I see a lot of threads on the message boards surrounding the topic of “Who should I tell that I’m having weight loss surgery?” In fact, when I first started considering having weight loss surgery or more specifically, the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG), I posted the same thread on the ObesityHelp.com boards. So far, I have told my parents, mother-in-law, husband (of course), and a couple of friends. However, the approach to take when speaking to my boss about the time off has been plaguing me for about four months and today I finally had to have the conversation…
I think the title sums up how I feel about the conversation. First, I want to start off by saying that I think people who tell anyone and everyone that they have made this major life decision are very brave – I envy their decision and courage. I haven’t been as open with everyone about my decision because I feel as though I’m not really mentally ready for judgment, negativity, embarrassment, etc. I can also understand why some people tell others, especially their employer that they are having their gallbladder removed or something of that nature. However, I know that approach is not for me. I feel a lot of guilt (just in general, believe me the therapist is going to work on this with me lol) so I would not feel comfortable giving a reason unless it were the whole truth, even though I realize I don’t need to feel compelled to do so because it’s nobody’s business. It’s just way I am.
At work, I teach classes so I am required to put “holds” on my calendar for time off a few months in advance before the next semester’s workshops are scheduled. The deadline for holding time on my calendar for vacation and other things through August is this Friday. During my 1:1 meeting with my supervisor today, I knew that I had to say something about me being out for surgery for two weeks (that’s how long I plan to take off). My supervisor is not a nosy person and she doesn’t push issues or ask me tons of personal questions; however, she is supportive and easy to talk to about most topics. However, I just never felt comfortable talking about this with her. I did not end up telling her what kind of surgery I planned to have in May.
So here was my approach. When she reminded me to update my calendar, I said “So…. about that…. without getting into any detail…there is a very strong possibility that I will be having surgery in May and will need to be out for two weeks.” I knew that if I prefaced the conversation with that phrase, she would not ask questions. Actually, knowing her personality, I don’t know that she would’ve asked what kind of surgery if I hadn’t said it. However, I “slipped” it into my statement to make sure that she didn’t ask me. This is why I feel like a coward lol…. I don’t feel guilty; however, I wish that I felt more comfortable bringing it up. She was very nice, she said we would work it out and asked me if I needed anything (in fact, she actually asked… could I bring you food to make things easier on you? I make a great lasagna? Does your husband need any food?) hahaha
Now, some would say “Well isn’t she just going to figure it out when you lose a lot of weight quickly after surgery?” Well, to be honest… no I don’t think so. If the people I work with can’t tell that since a little less than four months ago I have lost 75 lbs, then they’re clueless LOL! That is just another advantage of the success I’ve had in the pre-op supervised diet. I really don’t believe that I’m going to lose weight at a faster pace than I already have been so far.
I think the issue of who to tell is a big one. It really depends on your comfort level and the level of support that you have around you. It’s not required for you to tell most people; however, it can be therapeutic to do so. I guess it’s one of those personal decisions that would be great or really backfire on you!