It took me a few days to actually take the prescription that the surgeon had given to me; I'm quite wary of what potential effects pills might have on my body. Worried about the double risk of high blood pressure, I stopped taking my anti-depressant when I began taking the phentermine*. It only took a few days for me to feel the effects, and let me tell you: I was on top of the world. I had boundless energy, I was getting so much done, and I wasn't preoccupied with food, other than to make sure that I got the fuel that I needed. Plus, I was losing about a pound a day. I can see how someone could very easily get addicted to that.
I chose to keep my decision to have surgery a private one. I did tell a few people, my Inner Circle, as well as the people who would be traveling far to help out during recovery (my mom, my dad, and la yen). I didn't feel it was something one ought to bring up in casual conversation. I certainly didn't want to sound braggy, most especially because I didn't feel braggy; I felt excited and nervous. Also, people have opinions . . .
I knew that part of my decision was that I would need to steel myself: have complete confidence in myself and my decision. That even if everyone around me said I (or the procedure itself) was crazy or wrong, that I still had confidence that this was the right decision for me. I had my reasons. I had my plan. And it was on my own -- I didn't have anyone in my life who, to my knowledge, had done this before. This was completely uncharted territory in my life.
One day I was dining with friends when, as an extension of a recent blog post, the topic came up in conversation. Admittedly, I was eager to hear what people had to say. The majority of comments were against elective procedures, and strongly so. Words sounding like accusations were thrown around: vain, selfish, prideful. Interesting conclusions were being drawn about What Kind Of Woman would voluntarily do this sort of thing to herself.
I could take it, and I listened intently. I was, of course, wanting them to know where I came from, but didn't volunteer myself. And to be frank, the sharpness with which some of the words were spoken indicated to me that those who spoke had no interested in being convinced, or even enlightened, contrary to their own opinions.
What bothered me most, I have to say, were the comments regarding two specific loves of my life: my husband ("What kind of man would allow his wife to do this to herself?" "What kind of man would want a woman to do this to herself, unless it was for his own sexual, lustful agenda?") and my children ("When women do this, they're telling their children that they aren't good enough, that their bodies aren't good enough." "Think of the damage this does to children, especially daughters!"). As the wife of a good man, the best kind of man, and the mother of children, including four daughters, let me say this: . . . Well, you know, I don't really know. I've been sitting here for a couple minutes with the cursor blinking at me, trying to come up with something fierce, something to convey my mother-bear-ness when people insinuate things about my family. But all I can think to do is to think that until you listen -- really listen -- to individuals and their reasoning for doing what they do, whether or not you agree with it: As For Me And My House. That sort of thing. And that I'm here when you're ready to hear it. But don't hit below the belt by insulting my family's welfare.
As October 15th drew nearer, I had one more thing I needed to do: tell my kids. Not the (then) 5 & under crowd, they wouldn't (and don't, really) remember. But the (then) 10 year old and 8 year old deserved to know why their mom was going to be hiding in her room for 6 weeks. Darin and I sat down with them individually, and each conversation's beginning was identical:
"What do I do each morning before you go to school?"
"Go to the gym."
"To be healthy."
We discussed what it means to be healthy, how we take care of our bodies, etc., and then I told them that I was going to have surgery to fix some of my muscles that had become detatched, which would make my exercise more effective. I did NOT tell them that I was going to get my body fixed because I had so many babies (because 1, it's not true, and 2, I didn't want them to think that they were the cause of my needing surgery). My 8YO nodded and asked if she could go play. My (then) 10YO asked if I was going to die; when I answered, "No," she asked if I would take her to Target.
The night before the surgery I spent the night in a hotel room in Layton. The morning of the surgery was kind of surreal. I remember standing in a patient room, lifting up my gown, while the surgeon drew lines all over my abdomen with a purple pen. "These Are Days" was playing through the speakers. I made a mental note that I enjoyed the satellite station they piped through at the office, something about a coffeeshop. I went into the operating room and climbed on the table. The anesthesiologist and I engaged in small talk about our mutual friend, and before I knew it --
*stay tuned for tomorrow's installment! Thank you for reading!
*DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR ANTI-DEPRESSANTS UNLESS UNDER A DOCTOR'S ORDERS.