weightloss, much less weightloss surgery, is the support we receive.  I know that this support is something that may come few and far between for bariatric patients such.  Even now, there seems to be a negative stigma around weightloss surgery.  Are we cheating?  Are we failures because we could not do this on our own?  Are we taking the easy way out?  Anyone who has ever had weightloss surgery knows that these assumptions are far from the truth, but its too bad that people still have those negative ideas about WLS.

One of the biggest things for me that has added to my success are the supportive people around me.  I chose to tell family and friends early on in my journey – back when I was still just *thinking* about having surgery.  I did, however, keep it to a select few at that point, those I knew that would be supportive – my husband, my mother.  When I did make the decision to pursue surgery, I opened up to more family members and friends.

I knew I was really set on it when I told my boss and co-workers.  I had to explain why I would be having frequent absences (testing) and why I’d be out in November.

I was really quite lucky though.  Everyone I told was 100% supportive of my decision.  My husband most of all…although he was hesitant at first, until he was able to speak to his cousin last year.  Darrel, who I’ve mentioned a few times, had bariatric surgery about five or six years ago (Darrel’s surgeon is the guy who invented the Full Bar).  Darrel had some surgical complications and my husband was quite nervous knowing about Darrel’s complications.  Darrel talked him through it though, and afterwards, when my husband discovered that I’d be able to lose my co-morbidities, he was 110% supportive of my decision.

So, who do I tell outside of family and co-workers?  Well, my best friend.  She’s been there for me literally since we were 14 years old.  And immediately she was 100% supportive.

But being supportive doesn’t always equate with support.  What is most important about bariatric surgery is finding those who are going through the same thing.  There for the grace of God go I, so to speak. 

I was lucky enough to have found an incredible amount of support from friends and family who have already had surgery.  I was also lucky enough to have access to the internet, where I found my wonderful circle through ObesityHelp.com.  This fantastic group of women (and one very wonderful man) have become my backbone over the past year.  Seriously.  I can talk about my surgery until I’m blue in the face with family and friends, but if you have not been there, well, you just don’t get it.  This group of folks have been there done that.  I see their success and failure.  I can talk to these folks about what in the heck is going on with my body.  I can talk to them about the things I struggle with, about my diet, body image.  I can talk to them about relationships and how the ones I am in have changed for me since sugery (and they have).  I can celebrate, vent, bitch, moan, do happy dances, and text them at 7am when I sit on an airplane seat and pull the seatbelt tight.  I can squee when I cross my legs and bitch when I look at the extra skin I have looks like a wet sharpei.  And they get it.  They understand.  It’s more than empathy – it’s, Oh hells yeah, I’ve been there.

Another strong place I’ve gotten support is the blogs of women who are going through the same thing, and this blog here.  I can share here, and those who follow me, well, they get it.  That is just so important.  To have someone get it.

I urge anyone who is considering bariatric surgery, or who has just had surgery, to put together a strong support system.  Without it, you are missing a big huge piece of the puzzle.  Find a support group through your surgeon, online, in your area, a therapist, a family member, whatever you need.  If you come here, send me a comment – I’ll be your support.

Success at weightloss surgery is so much more than following your sugeon’s orders.  So. Much. More.  We have all this stuff going on inside of us and we need to understand it.  We need to figure it out.  We need to be able to talk about it – the surgery, the emotions, the questions, the celebrations and the failures – with someone who understands.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Christie
    May 26, 2010 @ 04:35:22

    This is so true! I too have been very lucky that all of my family and friends have been really supportive. I’ve also found a lot of support on the Vertical Sleeve Talk forums. Especially since the sleeve is new and a lot of people haven’t even heard of it, it’s so nice to have a concentration of people who are going through this surgery.

    Reply

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