So, after a lot of research and waiting, and doctor appointments I have finally had my surgery. I had been planning to start writing about it the process right away before I even went through my initial visit, but I suppose I can fill you in on the time leading up to the actual surgery in past tense, and then continue to write post surgery in present.
So the beginning of my story goes like this -
I haven't always been overweight, but I've almost always assumed that I was. I remember that as a very little girl - as in under six - I was tall for my age and my mom had trouble finding pants that were small enough for me. I was skinny and boney. At some point, that stopped being the case however, because my first recollection of being called fat was in 2nd grade. Jamie Weigle - a mean and dirty boy in my class was sitting on the floor behind me at a puppet show in the school library and I'm not really sure what his exact words were, but it had something to do with my being fat. It was at that moment of hurt, that I first became conscious of my body, and how it was different from other girls.
To be fair, at that point, I really wasn't chubby. I was just tall. Looking back at class photographs, I can see why I felt huge. I was bigger than most of my female classmates both in size and in personality. I wasn't sweet, nor was I gentle. And I wasn't blond. Coming from a small town in northern Minnesota, I can say that my reddish brown hair and dark eyebrows made me one of the swarthiest in my elementary school.
On top of that, weight and weight loss was a favorite topic of discussion among almost all of the adult women I knew. My mother was overweight and had three sisters - all of whom were overweight. My father was a not overweight only by sheer willpower, and also had three sisters - all of whom were overweight. Every lunch date, coffee time, thanksgiving, or family barbecue was garaunteed to feature at least some conversation about who was on which diet and who had lost how much weight, or gained how much weight. And never was there a gathering that didn't include baked goods disappearing off a plate with the words "I shouldn't, but..." slipping from the lips of the taker.
My father of the afore mentioned willpower was a man who had worked very hard to gain contol of all aspects of his life. He spoke softly and specifically. He had impeccable grammar, and he alphabetized the soups in the pantry. This was a man who started smoking around the time he was 15, and smoked four packs of cigarettes a day. Until one afternoon, after coughing so hard on the golf course he fell down he decided not to be a smoker anymore. He proceeded to go home and smoke the rest of the cigarettes in his carton. After that he never touched another cigarette. He did lose control of his weight once, and was sort of portly for about 2 months. Then he stopped eating more than one meal a day and slimmed back down. Eventually, by the time I was in high school he started having a sandwich for lunch. But only a sandwich. Never a candybar. Never an icecream cone. He allowed him self one blueberry shake from Dairy Queen a year. He could not and did not want to understand why my mother couldn't get her weight under control.
This was the way I grew up. I had coffee with my mother and aunts listening to them talk about weightwatchers and Jane Fonda while eating one more piece of chocolate cake. And I listened my fathers voice, full of venom, talking about how many spoonfuls of sugar his sister Jeanette had put on her lefse at Christmas dinner. I learned how to eat an entire icecream cone from McDonalds in the span of time it took my mother to drive the mile and a half back to our house on the way home from the grocery store. I learned how to tiptoe softly into the kitchen and lift the lid of the cookie jar just so and quietly replace it after taking a cookie, without making one scrape or chime of pottery hitting pottery. I learned that women were not attractive unless they were small and fragile, and that I was neither.
By the time I was 15, I was so in control of my eating that I had lost all of my baby weight. I was still a bit larger than most, but not noticeably so - except to me of course. I spent most of my time and energy accomplishing the things that good highschool students do. I was in band, drama, 4-H, Students Against Drunk Driving, a magnet art school program that meant I had one extra hour of school a day, national honor society, and forensics. I graduated 32nd in my class. Not too shabby over all. Not validictorian by any means, but not bad. I ate supper with my parents like a good family should, but I didn't eat much. My lunches consisted of a cup of soup, and my breakfasts were non-existent. If I did break down and get a McChicken sandwich from the drivethrough on the way to pep-band, I planned my next two days food intake to shrink my stomach capacity again, and make up for the calories. I also had recurring bouts with mononucleosis that began when I was in 8th grade and continued into my freshman year of college. I was as small as I could get, I was fragile, and I was beautiful.