It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you…

Archive for March, 2014

3/24/2014…..

For most of my Facebook friends, today is a great day…..

Today is the premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens, Alexandra Lescaze’s documentary about weight loss surgery, “All of Me”.

While I haven’t been as fortunate to be able to preview it, like some of my social media buds, I do have a good idea of what it’s about. And because I exist on social media as a long term weight loss surgery peer AND as a size acceptance/fat acceptance advocate I find it super fascinating getting other’s opinions on it in both communities. And it is going to without a doubt, I’m sure give  good insight that probably will make sense of why I do the activism that I do. So I am super excited about it  and I’ll reserve opinions and share what I like and if there’s anything that I didn’t like in a forthcoming blog after I see it, tonight.

   What is a bigger deal to me, is that today is my daughter’s 11th birthday. Happy 11th Birthday, Zoe Arielle. You’ll have to read other blogs as my complex disabilities (primarily but not ALL) are due to my complications from my gastric bypass. While I exist in the weight loss surgery community as a peer for support but not by example, because I want that community to be supported and I have good insight that’s helpful.

The same could be said for what I provide in size acceptance, specifically as a Fat Acceptance Advocate. And I’ll admit, that I did shortly before my gastric bypass almost 12 1/2 years ago, went looking for support from a local NAAFA chapter. Members were NOT nice to me. Granted, I’m not an easy person to like. But other than saying “Hello” and it not being reciprocated, I have to at least open my mouth and actually say something for most not to like me ;). Truthfully, I’ve always carried the fact that I was the smallest person in the room as a prejudice and went on to have my gastric bypass because my thought at the time, was that I’d rather be hated for being really small than being fat. After being bullied for being fat my whole entire life.  Even though I didn’t actually believe that weight loss surgery would work on me because of my luck, not due to not wanting it to. And if I couldn’t find acceptance by fat peers, well then “fuck em” (I know better now in the era of social media that while I don’t get along with “militants” that the sa/fa community doesn’t have a weight requirement) .

Yikes!!!….. While never in my weight loss journey did I EVER think I was better than anyone, thin or FAT, my karma for the sentiment expressed above, I paid for dearly. As I ended up fat again and horribly sick. I had “only” a bmi of 40 at the time of my surgery and none of what’s considered the “traditional co-morbidities of Obesity”. While I was uncomfortable being fat, it was much more of mental health hazard , then it ever being of physical risk to me. 

  While all of us who have weight loss surgery have “journies” that are uniquely are own, mine is stranger than most. The fact that I mentally fell apart while still thin as I saw myself losing the most basic abilities when it came to caring for both myself and my children. I was Zachary and Zoe’s mother, FIRST and someone who lost weight and was going to be a bariatric specializing Certified Personal Trainer and small business owner, SECOND. However even in my most proactive days as a mother, by others at least, my relevance has been what I look like a woman (more blogs to come about this) and how much I weigh and how fat or thin (which I went all the way, and was a size 2/4 years that I was thin the last 3 1/2 years +, due to exercise. I was a size 9/10 the first 2 1/2 years status post gastric bypass). Because a lot of people need to know what I weight now as I got back up to a size 24 post complications, I’ve kept off about 1/3 of my excess weight. I’m just in awe that it has any relevance given what I’ve gone through. 

  Which both my in real life and digital universe keeps telling me that my relevance is based upon my weight, first and foremost.  Anything else positive or negative about me, is secondary. If I talk about my epic weight gain on psychotropics but still so physically sick pre gastric bypass reversal, people are either fascinated about my weight gain while being sick ( I managed to gain almost 100 of the 107 I lost, in 2 years) or discounting that I was sick BECAUSE of weight loss surgery complications (ulcers/gi bleeds , long term severe nutritional deficiencies, severe reactive hypoglycemia, pulmonary HYPOtension)  NOT because I was FAT AGAIN.

