I walked in the door of the hospital. I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing. I held my husband’s hand and tried to appear calm but in reality I was screaming inside. Am I really here?
Flashback to January 1, 2014, the day of “the picture” that showed me just how far I’d fallen off my latest weight loss wagon. That day I started researching weight loss surgery with more than a passing curiosity. I knew I needed help but weight loss surgery seemed so drastic.
Drastic. Dangerous. Risky. These were the words that filled the internet about weight loss surgery. Those were the more kind descriptions. There was also a lot of references to people who’ve reached a point of no return. Hopeless. Cheaters. Is this really something for me? I just wasn’t sure.
Everyone knew someone who had a terrible experience with Gastric Bypass. From fatalities to gaining all the weight back it seemed like a huge risk to take for potential failure. Remember, I cornered the market on weight loss failure for 30 years.
Then I remember reading an article from a heart surgeon and he was answering questions about weight loss surgery and someone brought up the word drastic again. He said:
Removing a vein from your leg and use it to replace a vein to your heart is drastic but we do it everyday!
Shift. In. Perspective! Looking at surgery as an actual medical procedure instead of a place where the unfortunate weight loss failures go was a crucial step to exploring Gastric Bypass.
The next part was much more harrowing. Everyone can do research in the comfort of their own homes but actually heading to the hospital for the information session is different.
It’s a public proclamation that I needed help.
That my weight was out of control.
That despite how many times I told so many people that my weight didn’t bother me, I was going to walk in this room and show that it does.
In 1988, Billy Crystal and Alan King did a movie called Memories of Me and it was the first movie directed by Henry Winkler. Yes, the Fonz. The film was not a critical success but there was a part that stayed with me for decades. Alan King’s character Abe Polin said:
The loneliest feeling in the world is to be standing up when the whole world is sitting down.
Preparing to walk through those hospital doors that’s exactly how I felt.
The doctor walked us through every part of the surgeries and informed us about the risks, the lifestyle changes we would be tasked to make, and all of our options. I looked around the room. There were so many people who looked like me. Not just overweight but hopeful, ready, determined, and fearful. We stood up. We walked in. We decided in that moment that even if we never had surgery we did have the bravery to stand up, be counted, and expose our heart of hearts to try to be better.
A single act of bravery that truly changed my life.