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    Tuesday, August 05, 2008

    I'm Totally Mental!

    ***WARNING!! This post contains pictures of me in my underwear before I had surgery. It's not a pretty sight. You have been warned***

    Remember Ed Grimley? I must say, I'm totally mental! I've been searching my brain for some answers about who and what I am. Soul searching, some might call it. It could be my age as I near the big 4-0 or it could be the fact that I'm a completely different person than I was two years ago, both mentally and physically.

    I cannot convince myself that I'm okay at the weight I am. I still want to keep going because I was thinking that I needed to be closer to 150 pounds. I had an epiphany after my oldest daughter poked me on the bone that was protruding from my shoulder and said, "Your bones are popping out all over, Mom. That's disgusting!"

    Her comment got me thinking about the fact that I weigh around 180 pounds, but a plastic surgeon guestimates that the excess skin I have is about 25 pounds. That puts my weight at 155 pounds. How crazy is that?

    The comment also got me to thinking that my girls are having a hard time dealing with the new me and all of the attention weight loss is bringing me. I know it's hard on their evolving self images. I remind them that I had weight loss surgery because I wanted to be healthy and be able to participate in life with them, not for vanity purposes.

    Back to the skin issue. I thought I wouldn't have a real problem with excessive skin. After all, skin is better than fat. I've started building muscle underneath the skin and that makes me ill to look at. I work out as hard as I possibly can, trying to make the skin go away.

    I really don't have nearly the issues that most people who lose over 200 pounds do. Some have skin that hangs nearly to their knees. I know I am very fortunate, but it still bothers me to know that if I had it removed, my stomach would be completely flat.

    The biggest problem lies in that I would need to have my stomach, arms, breasts and thighs done. This would cost big money that I don't have. I also don't have the time to take to recover from this kind of surgery.

    I cannot believe I'm posting this picture,
    but this is exactly what I looked like before surgery
    (it doesn't get any worse than this, folks):

    This is what I'm left with after losing 202 pounds:

    My brain only sees the hanging skin that is left. I thought that after losing this much weight I would be able to look down and be happy with my body. This is not the case.
    I'm working on learning to deal with the aftermath of super morbid obesity on my body and psyche. (I may need help coming to terms with the fact that I posted this before picture, ugh!)


    terry said...

    i think it's wonderful you posted that picture. if nothing else, jenn, you might further inspire someone who's where you used to be.

    ciara said...

    we are not defined by our bodies...only if we let it. i think it's awesome that you've lost all that weight. you have shown a lot of courage posting those pics and telling your story. i, for one, am very inspired. :)

    Lori said...

    I often tell you how you inspire me. This just further inspires me hun. To remember it's about me and not what others SEE.
    HUGS sweetie. It's a tough thing you have to deal with...

    kimmyk said...

    i see nothing wrong with your before picture-it is who you were.

    see a doctor about having some plastics done if you're not happy. my insurance company denied me the first time, but i got approval for surgery afterwards. if you need help with getting it approved-i'll help ya! i have a friend who works for an insurance company and she told me all the "right" things to say.

    i'm surprised your girls feel that way. i would think that the life you're living (and that's key-you're LIVING) would be enough for them to embrace who you are both mentally and physically. teenage girls are fickle ones. i'm sure they're loving their new momma as much as you're loving your new self.

    is your husband dealing with these same issues? i often wonder if it's a girl thing or a guy thing feeling that way.

    SignGurl said...

    Terry~ When I took those pictures, I never dreamed in a million years I would allow anyone to see them, let alone the entire internet.

    Ciara~ I suppose part of my reason for posting these pictures is that I want people to understand, that just because we lose weight, life doesn't automatically get easier. It's much better, but not always easier.

    Lori~ Thank you.

    Kimmy~ I think the girls are happy for me, however, I remind them that they need to make healthier choices so as not to become like their dad and me.

    Mr. Sign has very few issues with his hanging skin. His self esteem is through the roof. He does not understand me and my body image issues. I know it is different for men.

    Donna said...

    You know they say that it takes about 5 years for a post-op to "accept" (well, to the degree that it's possible) their body. Keep in mind the reasons why you did it and take joy in how you've taken control. Give your body some time to catch up. It probably won't all "snap-back", but it will get a little better.