   The irony is not lost on me that the documentary “All of Me” will be discussed on the Huffington Post Live. The Huffington Post I have a love/ hate relationship. It has a lot of duality on what it brings forth but also what it takes us back as far as Women Issues. I.E
celebrity weight loss and weight gain. Stars who lose all their baby weight , 2 days post partum. Which women are fucked up enough about weight issues. They don’t need any help from the HuffPo,  imnsho.  I didn’t gain weight in either of my pregnancies due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum. While I was ACTUALLY envied AFTER Zoe’s birth (I was clinically obese so it wasn’t a concern and it should’ve been when I was pregnant with my son 22 years ago), because I fit in my size 9 fitted jeans within 36 hours of her birth it’s a horrible way not to gain weight which pregnancy is a crucial time, to. And the hyperemesis  probably played a part in my complex disabilities.

  However….I’d be less than forthcoming if I didn’t admit something though that I don’t talk about much. When I had one of many hospitalizations even at my heaviest but still so physically sick from multiple ulcers and years of severe nutritional deficiencies, I didn’t beg my bariatric surgeon to reverse me. 

 I begged him to REVISE me. Because if I was going to be that fucking sick and disabled, that I didn’t want to be fat again. Which he adamantly refused.

 It just happen to be, 3 hospitalizations in 2010, later, I needed an open gastric bypass reversal/takedown to save my life and help me have any chance of living what would still  be a small and NOT normal life. But I’d still be alive.  By then I’d lost 2/3 of my regain due to spending most of 2010 throwing up and if I was in the hospital not allowed to drink or eat anything. And by then I wasn’t willing to be revised and my surgeon still WOULD HAVE NOT revised me as my weight was NEVER a MEDICAL health issue.  Unfortunately a lot of my cognitive disabilities are getting worse. Even though it took a long time for my deficiencies to be on the low side of normal post reversal. What scares most weight loss surgery people about me the most, is the fact that I wasn’t the most non compliant weight loss surgery patient. Even though a lot would like to “blame” me. It’s not my bariatric surgeon’s fault either. He’s a brilliant surgeon and I had technically performed PERFECT gastric bypass. But it’s not my fault even though a lot of people in the weight loss surgery community will blame me for doing something major wrong. Because they don’t want to think that what could happen to ME, could actually happen to them.

   What I will be doing today is participating in the digital universe on the conversations about “All of Me”. From my unique perspective as someone who is supportive choice when it comes to weight loss and weight options, up to and including a surgical intervention. But also as size acceptance and fat acceptance advocate who wants to reiterate to the digital universe that I learned the hardest way possible, that being fat isn’t the worst thing to happen to me. Or others. While not projecting my issues without bias on the weight loss surgical community, which I’m very supportive of.

   At the same time, I don’t want my young daughter EVER to measure her worth based upon what she looks like. And how much she weighs. And that she never knows from bullying of any kind, like I did.  The irony is not lost on me that on a day that I should actively  be celebrating her birthday like I did with her older brother’s 11 th birthday (Zoe was 5 1/2 and Zachary was ALMOST 16 when they went to live with my parents), both at his school and with parties and I haven’t been able to do that for her for over her half of life now, and she’s finishing up her last year in school that I’ve never set foot in, is why all of this is really important to me and heartbreaking. And it will continue to fuel the activism that I’m so passionate about. Because I can’t do much else for my daughter.

That has more shame then failing at successfully being able to keep weight off…….And that’s how it should be…

  

 

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BEFORE and (with NO happily ever) AFTER….

  I’d been working on a couple of blogs at the same time (kinda scary with my scattered thought processes and horrible writing skills) this morning and had to leave suddenly for a medical appointment this morning,.

  When I checked in, the lady at the desk said “You look familiar?”. I kind of laughed inside, because I’ve been kind of a recluse in the last 18 months. I mentioned first that I’m a blogger but made a joke that she wouldn’t know me that way, because I don’t write well.

