Sunday, July 13, 2014

WLS and Reality TV

I was having a bad tummy day yesterday. I have found that sometimes a specific food is just fine and other days it is the kiss of death.  There is no predicting and that is extremely frustrating.  Yesterday I had a mini bagel from our local bagel shop.  In the past it has not been a problem.  It was toasted (which helps with any bread products) and I had light cream cheese- about 2 T.  It is something I do maybe once a month as focusing on protein is the number one thing for use WLS folks.  To compare- during the week I have a Chike Iced Coffee protein shake (20g protein, 2 shots expresso, 2g sugar).  I love it and it is a great way to jumpstart my day.  I make it in the bullet blender with some ice-which makes it a little foamy/whipped, more like a late, and it does not need any extra anything.  Sometimes I add some SF caramel syrup which is a nice treat and change of pace.  Ok, so all that said, a bagel is a treat and yesterday it was a treat gone bad.

When something is going to go wrong, it takes about 3 hours for things to "turn".  We ate at about 1030 and by 1 I knew it was going to be a bad day.  Sometimes you can tell right away if things are not sitting right- and not to be graphic, but come on, I have talked about BMs in my blog, purging it is the best thing to do.  The solid is hurting and having such a tiny tummy means what ever I ate if causing physical pain.  It had been too long though and there was not much I could do.

I don't know how to really explain what the pain is like.  For me, it is located on the left side, just below the bottom of my ribs.  It feels like a cramp but you can stretch it out.  I can't really lay down- laying on my left side being the most comfortable of any option - but laying on my back is the most painful.  There have been two times when the only thing I could do was just sit in my chair and wait it out.  It can take hours.  It is exhausting.

Yesterday, this little bagel was the bane of my existence.  I slept a bit, I tried some water, later in the afternoon I had some mint tea that helped.  I was beginning to feel better.  I was distracting myself with some TV watching and came across My 600-lb Life on TLC .  It is about folks living at 600 lbs+ who decide to have WLS, I would say in all cases to save their lives.  I watched the episode about James, a man who was 728 lbs. who had two other family members who had died from weight related illness/co-morbidities (his father and sister-if ever there was an argument for genetics and obesity, this was it).  The problem with the show is that they leave out so much- I had so many questions about how he was being educated, found myself horrified when they showed him going through the drive through and gorging himself on greasy fast food in his car (the eating in secret that I was so familiar with) and it made my stomach hurt and my heart hurt.  I turned to Charlie, who had joined me at that point, "He is not doing the head work. How is he going to do this if he doesn't do the head work?"  I know I say it all the time but the mental heath part of this is AS IMPORTANT as the physical health.  I have been in regular therapy for over 5 years (thank you Aetna for amazing coverage) and the last year I see my LCSW 2x a week-one double and one single session.  My therapist has been essential to my journey and I know will continue to be.

Like many shows on TLC they highlight the different and the curious- the extremes-that many of us are so curious about. We can cheer for the success of people like James but I found it more frustrating than anything to was left with so many questions about his care and journey.  I hope that he is continuing to lose and is closer to his goal.  I hope that he has begun to address the mental part of his relationship with food.

I continue to be proud that I didn't have to get to 600+ lbs to decide to have surgery. I wish I had not reached 386 lbs. and the pictures feel painful sometimes to see and to remember. Some days are better than others. The picture on the right is from this week- I am in an 18 skirt and I am still shocked that this is me.  I also bought a pair of skinny jeans, levis that FIT.  I had not wanted to even try them on when I took them out of the box- they looked too small.  They were not.  In fact, they are a little baggy on my thighs (and tight on my calves- but I guess that is the point of skinny jeans).

1x (7/11/14)
I also picked up a dress- a 1x.  After removing the ruffle that had been around the neckline, I am happier with the dress.  It feels good to wear dresses and to not feel so crestfallen when I try something on.
28/30 (Aug. '13)

I know this is a process and I have worked to be open, reflective and transparent here in my writing.  For those of us that like the voyeur quality of reality TV, take it at face value and know that you are never getting all the facts.  It is sensationalizing an experience and there is no way they could show us everything in 60 minutes.  I hope that folks like James are happy with their choice and continue to find success in their WLS journey.  It is extremely difficult and being followed by a camera crew would be an added component that would challenge even the most determined of WLS patients.  

I am glad I did this on my terms, my way.

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