Lately, I have been seeing my life as a huge super highway with many turns, exits and paths. Each a different component of me and my life. Some are straight and concise. You know these roads too, I am sure. Those things we don’t have to think too hard on. Those aspects that just sort of go along at their own pace and that pace is perfect for us. These roads for me are my marriage, my husband and my kiddos. I know the direction I am going in my life where they are concerned and I am happy for it all. Other roads are bumpy and have their share of hills. I think these roads keep us on our feet and force us off of autopilot so we can actually live. These roads are my creativity. While the work itself is always on that aforementioned road, the work following is sometimes difficult for me. The attention of tours, events, promotions. I still haven’t become totally confident in those situations. Probably, in part, to the last group of roads… And THAT road friends and followers, are those that were under construction many moons ago but seem to have been forgotten. Roads with so many potholes and accidents waiting to happen we are scared to even look at the exit markers. Trouble is, when we neglect these roads, the ones that need the most work and attention…they don’t go away. They get worse. And eventually, we have to take a ride and decide what we are going to do. How we are going to repair that which has been damaged for so long?
And so, I am going to share with you my trip on the reckless road. I do this with an anxious heart I must confess because I am feeling cracked open writing this series (I will break this up into three posts). I hope you all will receive it with the sincerity and compassion with which I am writing it.
Exit 1. It was a cold place for sure. No warmth there. Bitter some would say. It was where I encountered and stored my horrific self esteem. I have addressed this in the past on this blog. I must tell you it is a very real thing that I did not believe or understand until I experienced it.
I have 4 children. My body reflected as much. Truth be told, my body reflected that I had delivered 4 grown lineman from an NFL team. There was so much extra weight. With each pregnancy, more weight compiled onto more weight. I did fad diets, I did healthy diets, I worked out, I ate out- I did it all. It seemed I was a hamster on that proverbial wheel going nowhere. But unlike the hamster, I wasn’t in ignorant bliss doing so. I was slowly developing a crippling relationship with myself. One that was going to be debilitating if I kept on that wheel.
It started off small. Those conversations with myself that I would have (I know we all do it- or I am the only one and I am crazy so you can just click out of this post now). I would get out of the shower and I would say little things to myself.
“Gosh, you got to do something about this weight”
“Hmm, I think you look bigger than last month”
“Ugh, junk in the trunk”
These were light comments I made to myself. And once I was dried, dressed and out the door, the thoughts were gone as well. Until my next shower. But that was doable, right? Because most of our day is not in the shower. I could manage.
But the weight kept coming. And the conversations? They grew more harsh.
“Surely your husband sees what a mess you are”
“You look so gross”
“What happened to you”
And these conversations lasted longer. Not just in the bathroom, but maybe all morning until my day was in full swing.
And fast forward to most recently, when these self pep talks were really turning into self verbal assaults. And I don’t need to type here what I was telling myself, let it just be known I was not showing myself kindness. And dear ones, if you are unable to be kind to yourself, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be kind to others. So this should tell you how bad a path I had come upon.
These conversations were now happening throughout the day. Most of the day, all days.
And so I decided I was taking back this head of mine. These thoughts were over and this path? It was getting an overhaul. So was I, as it turned out. I just wasn’t aware of it yet.
I went to consult with a plastic surgeon about my stomach. Having the last 3 ten pound babies a year apart from each other on top of the hysterectomy had left my stomach a mess. SO much extra skin and excess everything. I wanted to consult a professional and get their feedback and input. My doctor examined me. True story, I had tears welling up when I was standing in front of him and his nurses. It was such a vulnerable moment. I was ashamed, frustrated, just open.
My doctor assured me he would be able to make things right. He said that no matter what I did on my own, the skin was never going to go away, I had gone to the right place. He was going to help me.
I cried to my husband. I couldn’t believe that the thing that had caused me such angst and misery was able to be fixed. I couldn’t believe my husband was so supportive. It was a huge thing to ask for and he never hesitated. I can’t ever thank him enough.
My doctor told me I had severe diastasis recti and that he would be able to repair it when he performed a full tummy tuck and liposuction. I was finally going to get the successful nudge I needed to make this exit on my life highway a scenic view and not a dreaded eyesore.
I know this route is not one everyone can do or may even agree with. I can say I knew this was right the moment I began speaking with the doctor.
I had already investigated and interviewed several doctors. The one I chose was the Chief of Plastic Surgery and also taught at Johns Hopkins. I recommend that if any of you out there decide to go this direction, you do the same- meet and interview docs.
It was also important for me that my plastic surgeon performed the surgery in a hospital and not a surgical “suite”. This is a personal preference and one that proved to be smart later on.
So, it was settled. I was going through with plastic surgery. My surgery was scheduled for 07/01. The first day of the month. The first day to me. I was so excited!
Tune in to the next installment of this amazing journey.
But first- my before photo…
(notice the excess skin and the fact that the weakened stomach muscles push out skin even further…)- also note the black bikini was purchased for photos.