  Then I mentioned I used to live in the city of Plymouth. She said  “That’s where I know you from !!!  Parkside. How are your kids and how are you doing ??? They were SO cute and happy!!! ” It wasn’t her intention but I felt like I was sucker punched.

   I paused and said that they were great. But they didn’t live with me anymore as a result of my medical and mental health disabilities.  And then felt the need to explain the “what, where and why” they didn’t live with me anymore (which if you want to know, feel free and read other blogs about my weight loss surgery complications and apocalyptical breakdown). 

  I had then a medical test. When talking to the lady who was administrating the test about my past medical health history, weight got brought into the conversation and the lady asked me how much weight I lost, when hearing I had had weight loss surgery.

  The fact I had weight loss surgery comes up in conversations a lot, online. Because of the nature of the activism I do. Not so much in the little “offline” life that I have. I don’t have a positive and inspiring story to share. There’s no amazing “before and after”.  Anything I accomplished was before the era of social networking, the 6 1/2 years that I kept my weight off. My gastric bypass was over 12 years ago, the reversal of my gastric bypass was over 3 1/2 years ago.

  She did the test and then we resumed talking about weight issues. I did tell her about my complications and my need for my gastric bypass to be reversed. She was surprised to hear that I’d be anything but negative regarding weight loss surgery. Which I’m not. Then I went to explain that I exist on social media both as a long term weight loss surgery peer because people do disappear when they have major regain and/ or complications people disappear from the weight loss surgery community and are left with a lack of support. Weight loss surgery does work well for people. Just not for everyone. But I support my fellow weight loss surgery peers when their experiences are optimal to catastrophic. But it would be totally unfair to the bariatric surgical community as my complications are not normal, just to talk about the bad. But I also had mentioned that I was in size acceptance, too.

    She meant well but unfortunately for her as I we were saying goodbye, she congratulated me on my weight loss.

   Now it’s highly unlikely she’s ever going to read my blog. She was well intentioned with that sentiment. But as I explained to the lady before her when I checked in (which she heard some of our conversation about my kids). So I went on to explain about the fact I’m also in size acceptance and specifically, a fat acceptance advocate. I wasn’t mean about it. That the fact that I could not raise my kids, anymore was a lot worse than being fat. That I also missed working and  having the ability to drive a car. That if I could gain that back (which I did and have lost some) and be the same size I was before my gastric bypass with the abilities I had going into it, I would.  

  What is more shocking to me, when I have to talk about regain and complications after weight loss surgery and life post apocalyptic breakdown is that my weight or weight loss surgery “journey” SUPERCEDES anything else about me. Which most things about me are unusual. Unless you know a support group for medically, mentally and cognitively complex disabled mothers who had a gastric bypass, didn’t know they had mental health issues, lost their ability to raise their kids and tried to commit suicide and then nearly died of weight loss surgery complications and  lives a small life?????

  But the point I’m trying to make is that, while I understand for my fellow weight loss surgery peers that their weight can negatively impact their health and their lives it’s not the same story for EVERY fat person. Hence why I exist in BOTH communities. There’s a lot worse things than being fat. But that’s all we seem to be able to talk about in society is fat and food. That I’m having trouble getting over as far as life digitally as well as “in real life”.

  But please don’t misunderstand me, everyone has their heartaches and struggles in life. I know this. Not everything is weight related (someone might want to mention that on the media)  We all are unique. So our are life stories. It’s just hard to feel a connection with anyone, given my unique circumstances. Most people who are disabled to the degree that I am, mentally and cognitively don’t know what they’ve lost.  

  This is the blog that I’ve wanted to write because I’ve been so depressed, lately about my kids. It’s actually something that never goes away. I’m in continual mourning for my inability to retain memories and create new memories with the cognitive damage and not to have the ability to raise my kids properly. And you have to have the former to be able to do the latter properly. PERIOD. I get that most people who are sick as I am, have to be in some kind of assisted care living situation (been there, done that, never again). I’m lucky I can have kids and that my kids are doing great. Everyone I love the most is still alive. I should be happy, right?