    Just to make you chuckle, Darren caught me playing with one of my freakish bat-wings the other day LOL :)

    Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.

    lime said...

    any woman who has ever gone through pregnancy and birth knows what a number that does on you with all the rapid changes and what exactly are our bodies doing. you have gone through even more dramatic changes to your body and it's bound to take a while for your mind to catch up. i can understand being bothered by the loose skin but be gentle with yourself. you've accomplished so much.

    barman said...

    When I once lost 100 pounds it was great but ... for some reason I really had a hard time accepting it. In the end I slowly started to put it back on. I know you are strugling but I also know you can find a way through all your struggles. Just give yourself time.

    Yippeeskip said...

    I get it, I get it, I get it. My relationships have changed dramatically with my close loved ones since my surgery though they cannot or will not see it. As for the weight and excess skin, as women we are never happy with our bodies eh? yippeeskipatcoxdotnet

    Missy said...

    Jenn, my sister has faced these same issues after having lost over a hundred pounds through gastric by-pass surgery.

    As with her the first thing you need to allow yourself to accept is the success you have already achieved. It's hard when a woman has weighed a certain amount of weight all her life to acknowledge her weight loss success as being successful. We kind of stay in the I am so fat mode. Mentally acceptance I think is the hardest thing.

    I feel women who have faced this type of extreme weight loss and have loose skin don't consider themselves successful because they are still looking at part of the issue they had with weight. Regardless of that fact you have overcome a huge hurdle already. You've lengthened your life expectancy by many years.

    The loose skin while being a reminder of weight, is purely a cosmetic thing now. It's a visual reminder of the success you have had.

    The skin doesn't define the woman. Dig deep down inside Jenn and find that same person who committed herself to this journey and the reasons she made them.

    Make a plan, see if there are programs that help in aiding patients with plastic surgery to get rid of the excess skin. See if your insurance will cover the cost of plastic surgery. Sometimes if the doctors can convience the insurance it is necessary they will cover it. Sure it will be a battle but exhaust every avenue that could be out there to help you in this final step of your journey.

    Above all else Jenn regardless of that skin, it isn't what defines you. It's how you embrace the successes you've already had.
    You're a beautiful, smart woman, who simply needs to allow herself to love the person she's become.

    Anonymous said...

    you are so inspiring, signgurl!! i like what ciara said in comment 2 about how we are not defined by our bodies. our culture puts so much damn emphasis on it. i hate it. i have had eating disorders and a distorted body image for years. no one is immune to this sadly to say.

    you have always been so beautiful to me!! and your spirit and heart are even more beautiful! :)

    G-Man said...

    Jenn Jenn Jenn......

    You ARE, and always was beautiful!

    You always are the shining star in any room you are in.....

    Galen the Tormented...xox

    gab said...

    You look wonderful. I hear it takes time for people to get rid of all the extra hanging skin.

    Michele in Michigan said...

    It is so evident here that we all care about you very much. Everyone here has posted so eloquently. I can only add "love you, girl" to what's been said. Hang in there, my friend.

    The Savage said...

    There is much that is awesome that is you. It's mainly because you post so candidly.
    You get my nomination for inspirational blogger of the year....

    stalkermom said...

    Jenn, You are awesome!

    KJ said...

    you are a strong, confident, beautiful woman. Being able to post that before picture proves that, I hope it does to you too.

    S said...

    Hi Sign
    I have freakish thigh skin too. I know you are thinking how could I?
    I was 193 remember on a 5'1" frame.
    My thighs were the biggest things of all!
    I guess you could say I have the same problem but on a smaller scale and cellulite as well.
    When I wear a swimsuit, I always wear a sarong, in the ocean, in the pool, whereever...if that doesnt work with the program, I wear board shorts that come all the way down to my knees.
    I never let people see my thighs. I do know how you feel. But, I also KNOW you would not trade that skin to have the enormous thighs back.
    You have two healthy legs that work! They are not perfect legs, but you can walk, run and dance!

    You are not perfect, but you are very very beautiful.

    *S* said...

    I love your pix - and your collarbones. I have the same issues with thigh skin but mine are on the _inside_. It's so interesting to see yours as kind of a mirror image...