Mental Healing after Surgery (and my results!)

This is delayed, as all my posts surrounding this surgery seem to be. Monday was the first day I walked into my doctor’s office and didn’t have a bandaged wound to show them, and today marks 8 weeks since my surgery. Everything is closed and I am 90% healed. This is certainly reason for me to get it together and write this post.

I don’t want to write it. I am having more body issues post-surgery than before. I was used to myself before, and understood how to cover just so, change in the bathroom, etc. My body in recovery/post-surgery is a terrifying new vehicle I’m not sure how to fuel, maintain, or operate. While I no longer feel like Frankenstein’s monster, I don’t feel stellar. My doctor and his P.A. both say I’m still swollen, but that’s not what’s getting me down. It’s the number on the scale and my reflection in the mirror that are antagonizing me.

I know I shouldn’t be focusing on weight right now, but I can’t help it. The Number is something I’ve spent the last two years changing, and my entire life fixated on. The Number has always been bad, has reflected my self-image, has defined who I am.

The Weight Number: 265+

The Size Number: 24

The BMI Number: 43-45

The Bust-Waist-Hip Numbers: 42-40-52 (that’s a generous estimate.)

Right now, the Weight Number is exactly the same as the night before I went in for surgery. 175.2. I shouldn’t be frustrated, but I am.

I look great. More importantly, I feel great. I’m wearing a tucked in blouse and my pre-surgery skinny jeans. I look put together and I feel beautiful. Yet, there is a sense of struggle still raging within me. It’s the comparative game, the one who all play. When I looked in the mirror for the first time after surgery, when I saw my new belly button, my new smooth stomach, hips, and thighs, I cried. It was her—the girl I always saw within myself. And standing there, staring at her beauty, strength, and health, I felt myself step onto my victory lap.

I did it!

Then I looked away from the mirror and to the world around me. With a flat stomach, my thighs do still look huge. And yeah, I’m still overweight/obese on some BMI charts. And that extra skin and fat on my calves jiggles and looks awful in shorts. Kim Kardashian is considered full-figured, and I’m still bigger than her. I guess I would be considered a plus-sized model if I were one. No, I’m not a 36-24-36.

My victory lap started to fumble, and I put off this post because what could I show you? I didn’t look like Kim Kardashian, so how could you possibly feel proud of me? How could anyone feel proud of me? You’d probably want your money back on IndieGoGo. I had clearly just wasted $19K on a surgery I should have waited until I was skinnier to get. I should probably try to lose another 20 lbs.

This is a problem. This is bigger than me or my weight loss journey. These are the thoughts of a woman living at the same time as Tyra Banks and Kim Kardashian.(1) These thoughts are the longstanding ramifications of living in nation consumed by beauty and perfection, and filled with unattainable goals, unrealistic role models, and impossible success. We cannot win this race. We cannot succeed at beauty. We will never have personal chefs or trainers. We will never get paid to maintain perfection.

This is a problem, and while I can’t fix it, I can heal from what this perception of beauty has down to me mentally.

I’m exactly where I need to be. I weigh 175.2. My body just went through massive surgical trauma. So what the doctor took off 10 lbs of skin and fat? This wasn’t a magic wand waving. He took it off and now I have to heal. My P.A. told me that the best thing I can do right now is: avoid carbs to help with swelling, eat more protein to help with healing, and eat about 1700 calories a day to maintain my weight. She also said (which I had known and read about before) that I could have significant swelling for up to six months.

I’m exactly where I need to be. I’m healing perfectly. Everyone at my surgeon’s office is amazed. They say I have healed faster than most people in the places most people fall apart. (The inner thighs usually break down and take forever to heal, but I healed perfectly there.)

It’s 8 weeks after surgery and I ran a half-mile on Monday. I have been in my pre-surgery jeans comfortably for over a week.(2) I am exactly where I need to be.

So I’m sorry for the delay, everyone. It’s taken me a few weeks to realize I had to do some mental healing as well as physical. Over the next few weeks, I want to create a few pages on my blog about the surgery, the healing and recovery, and what it was like for me. I’m not going to go day-by-day, because that’s unrealistic. I can barely remember a few days with all the medications. However, I will post about aspects: the compression garment, eating, exercising, why drainage tubes suck, and important milestones.

In the mean time, enjoy some photos. I’ve emailed my Brave New Body photographer to get on her radar. Perks will be delayed because I didn’t realize I would still be so swollen so long. (The boyfriend says my body changes every time he looks at it. Puffier here, thinner there.) I will let you know as soon as we schedule something, and perks should come not long after I get the photos back from her.

Thanks y’all, as always, for all the love and support.

(1) Tangent: While I’ve become more realistic with my beauty role models, I know that Tyra Banks and Kim Kardashian are considered full-figured and plus-sized compared to Heidi Klum and Christy Turlington, and that some women look to even thinner, blonder models as ideals. I mean, Kate Moss’s coke-figure was what we were told was beautiful and perfect for a long time.

(2) Size 10 Stella Skinny from Express.

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2 thoughts on “Mental Healing after Surgery (and my results!)

  1. hollycagney says:

    You look amazing!!!! And you are so not alone in your mental struggles. I thought I had it made when I reached a size 8. That was until I started waking up in a panic every morning because I thought one day I would open my eyes and be 250 pounds again! It’s crazy how your mind still struggles. It takes time!

  2. Jess_A says:

    It is hard to reign your mind away from expecting perfection, like ‘they’ tell us we can achieve. Actually I like to keep on the high side of my ‘perfect’ BMI. If there is an apocalypse, I like to have a bit of fat in savings, lol. You look great but more important you sound positive :)

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