    My daughter is going to be 11 on Monday. While there is so many memories that are lost. That I never had the opportunity to create. That she hasn’t been living with me for OVER half her life now and she has no memory of me as anything but a “sick mommy”. That I can’t fix things for my family or make it right. That hopefully the best I can do is honor my family by sharing what happened to us, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.   

   So there is so much more backstory. But I don’t want to knock anyone in a coma from reading this. But I’ll leave you with this. IF you are dumb enough to ask me if I’d have weight loss surgery again, I’d tell you without a doubt, NO. If you ask me though, do I regret having weight loss surgery, the answer would be NO, as well.

  But I’d also tell anyone who’d listen that I want my ability to be an active mother and be able to have control over my memory. That’s all I really have to say and is the foundation of my existence even though I can’t get that back. But I can celebrate that I have some memories of the almost 16 years I was in my children’s life full time. They were the happiest years of my life. And other people could see that we were happy, too. But what counts the most is what my kids think and remember me, of. And they do remember the happy times, not just the sad ones…And that they know I love them and they love me, too. That’s going to have to be enough.

If anything I want to impart as a blog and activist is do things that are meaningful while you can. And cherish that ability.  You may not be guaranteed  that ability, tomorrow. Even though you may live through it.

   Happy 11th Birthday, Zoe Arielle on 3-24!!!!….Mommy LOVES you and Zachary more than you’ll ever know !!!!….

     

 

(The When, What and WHY) You Can’t Give People What They Need…….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Rcg8vvFKVY

No copyright infringement, intended.

Disclaimer: Anything I say (as well as anyone else on the internet) should never be taken in lieu of in offline evaluation, treatment and supervision of any medical or mental health issue or crisis. If you or anyone you love is in crisis, please call 911 or seek medical or mental health treatment immediately in acute care facility.

  It’s been hard lately for me to watch or see the news. So much bad happens on a daily basis. While a lot of good happens and social media is an outlet for people to express themselves in triumphs and tragedies, it’s a very mixed blessing and also a curse. As everyone has an opinion and sometimes it does a lot of harm, the opinions that we all are able to so freely and easily express.

  One of my primary goals as a medical and mental health activist and advocate is to dispel if not eradicate, stigma. While I’m not a clinically trained professional, being honest about what my mindset was when I tried to commit suicide over 5 1/2 years ago, has helped other people. Whether it’s people who’ve been suicidal themselves, parents and children who’ve lost their loved ones to mental health issues or have had their lives altered in a fundamental way by having someone they love with moderate to severe mental illness. Because my mental health issues effected negatively post suicide attempt, of how I was treated when in medical crisis has also helped others. But there is multiple reasons I’m an activist and advocate. This just goes into some of the reasons, why.

   I’ve been nothing short of horrified, of how we as a society, both in social media and online as well as offline, is still stigmatized by mental health issues. Whether it’s suicide, chemical dependency, hoarding, eating disorders/body dysmorphia/weight and self acceptance issues, as well as many other things.

  Sadly, it took the designer L’Wren Scott’s tragic death, yesterday and her boyfriend, Mick Jagger’s comments, today, to make sense of what my purpose is and a fundamental truth about ANY mental illness, addiction, or life circumstances that end in tragedy. Or that effects people’s medical and mental health well being in an adverse way if they still are alive. In a more of a concise fashion (which due to my cognitive disabilities, I Iack the ability to think and express myself in a logical sequence of order, concisely and I no longer can write intelligently, even though I’m capable of some intelligent thought) then I’m known for because of that.

  Mick Jagger wrote a beautiful tribute to L’Wren on his Facebook page, today regarding his relationship with her and the woman she was and the legacy of who she was.

