Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Twelve Year Project, Part III


If you've been a reader of this blog for very long, you've probably figured out that I'm a lay-it-all-out-there kind of gal. I tend to blab and blurt, embarrassing myself, my family, my husband but it's who I am and I've never been afraid to be who I am.

Until recently.

When I first started taking steps in my newly transformed body, I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at what I had done, overwhelmed that this struggle seemed to be over, overwhelmed that I had made it. Really, truly made it.

And then I became overwhelmed that a whole new crop of body insecurities had crept up. For a decade, I had assumed that all of my troubles lay within the extra weight I was carrying. I was certain that once that magical number on the scale appeared, I would be happy. Happy, happy, happy.

And in many ways, I was. But it some, I wasn't.

Where my once full bosom had reigned supreme, I was suddenly left with two, long, things. I don't even know what to call them. Udders? Tube socks with grapefruits at the bottom? I don't know. It was horrible. And my tummy, which had been rounded by the swells of pregnancy and pizza was suddenly like the Ski Cross run at Whistler. Peaks and valleys, rolls and rolls of skin and layers of mush. It was alarming. And although I was 67 pounds less, I felt unattractive and embarrassed. Frustrated and annoyed. Altogether yucky.

So I spent a lot of time beating myself up for those feelings. How ridiculous! How vain! How utterly unimportant! I was healthy, I had the love of an amazing man, my children were thriving. What was my problem?

Hmm. What was my problem?

At some point, my darling husband suggested I see a plastic surgeon. And I'll admit it: I was thrilled. Cautious, skeptical, but secretly hopeful that maybe this would help me embrace the body I had worked so hard for. It took me a few weeks to find the courage to make an appointment, but I did and off I went to see my first plastic surgeon. I was full of nerves and excitement and was so eager to hear what he had to say.

The good news: he confirmed several things for me. One, my stomach was a mess and it wasn't purely cosmetic. My abdominal muscles had become completely shredded during my pregnancies and I was in need of a major abdominal repair. Instead of my muscles running down the front of my abdomen, mine took up shop out by my hips. The result was a very protuberant upper tummy that swelled and changed along with the amount of food I had in my system. In other words, my guts and intestines were literally hanging off the front of me without protection. Yes, I needed a tummy tuck to remove all the excess skin, but my bigger issue was the need for muscle repair. When his attention turned to my chest, he commented that I was one of the more severe cases he had examined and that I was in desperate need of a lift.

The bad news: I didn't like the surgeon. He made me feel silly, he didn't take any time in getting to know me, and he suggested additional procedures on areas that I could take charge of on my own. My feeling was this: if I can fix it but choose not to, then so be it. I was only interested in getting help on the areas where I didn't have any control.

I went home excited about what I had learned but frustrated that I would not want to work with this surgeon. I decided to shelve the issue for awhile and just get over myself.

And then.

My dear husband, my dear, amazing husband, knowing that I was struggling with acceptance of this body and desperately wanting to make it better, made me an appointment on his birthday with a new surgeon. And we went, and consulted with a wonderful surgeon who spent over an hour with us. He went through my entire medical history, talked extensively about what I could expect and listened to every single thing I had to say. I adored him and knew that if I ever chose to do this, he would be the surgeon for me.

Later, as Brad and I discussed the pros and cons, the hows and if's, he told me that I had his full support. That we would figure out a way to pay for it, that he would do everything in his power to make it happen for me and that while he loved my completely as is, he understood.

I love that man.

So now it came down to me. Could I make this decision? Could I do something entirely for myself? Could I ask for the help that I would so desperately need in recovery? Could I explain this to my children? Could I take the financial risk? Could I handle the pain? Could I live with myself if I did it? If I didn't?

Could I?

Stay tuned for Part IV, appropriately known as The Decision Heard Round The World


Heather said...

I don't have a darn witty or inspiring thing to say, but I read it and as always enjoyed it. just so ya know.

Sara said...

I have been reading your last few posts and have been engrossed at the beauty you use to describe such a personal struggle. Thank you for sharing and letting us all feel what we as women no matter the size feel all the time. Body acceptance. Thanks. Can't wait to hear the rest of your journey.

Mimi said...

I am torn. I love this story, I am just sorry YOU have had to go through all of this. I feel guilty for looking forward to part IV! But maybe that is because I can't wait until the last installment, the one where you tell us how beautiful you FEEL!

tharker said...

I think this is my favorite installment thus far. Even though I already know the whole story by heart, I love reading it. I love you, I love you, I love you!!!

Knotaklu said...

Karen, You are really an amazing woman. You could use a little help with your Roman Numerals, but other than that, Amazing.

vwbabe said...

I love Brad...I agree with you he is amazingly supportive of you in your endevers. You are so lucky to have such a great husband. I just happened to luck out and get his brother who is equally supportive and awesome. Good job Karen.

Sarah said...

Tube socks with grapefruits at the bottom! I literally laughed out loud. I'm really interested in all you have to say on this subject since I have obviously dealt with some unflattering stretching out in the last few years, especially after this last pregnancy. I don't think I have any stomach muscles left. It took me a good two or three weeks just for my organs to situate themselves back where they are supposed to be, so let's just say things don't look good and most likely never will. I admire your honesty and willingness to share about this.

AOlson said...

I'm with Heather.

T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michele said...

In the words of Bob the Builder and President Obama, "Can we fix it? YES WE CAN!" I'm proud of you!

Washington Rimmasch Family said...

Okay I love to read your posts. You totally crack me up. I can't wait to read the next installment!

almond nuthouse said...

Karen, you continue to amaze me by reading your blog and seeing how open and honest you are with everything. I wish more people were like that, including myself. