Do you ever over-explain yourself because you feel like people don’t get it or get you? It’s true, though. I see the look on some people’s faces and I think to myself, “This person doesn’t get it and if they do they are as blank as an unwritten check.” There are emotions in me I can’t explain and I’m afraid that if I try too, I’ll cause more question but if I don’t, people won’t understand me and I think it’s human nature to want to be understood, right? Then there’s the “real Tonia” that could give two thoughts on if you understood or not. Push. Pull. Who the fuck am I. That’s not really a question.
I’ve tried to think about why I feel this push/pull feeling and I believe it comes from my need to people-please. Right before I started my weight loss journey in 2015, I became the person I felt I truly was deep inside. The real Tonia. Then, I gained back my weight and I trapped her. I shut her up with a burger and milkshake because honesty she scares me a bit. I become afraid that she’s too outrageous, too straightforward, and most times too uncaring. I’ve shocked myself at some of the shit that comes out of that mouth on the fly – without apology. When that fight between the “real Tonia” and “fat Tonia” starts, exhaustion takes over and depression sets in and well, some of you know how that goes. I do believe that depression is the only consistent “thing” in my life.
The one thing I never want to do is to become so consistently inconsistent that I harm those I love the most and cause them to lose faith in me. That they would think what I say and do are excuses to avoid THEM. Now in my 40s, I’ve finally found people that are real and to jeopardize that would be heartbreaking. Perhaps the one consistency is that I continue to work on moving forward. That I find importance in continuing to work on my journey, working towards bettering myself, understanding my depression and simply being okay with being human.
On Friday, March 29th, 2019 I arrived at my first appointment for gastric bypass surgery after attending the seminar in December. I haven’t told but a handful of people that I was thinking about surgery for weight loss. I feel like surgery is the easy way out. In some ways it makes me feel like I’ve failed. The truth is, this is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make when it comes to my weight loss. This surgery is irreversible. It’s not a fix-all. People still gain weight after surgery and to be honest I’m scared as hell. If I can’t control what I eat RIGHT NOW how can I possibly control what I eat after surgery? But that’s the least of my worries on this day.
The doctor comes into the room and tosses my folder on the desk, “So why are you here today?” I stare at him. He’s caught me off guard. I know he wants to hear that I’m here because I want a better life and no longer want health issues and blah blah but doc – let’s be honest. In order to get there, I’ve got to lose weight. So I say, “To lose weight. To be healthy again.” He chuckles a bit and right away I know that’s not the answer he wants and personally, I don’t care. He quickly replies with the list of things he was looking for. I already know I don’t like him. He’s cocky. His voice is demeaning and degrading. He asks me if I sleep with a c-pap – I answer no. He asks if I have high blood pressure – I answer no. Heart attack, stroke – no. He asks if I have diabetes – I answer no but I am still using Metformin to keep it under control because I used to have Type 2. I want to scream, “DID YOU READ MY FILE?!” He asks which type of surgery I’m interested in. I pick up a large flip board with the names of the surgery because who the hell remembers “Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.” I explain this is the type of surgery I’d like and the reason why. He quickly shoots it down and tells me that with the way I carry my weight and because I’ve had several abdominal surgeries, the sleeve would be better. He leaves the room to grab the female nurse because he has to check my heart. I look over at Kristy with disgust and whisper, “I don’t like him.”
Later that evening I received an email showing the notes and wrap-up of our appointment. Under ‘Chief Complaint’ the doctor writes “Sleep apnea, hypertension, degenerative joint disease, urinary stress incontinence, chronic fatigue, exertional shortness of breath.” WHAT?! Who the hell? Whose complaints are THESE? We never discussed these because I don’t have them. What is degenerative joint disease and urinary stress incontinence?! Now I’m worried. This is the doctor that’s going to operate on me? For fuck’s sake doc. Some would excuse it as – he most likely wrote the wrong patient notes in. Well, if he can make that simple of a mistake, I sure as hell don’t want him snipping, cutting, and stitching things inside my body. So tell me, what’s up doc?
It starts in the dressing room and two pieces of clothing…
I slide my shirt over my head and pull it down over my curves. Wait. This is a T-SHIRT, right? I take it off and look at the size. XXL. How the hell is it so short? They are charging $2 extra for plus size yet they forgot to somehow sew the bottom half of the shirt on! The pants are next. I slip those over my thighs and pull up over my stomach. High-waters. How is this possible? I haven’t grown. Well. Maybe I have. Around but not up! This is impossible. I leave the dressing room and angrily hand my clothes to the attendant. I’m angry at myself for not being able to fit into simple clothes. I’m angry because they want to charge me more for plus-size clothing but not give me enough clothing to wear! And I’m angry that I’ve done nothing to fix it.
I admit that I’m the most contradictive person alive. I complain that I want to fix it, yet do nothing about it. I give advice to others, but don’t practice it myself. I’m safe here. You will hear me refer to my obesity and addiction to food as the devil. It’s a mental fight I have daily and that fight is visualized as cruel, dark, lonely, hurtful, sad… the dark list goes on. The push-pull of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. I share this with you not to make you sad or feel empathy for me. I share it because sometimes I struggle with the darkness and I want others, perhaps you dear reader, to know……you are NOT alone.
As I’ve become older, I’m at a point in my life, that I’m learning to come to terms with obesity. Accepting it. Feeling safe with it. It is what it is, so to speak. Obesity gives me security. Losing weight would only put myself out there to predators so I’m safe being fat. No one wants a starving fat lady.
“What do you mean I can’t have pizza for breakfast?” I don’t think my doctor is taking me seriously. “Look, Tonia. You’re going to get diabetes among other health issues that you don’t have already, if things don’t change. You’re not 20 anymore. You have to start thinking of your health and well-being.” I stare at him blankly while smacking my sugar-free gum. I leave the office feeling like nothing was accomplished. On another note, I did get a new pill and an increase in another. One for anxiety and the increase in depression medication. That’s right, Doc. Dope me up. That should help.
My therapist and I are having a stare off. “Why are you here?” he finally asks. “Where do you want me to start?” I reply with a chuckle. “Let’s start with why you sought help in the first place.” I really hope he has all day. I don’t think I can squeeze this all into a hour. “I have mother issues, anger issues, trust issues, sexual issues, and food issues. Just to name a few. Shall we start there?” Oh, God. He’s writing. Jot that down, dude. You’re going to need to remember this. Got enough ink in that pen? “Ok. Let’s start with your food issues. Why do you think you have issues with food?” I laugh hysterically inside. “Because I have mother, anger, trust, and sexual issues.” He gets paid for this stuff? He isn’t the first therapist I’ve seen and I have a suspicion he won’t be the last. This session has stressed me out. Guess I will treat myself to KFC and wash it all away with a root beer float.
My feet are starting to tingle. I work from home so I sit at the computer 9+ hours a day. I chalk it up to long periods of sitting. My legs start to ache. I try to get up and move around but my job has me glued to the screen. At night the tingling is worse. I elevate my feet and ignore it. Eight months later and I am feeling numbness. I change doctors and the new Doc schedules a diabetes test. “No biggie,” I tell him. “They’ve poked my finger before and sugars are always fine.” He laughs. Little did I know that it takes much more than that. The results: Type 2 diabetes. I barely hear the doctor talk about long term damage and dietary changes. My mind goes into a fog. “Is this going to be it? Is this going to be the wake-up call I need to change my life?” I stuff a large chunk of Kit Kat into my mouth and then take a long swig from my Pepsi. Can’t imagine how the diabetes arrived in the first place. Hop aboard the sugar train! I need to ponder this.