  Sadly a song that the Rolling Stones recorded and that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote, before I was even born (I’m almost 44 1/2)  you can find one of the fundamental truths in mental illness. Even if the song was not meant to be interpreted this way. If you believe the following….

 ” You can’t always get what you want, you can’t always get what you want, you can’t always get what you want, you can’t always get what you want,  but if try sometimes, well you might find, you get what you need”
The Rolling Stones 1968/69 ” You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

  The factor here is barriers in people being able to rationally know what they want and what they need that won’t harm themselves or others  and their barriers in any have any ability in the time of crisis to act in their best interest of themselves and/or others without horrific consequences on the ones they love the most. Sadly those of us who have this, we don’t love ourselves, we can’t see those who love us and sometimes we can’t see the help that is there, or sometimes there is no helping hand and people suffer and (sometimes) die (or believe) in horrifically painful solitude in horrible ways. 

  But we are human beings, it’s not as simple as I’ve stated above. It’s quite multi-faceted and complex. Mental Illness encompasses a lot of unhealthy behaviors, actions and has consequences to different degrees on every single one of us, to some degree. No one can say that they haven’t experienced to a degree some kind of mental health duress or affliction or have not been negatively affected by it. No matter what your color, race, gender, age, weight, religion, education and socio-economic level, unfortunately mental health issues, whether they are minor or huge in magnitude, effects, each and every one of us.

  Why then is there still a stigma attached to it? Why isn’t there more resources for evaluation, treatment/supervision and other resources in place? How many more people have to die because of this? And why because of the internet and social media do we sensationalize people’s tragedies and then forget about them, so easily? People do not choose addiction and other forms of mental health issues that lead to tragedy or a barrier from being able to freely enjoy their lives.

  While I do personally struggle with my own mis-actions as a result of my mental health issues that affected my loved ones, adversely when I tried to commit suicide, 5 1/2 years ago, at the time that was because of my barriers and my irrational thoughts and behaviors. I wouldn’t have chosen this for myself or my loved ones. At that time, I really believed that I was worthless, I was in so much physical and emotional pain and I was irrationally convinced that everyone I loved was better off without me. That was my irrational side talking. I know this now, sadly though I did NOT know this in Summer of 2008. I was not trying to be selfish or punish those I love the most. I can tell you this NOW. I could not tell you this, THEN. Or the 2 years prior to that with my children when I was in a disassociative state. While I can’t speak for everyone who’s tried to commit suicide, I think my reasons are more common for suicidality and have root in those who are fighting addiction issues and lose their battle. I can’t speak for those who commit homicide then suicide, because I luckily was able to understand how precious life was at least to those who I love and anyone else. I just couldn’t find the value of my own life.

 Things are ONLY going to get worse, not better, until we can talk freely with the eradication of stigma and judgment about mental health issues and have the appropriate resources in place. And become a society that works harder to try to find empathy instead of judgment and hate.

  For those of you who’ve lost loved ones and for those who lost their battle with mental health, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Especially L’Wren Scott and Mick Jagger where her death sadly, was a catalyst for this blog. While I’ve had unfortunately in their deaths been motivated as an activist, such as with life and death of  Zach Sobiech, who inspired me and has made me a better  activist in what I do best which is mental health. His battle with osteo-sarcoma as tragic that he lost his life to childhood cancer, please keep in mind, that mental health issues sometimes are, in my opinion, an “emotional cancer”. Not trying to offend those who lost loved ones due to diseases of strictly physiological origin, just trying to say that NO ONE really chooses to a die an untimely, medical and mentally devasting death. Whether it has psychiatric origins or NOT.

  R.I.P L’Wren …..

Some resources regarding Suicide Prevention (and people in crisis or those who love them)
www.nami.org
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/
www.211.org
www.211us.org
www.samhsa.gov/
www.save.org
http://bornthiswayfoundation.org/help http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres
http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

  

 

http://www.befrienders.org
http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/North_America/

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