A big weight lifted.

After over 5 hours of surgery on Monday, I’m happy to report that untitled is doing very well post-bariatric surgery. She can slowly sip down a shot-size cup of water/milk/broth every fifteen minutes. This is considered to be a good amount at this point. The nurses and doctors are pleased with her progress, so she should be coming home on Wednesday.

Before I left tonight we went on a walk around the hospital floor. I thought we’d do one lap. After untitled announced that we’d be doing three, I said “are ya sure?” Her reply was a simple, “I know you can do it.” Her stomach may be the size of a golf ball, but thankfully her sarcasm is still larger than life.

I’ve passed on all of your kind words and thoughts to untitled. It means the world to her that you care.

Stomach under seige, day 4.

Like I said in my previous post, I am now on my pre-surgery blended diet as of Monday. And I will be on it for two more weeks until my surgery on Feb. 12th. I am happy to report that I haven’t cheated once. I haven’t even licked a potato chip. The reason for the blended diet — to help me lose even more weight before surgery, shrink my liver and shrink my stomach. For those of you who interpret “blended diet” as an endless buffet of strawberry margaritas, let me clarify:

BREAKFAST

1 serving Coco Wheats

SNACK

16 oz homemade smoothie (fat free sugar free yogurt, banana, 1/4 c orange juice)

LUNCH

1 cup instant mashed potatoes

1 Soup at Hand soup, no noodles or chunky items

1 fat free sugar free pudding cup

SNACK

1 fat free sugar free jello cup

1 package of instant oatmeal (prepared with water)

DINNER

1 cup fat free refried beans, thinned with taco sauce

1 cup fat free sugar free pudding cup

1 cup pureed hamburger

Also, no carbonated beverages are allowed, along with no drinking during meals. I must drink 8-10 glasses of water a day (which hasn’t been hard for me). Putting more into the gullet has never been an issue. I’m also trying to scoot glasses of milk into my routine as often as possible (milk is a recommended drink post-surgery, given the high protein).

For anyone out there who thinks I’m being a pussy about this, I challenge you to try it for one day. Sure, it seems like a reasonable amount of food, but here’s the thing — it’s all BLENDED. This means your stomach never has anything to glom on to, and you never get full. OK, you are somewhat satisfied for about 45 minutes after eating the mashed potatoes or the refried beans. And by somewhat satisfied, I mean the fullness you experience after you bogart the green olives from your grandma’s relish tray before Thanksgiving dinner. At all other times, you are hungry. Pull-a-cheeseburger-out-the-trash hungry. Squirt-condiment-packs-of-mayo-into-your-mouth hungry. Knaw-your-own-arm-off-eat-it-throw-it-up-and-eat-it-again hungry.

I feel myself entering a state of starvation zen. I see the normal folk eating their sandwiches and popcorn and chocolate chip cookies. I feel a million miles away from them, sitting in my cube at work, sucking down my cream of broccoli. How in hell did I end up at this point? Damn you, Snickers! Damn you, Cheez-Its! Damn you all to hell.

I’m trying to just accept the hunger. I’m sure if I were to hork down some sesame chicken — just this once — my doctor would probably never know. But I can’t open that door, because I won’t be able to close it again. I really want to do this right. I know I’m working towards a goal — one that’s easily visible from here. I just need to hold on for a few more weeks. It’s the whole week thing that seems unachievable. Getting through this one day, I can do that. Now I just need to keep getting through the days until February 12th.

I have told three people about this surgery – untitledhusband, untitledmother and untitledmother-in-law. Oh, and my boss (thought she might wonder where I am for those two weeks). I plan on telling no one else, besides you all. I don’t know why I want to keep things so private, but I think it has something to do with the public nature of being fat. You have to wear your demons on the outside, for everyone to see. Now, I just want to pull the curtain and deal with this in private. I don’t want to be the subject of whispers and gossip. I don’t want every pound lost or gained to be a matter of public record. Soon enough, the weight loss will be obvious. If anyone is brazen enough to ask me where my ass went, I will be honest. But until then, I’ll just sit here and quietly starve.

The jihad has begun.

I’ve talked a bit in the past about bariatric surgery. Well, I have been approved by my health insurer (which was a huge friggin’ surprise) and we’re a go for February 12th. This all sounds somewhat sudden, but it has been a work in progress for about eleven months.

Anyways… in about three weeks I will undergo a laparoscopic surgery in which my stomach is stapled down to the size of a Tic-Tac, all in hopes that I will one day be able to shop at Banana Rebublic. You were hoping I was going to say Hot Topic, weren’t you? I can’t wait to buy clothes I actually like (hello booty pants), as opposed to clothes that just fit. I can’t wait for the day that people don’t look at me with disgust. And I can’t wait to get on an airplane and sit comfortably in my seat. It’s tough being fat. No matter what you achieve, you’re still viewed as a slob, and you’re still ashamed to go back to your high school reunion.

Anyone who thinks this is the easy way out, well, let me tell you. I first had to be on a physician-supervised weight loss program for six months. I wrote down everything I ate for 180 days. Then came the psychiatric evaluation. Do they really think I’m going to unfurl all my freak when I’m trying to prove I’m sane? Then the hospital where I’m having the surgery made me lose weight — they wanted me to lose 10 pounds in one month — over the holidays no less. I did them a few better and lost 13. This weight loss happened after they reduced me to tears, telling me they wouldn’t let me have surgery unless I proved I was “compliant.” Being able to say no to Christmas cookies — if that isn’t compliant, I don’t know what is.

Now I have to be on a blended diet (jello, applesauce, mashed potatoes, oatmeal) for THREE WEEKS prior to surgery to shrink my stomach, my liver and help me lose more weight. What kind of sick fucking joke is this? The only thing getting me through this is the thought that somewhere on a remote deserted island, the Survivor contestants are eating less than I am. Fuckity fuck fuck FUCK! Don’t think I wouldn’t slit your throat with a plastic spork for some queso and tortilla chips right now. I could do it, and no court of law would convict me.

I mean, it’s not that I don’t know HOW to diet. I could, for example, tell you how many calories and fat grams are in that Ding Dong you’re holding, as well as how many turns you’ll have to take on untitledmother’s Ab Lounger to burn it off. Did someone say Ding Dongs? Just give me a moment here…

OK, I’m back. The thing with us fat people is that we have some sort of chemical disposition that makes food like a drug to us. We feel incomplete unless we eat. It consumes our every thought. Me and chocolate — it’s like Whitney Houston and her crack pipe. And I’m saying this in all seriousness. The only time I wasn’t subject to this Vulcan mind control was when I was pregnant — which makes me think that fatness (I refuse to use the word “obesity” or god forbid “morbid obesity”) is hormonal or chemical.

I want you all to take this journey with me (I KNOW you want to come), so I’m going to post pictures of myself along the way, along with updates and musings on what it’s like to eat a pureed peanut butter sandwich. I imagine it will go something like this: “Today I ate a piece of bread and was stuck on the shitter for FIVE hours.” “I wonder if I can blend Swiss Cake Rolls?” “I bet I could make me a handsome set of luggage with this leftover skin.”

I hope that when the year has passed, you’ll get to see something cool — kind of like when you were in second grade and got to watch the butterfly emerge from its cocoon. It’s either going to be like that, or like watching a stick of butter melting in a pan.

How I earned my humiliation patch.

As part of my prerequisites for my bariatric surgery, I had to have a psychiatric evaluation. I must do this, along with six months of physician-directed diet and exercise. Six months. Jesus, what’s going to happen in six months? I’ve spent 25 years being the fattest person in the room. Trust me when I say that there is nothing a doctor knows about diet and exercise that I didn’t already know by age 8. I knew the fat grams in a Chips Ahoy cookie before I could tie my own shoes.

Talking to the psychiatrist, she asked me what my first fat memory was. I thought for a moment, and said “second grade.” It was in second grade that I joined the Brownies. I was so excited to go the meetings with my friends and do all the fun things that a group called the Brownies must surely do. Hey, maybe they sat around and ate, gasp, brownies all day. Now that’s an organization I could put my weight behind.

It was all good until it came time to order uniforms. I was only slightly overweight, but none of the uniforms came in my size. I was devastated. There were no husky sizes to be found. I mean, why be a Brownie if you couldn’t wear the brown jumper? untitledmother took matters into her own hands and sewed me a Brownie uniform out of thick brown corduroy. It was most obviously not standard issue. The only thing more embarassing than that brown abomination was when I split my pants in gym class while playing “Clean Up Your Own Backyard.”

Looking back on this scenario, it just pisses me off. How fucked up is it that an organization designed to boost the self-confidence of young girls was directly responsible for ruining mine? Thinking about this got me all worked up, so I went to www.girlscouts.org to check out their current offerings. Low and behold, they now carry plus sizes for the kids and adults. God blessit. As untitledhusband so keenly noted, “it’s the least they can do, considering their organization freely peddles fat and calories door-to-door in every town in America.”

The dance.

I joined Weight Watchers about four months ago, and lost a total of 13 pounds before deciding my points journal made an awesome coaster for my afternoon pop. Those were 13 long hard pounds, and it was pissing in the ocean when you consider that I have 100+ pounds to shed. I think this is one of the reasons it’s so hard for big people like me to lose weight — the mountain is so high, so unclimbable. It’s like cutting the grass on a football field with a nail clippers.

The feeling I get before I binge is what I can only imagine is the same ravenous, consuming desperation that a junkie feels before shooting up. It’s like the whole world melts away, and the only thing I see in my crosshairs is food. Snickers. Ding Dongs. French fries. Before I can finish my timesheet, before I can concept that print ad, I must soothe the beast. It won’t loosen its unrepentant grip until it has been fed.

And so I eat. And eat. And eat some more, until the food expands, stretches and strains my gut. I feel guilty, powerless, low. Yet I am calm. I’ll be damned if I don’t feel at peace. I am fulfilled and complete. I lie in the wake, a bit dazed by the frenzy that has come to pass.

This is the torment that washes over my brain once, sometimes twice, a day. But I must function, I must put up the front. I must bury these thoughts in a hastily dug trench, along with my awkwardness and my shame. For when you are fat, or obese as they say, you must be smarter, funnier and more pulled together than everyone else in the room. You cannot risk appearing slovenly or gluttonous, because that is what they expect of you.

If I starch a crisp line into my khakis and maintain a perfect french manicure, will you not notice how my thighs billow out from the steely borders of the conference room chairs? How could you not. I see the disgust in your eyes as they sweep up and down me. And so I dance, hoping my jazz hands will divert your attention from the dark storyline unfolding behind the curtain. The show must go on.