Lately, I’ve been having a lot of thoughts and feelings – either driven by this decision or influenced by this decision. The hardest part of this process so far has been not having anyone to talk to about what I’m going through. The people that know about what I’m going through is limited – my parents, a coworker back home who had Lapband and one of my friends. Even with having these 4 people – I feel like I don’t have anyone I can really talk to about issues I’m dealing with. My dad has never been one to talk to me – about anything – and there’s only so much I want to talk about with my mom. The co-worker is back home is engaged and one I’d feel guilty about tying her up for hours to talk to about this. And finally, my best friend knows – at first he didn’t agree, but he’s come around to support my decision. Problem being – he is involved in everything and like me is a busy college student which doesn’t leave him with time to chat with me when I need. He’s the kind of guy who will reply to a text three days later – my best friend and I love him, but he’s not the kind of person who is going to be there for me when I need to chat. Because of this lately I’ve been bottling a lot of these thoughts and feelings up inside and it’s starting to eat away at me. I’ve been debating if I should tell another friend – I’ve got two incredibly close friends who have always been there to listen to me when I needed it and provide guidance when necessary – even if it was the same thing over and over again. I’ve been debating telling one of them, but I have this incredible fear of doing so. A couple things I’d like to talk about here are how I told the people who do know and what stops us from telling other people.
How I Told the People Who Know
My friend from work was the first one who know – because when she told me that she had had Lapband about the same time I had been looking into it. From there it just came automatically that I started asking her about everything and talking to her about it. That one was the easiest. There was no judgment or questions from someone who knew me and had it done on herself. The other ones were not as easy. I had texted my mom asking if she would go to a seminar about Lapband while I was at work from with the support of my friend. She wouldn’t even hear of it. I kept pushing to just have her go to an info session with me – nothing with regards to actually seeing a surgeon. After a couple weeks she broke and said she’d go with me. Problem was that by this time there were no seminars before I was to leave the country for 2 months. I instead set up a one on one meeting with the bariatric coordinator to go over the same information and she set me up to see a surgeon directly after that meeting. It was a four hour adventure that you can read about in The Journey Begins. This was when I think my mother realized I actually intended to do this and that even if she didn’t want me to I was going to anyways. Since then, she has fully come around to the sleeve (since I switched from my initial plan) and has even dropped hints that she’s been thinking about it too. My father found out through my mother and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever actually said anything about the surgery to him. He knows I’m doing it, but there has been no conversation about it with my father.
Finally, we have my best friend Jeff. I don’t remember exactly how it went down, but something happened that prevented me from doing something because of my weight. I was talking to him about how I had worked my butt off all summer for 9lbs which did nothing to change anything. Eventually, I said that I thought it was time I look into other options. Because he knew me so well, he knew this meant I was probably already well into the research and started to ask me about it. Once I went in for a surgical consult, I told him and he ended up taking me out to dinner to talk about it. I have to admit that it was odd sitting there talking to a friend about it. I noticed myself trying to say as little as possible because I was in a public place. I feel this is the first time that it sank in that I would soon be leading a sort of double life where most of my friends had no idea what was going on in my life. I realized how afraid I was that people would judge me. Jeff wasn’t fond of my decision to switch from Lapband to sleeve, but being the best friend that he is came around to support me with whatever decision I decided to make.
What Stops Us from Telling Other People
Let’s face it. There are tons of reasons why you might not want to tell people you are having weight loss surgery. I’ve run into a few. First of all, I don’t want anyone besides those I tell to know and let’s face it – word spreads when you don’t want it to. It horrible to say yeah, I’m considering telling my 2 best friends, but what’s stopping me is not wanting it to spread. Don’t you trust them? Of course I do! It’s not an issue of trust as much as it is an issue of oh shit, did that just slip out of my mouth. I fully trust that if I told them I wouldn’t want them to tell anyone that they wouldn’t – what they have no control over is what I fear more. One slip and soon everyone in your life knows. And why would that be so bad? Well, here are a few reasons. There are so many stigmas against fat people and even more about those who have WLS. Weight loss surgery is usually viewed from outsiders as the easy way out. They have no understanding of what you go through when you have WLS. Those who do not make the necessary life style changes do not lose weight or initially lose it and then gain it right back. WLS is not a cure, it is a tool, but people on the outside who hear you are having this will know none of it. To them, your lazy ass got yourself to where you are and now yet again you are taking the lazy road out. Also, those who are close to you might not support you in the journey out of fear of what might happen to you. I keep telling my one friend that I want to tell him what’s going on, because he is fully aware that something has been going on recently, but fear of him not supporting me is holding me back. What happens if I tell him and he doesn’t support me? Do I really want to have a friend know but not be behind me supporting me? Do I want to have to listen to why I shouldn’t do this? Do I want to listen to the stigmas or misconceptions he has against it? Honestly, I would probably tell him if I knew for a fact that he would support me, but how do you know that unless you tell him what’s going on? I think the biggest hurtle here is having the people you are telling updated on what bariatric surgery is today. Ten years ago, bariatric surgery was much different than it is today. Not only are there safer methods available such as banding or sleeve (over bypass), but bariatric surgery has become an industry. There are standards and regulations, much more data, safer practices, and the number of surgeries a surgeon performs are much higher today making them more skilled at what they do. Most people still view WLS the way it was 10 years ago – a last ditch effort for patients that were already gone. All of these sorts of things make it difficult to tell other people what you’re going through.
The Great Debate
I am currently at a place where I wish I had close friends to talk to about this or at least knew what I was going through. There are so many times I just wish I could have someone there to listen, but at the same time I just can’t get myself to tell them what I’m about to do. I’ve been struggling with this for about a month – wanting to tell people, but not being able to. It is something that may come with time, but for now, this is one for the blog.