The topic of whether or not to share the decision to have weight loss surgery with others is often brought up in weight loss surgery forums and blogs. It’s a personal decision and I usually find there are two “camps” 1) people that stay incredibly private about their decision or 2) people that are an open book.
Since beginning this process 20 months ago, I have remained pretty private about the whole thing. I told limited family and friends about my decision – basically only the people I absolutely knew would provide me with support. I’m a sensitive person and I care what people think of me. I wish I were a bit more evolved and didn’t care at all (I envy those kinds of people), but I have enough self-awareness to know that being the recipient of judgment and negativity was going to hinder my ability to stay on course (as an emotional eater that hasn’t completely conquered my issues).
When people ask me what I’m doing to lose weight, I jokingly respond with “I don’t eat a thing that tastes good” and the subject usually changes. Nobody has ever really pushed the issue. I have never been asked if I’ve had weight loss surgery, although people do ask my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and closest friends. I made it clear to these individuals that they are free to answer the question however they would like… as I do not expect them to lie for me. That’s a terrible position to put somebody in and when asked, these individuals respect my privacy by saying “I don’t know, you’d have to ask her!” – which of course, nobody ever seems to do.
I was asked a few months ago by someone on Facebook in a private message what I did to lose the weight. I knew this person to be a trustworthy person so I confided in her my decision to have surgery because she is someone that could potentially benefit from it, though she would be a lightweight. She was very supportive and told me she was proud. I have been much more likely to put pictures on Facebook lately and so of course, I get more questions about what I’ve been doing.
Two days ago, a girl I graduated high school with asked me what my secret was… and I know this girl to be overweight enough to qualify for surgery. I had an internal debate on how to answer her. On one hand, I desperately wanted to share with her my experience and to be completely honest… and on the other hand, I know she lives in my small hometown and that when you tell one person, you might as well tell everyone. I started a conversation with her this evening just simply offering to her a list of what I eat everyday… but we got to talking and I could almost feel her desperation (that’s a bad word, but I can’t think of anything more appropriate) to regain her health and happiness.
I threw out the idea of weight loss surgery by saying something along the lines of, “I think a person needs to do whatever they can to get where they need to be… I think weight loss surgery is great, doctors, nutritionists, therapy, etc.” When I said this, she said she thought she could do it on her own and that “The idea of surgery scares the crap out of me… too many bad stories about that” Immediately I knew that she had this idea in her head of the neighbor’s, uncle’s, best friend’s, brother that had surgery and died! I immediately felt compelled to say “NO, WAIT! LOOK AT ME! I had surgery and I am great!”
Honestly… that’s kind of how it went from there. I told her that after losing 100+ lbs in a supervised diet, I had a long way to go and I needed more help. I told her that I had a surgery less invasive than gastic bypass, but very effective. She immediately started asking me genuine questions and the information started to pour out of me. I shared with her my first progress picture and the pic of me at 18 months out from the start of the supervised diet wearing the same clothes. She was amazed. She asked more questions…. I could literally feel her hope and energy coming through the computer. She’s about to take a trip to Disney and has already asked me if we could talk when she gets back. She wants to know more about the doctors I used, the surgery I had, and all of my experiences. Like I said, I could feel her hope and energy through the screen… and I was immediately glad I shared the information.
I’m not ready to tell the world I have had surgery. I am not ready to make some kind of Facebook announcement or to be the poster child for the VSG; however, with the way I am feeling in this very moment after this conversation…. if the entire town I come from finds out I’ve had surgery and the “secret” is out, then so be it. The idea that within just a few minutes I could give someone like her… who is in the exact some position I was in less than 2 years ago, hope for the future (regardless of whether or not she goes through with it), then it has become 100000% worth it. I actually never expected to feel that way about it and who knows maybe I will change my mind if everyone actually does find out and start questioning me HA HA! But right now, I am so very glad I made myself vulnerable!