"In truth, always needing to stay immediate by removing what is no longer real is the working inner definition of sacrifice -- giving up with reverence and compassion what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred."
One thing about WLS that I don't remember reading about or maybe I ignored it because at my weight, ten more pounds didn't seem to matter (it does - just ask your knees) is the part about gaining weight from fluids during surgery. When I first arrived home, I didn't weigh though in the next few days I found that regardless of my lack of food or liquid intake since arriving home, I had blossomed an additional ten pounds. I was annoyed.
Today I'm down 14 pounds and I'll take it!
From witnessing my sister since her WLS in November right before Thanksgiving (2008) the weight fluctuates from day to day. Since WLS I've weighed more when I first get out of bed than I do at noon now. That never happened in the past, not even during chemo and all those Dove bars that helped me live. I knew my sister was choosing that time of year to have her surgery because everything we did as a family pretty much involved food. She had grown sick and tired of being sick and tired (and *she* wasn't even sick - yet). We'd shared so many discussions on the subject of food, weight, food, donuts, See's Candy, weight, what was for dinner, margaritas etc. Once more we were headed into the deep season starting late October with raided trick & treat bags, and pumpkin lattes, soon to flow into eggnog lattes or who-cares-what's-in-em-by-end-of-December lattes.
Coming of the heels of my own WLS I've gained even more insight into my sister's post-surgical despair that Thanksgiving. Her husband did not understand her suffering (I mean -- do they ever?) and had declared if she did not come to dinner, then he would not come to dinner so she felt like she was making him sit out a big Thanksgiving meal by being selfish when all she wanted to do was stay home, let her husband go to dinner, and with fresh WLS under her belt, she'd not have to be bothered by the tradition, the smells, the goodies and the camaraderie around the table, including most likely having to clean up after a bunch of ne'er do wells.
In light of her recent surgery and our many discussions of why food was such a big deal to us, I made a very light meal, with few extras. Her suffering sort of made it so I could hardly eat without feeling guilty. I cooked a turkey, some sort of vegetable; nothing fantastic. We even purchased a store-made pumpkin pie which if you're a member of my religion pretty much assures you a front row seat in hell.
My sister walked into the house and almost as quickly resigned herself to my bedroom where I could hear muffled cries throughout dinner which if I recall correctly lasted all of about 15 minutes because I was so tuned into my projections onto the horror that she must be experiencing due to WLS; the inability to consume massive quantities of whocares on Thanksgiving, that I couldn't eat much -- which was pretty much my reasoning behind buying a store-made pie. If I can't enjoy a pie, you aren't going to either! When I *can* eat, I'm going to eat well; certainty not that crap. Your pet rat could have used that pie for a trampoline and to this day *still* be bouncing to Jesus.
Withdrawal from years of eating and dieting and eating and dieting is similar to watching an alcoholic endure the DTs (I witnessed this as a child -- it was my good friend's mother) or a heroin addict needing that fix (if you need proof -- Pacific Avenue downtown Santa Cruz). It's painful. It's suffering. But you either do the withdrawal anyway you can because what you've done to date isn't working for you, and lord knows, talking and writing about it don't change anything. Somehow you must exorcise those demons or you continue eating every time you experience a feeling and even when you are too numb to feel, and hope the weight comes off through repeats of every diet known to mankind, repeated exercise attempts, more money spent on weight loss books, plans, counselors, pounds gained and lost, year after year, and centuries of discussions over lattes as they change with each passing season.
When I was making plans for WLS, my plan for the timing was "I can't wait!" It didn't matter to me *when* -- what mattered was how soon? So father's day was my first (media-promoted) "holiday" post WL surgery. My dad has been dead since 1991, my husband in 2001. No barbecues here. It's not a balloon or pie buying occasion around here.
My sister came by late that day bringing Hannah for a visit. Seeing both of them was holiday enough. I asked if they were having a dinner to celebrate and my sister briefly mentioned "just the 3 of them." Though she graciously didn't elaborate. She understood my surgical-self-imposed suffering.
Each evening I get a twinge and I think "Ah ha (moment) good thing I can't eat crackers." I know I'm sacrificing but that's cuz I ate enough in 54 years, my rear end getting a great start. I need to sacrifice. Yes, my dear sister, I was finally willing to give up the food and now I'm fighting the what-do-I-do-in-those-moments conundrum. I don't know if I am down for the count or ready to do battle. Though I'll take whatever comes and spin it! Like the media...
And I think one thing I'll do in those moments is write and sometimes cry, and hopefully laugh.
My sister and Hannah left for home and their celebration while I watched an episode of The Next Food Network Star and quite frankly I didn't think much about the food those contestants cooked either. Maybe they need another judge? I noticed the judges taste only the tiniest of nibbles.