“Erin,” I could hear them saying, “Erin, wake up.”
There is a funny thing about having surgery, you don’t want to wake up from the best nap in your life. You don’t want to wake up and there be someone sitting there and telling you that something went wrong. You don’t want to hear that things are possibly worse, that they found something wrong, that they couldn’t save you.
Yes, I worry that I am gonna wake up and find out that I am dead.
As I sit here and write this, I am on pain pills and laying in bed. Too tired to move and knowing that I need to start moving. My body is sore, covered in bruises, and all I am focused on is the 17 oz of water that I need to make myself consume.
Drinking water is hard.
June 24th, I checked myself into NYU to have what most would consider an elective surgery. I didn’t. I considered what I was doing to be a matter of life and death.
You’re taking the easy way out, people had said to me.
You’re being lazy, join a gym, people had felt the need to tell me.
You need to accept the way that you are, people had commented.
But I woke up from that surgery a different person. sure, I woke up to a crap ton of pain, feeling drugged and weak, and wanting to fall right back asleep, but I had already conquered one fear – getting here.
Telling my story isn’t something easy, because vulnerability is not my strong suit. I also don’t want to hear the negative, when I feel like I am setting myself up for the positive in my life.
But, I digress.
After getting there – completing surgery, I was ready to conquer the next thing – living with it.
I decided to have weight loss surgery because I was in chronic pain. Being 360 pounds (and yes, I was at that point when this all started last September) can do that to a person though. Your back constantly hurting, chronic hip pain, shoulders that hurt, ankles that swelled.
I wasn’t living my life.
I was existing.
Ever since I can remember, I have always been fat. My body was consumed by what I jokingly called “insulation.” Only that blubber, that shit that made me unable to fit into an airplane seat. That blubber made me uncomfortable at sports games. That blubber made me unable to go to certain concerts. That blubber made me unable to ride rides at amusement parks.
I didn’t want to be that anymore.
I have done it all – hired trainers, ate a cabbage diet, joined every meal delivery service I could, worked out every day – you name it, I had done it.
But my body just kept getting bigger and bigger with a side of more health problems. I knew that I was killing myself. I knew that waking up with chronic pain and having gallstones the size of golf balls was just the beginning.
I knew my depression was only going to get worse. Getting out of bed was becoming a struggle. I cried myself to sleep. Mentally and physically I was going through too much.
So I made a choice to deal with both aspects of it – the mental and physical.
Weight loss surgery was dealing with the physical. The Gastric Sleeve. I made a choice because at my heaviest, I had reached 360 pounds. What was the moment that I really knew it was something that I needed to consider?
The moment I got my heart broken. I had been in love, so wildly head over heels, that I didn’t see left from right. I didn’t see how shitty he treated me. I didn’t see that at every turn he was toxic to have in my life. But I realized that it didn’t hurt because I had pushed someone that I loved out of my life – I realized it hurt, cause my body just really hurt.
See, it wasn’t my feelings that were hurting (I mean they were, but not like I thought they would), but since I had so long neglected myself, that I didn’t realize just how sick I was. I didn’t realize how much I was spending at the doctor. I didn’t realize how much I was spending on medications. I didn’t realize just how much pain I was in.
But I was.
I sometimes think that one of the hardest moments in anyones life is when they have to learn to go ahead and put themselves first. I sincerely suck at it. I never understood what would be special about me, so why put effort into me. But last October, I sat on the floor in my room and cried.
Because I was breaking.
I can tell you how I got fat. I used food as control. I used food as a way to come to terms with my feelings. I used food to feel loved. I had lived a pretty shitty life and I had used it as the excuse for so long. I was fine, I would tell myself, because I could walk from Point A to Point B. I had friends. I had a successful career.
But I was never looking at all the things that were wrong with me.
1 Kidney. Bad back. Bad hips. Bad knees. Breast Issues. Chronic Pain. Chronic Respiratory issues. High Cholesterol.
I was killing myself.
And as sat there and cried, I knew I had to do something. I knew that nothing should hold me back. But I also knew I was afraid.
Who was I, if I wasn’t the angry fat girl?
Truth be told, I didn’t know. I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t able to hide behind my insecurities. I didn’t know who I was if I had to just be me. That’s a sad thing. A sad moment to realize.
I didn’t know who was truly my friend. I would give my life for those that mattered to me, but I didn’t feel like I mattered to anyone else. I became very angry, quickly, but then became calm.
Because if I didn’t care about myself, why should I expect anyone to care about me? I sat there for a long time, trying to decide what to do. So, I went to my doctor and we had a long talk the next day. I started taking my road to weight loss surgery more seriously. I researched everything I could get my hands on. I knew it was the right road for me.
It was not taking the easy road out.
I was committing to a new life style that maybe I wasn’t ready for, but I knew that I needed. I was never going to be able to eat a huge meal again. I was giving up drinking through a straw. I was giving up sugar.
I was making a commitment.
I was going to have to put myself first.
On June 24th, I checked myself into NYU Langone, for surgery. Gastric Sleeve. I was checking into the hospital at 317 pounds. When I started this journey I was at 360.
That 360, I am not proud of. That 317 I am. Because I worked hard to get there. And you can damn well bet, I will be proud of every pound I loose, because this battle is so hard, but so worth it.
It’s not about being skinny.
It’s about not being in pain.
It’s about my health.
And I am scared. I am petrified of what is going to happen. I am scared of how hard it is going to be, but I am going to get there. Every day is a battle. And I’ve been through so many. From a shitty childhood, to abuse, and everything that has happened in between – and it got me to where I was, now I have to get myself to where I want to be.
From time to time, I will be writing about my weight loss journey on here. Partly because I was going to do a separate blog, and it became to much, partly because I need accountability, and partly because I just want to share my journey – because I want someone else out there to know there are not alone.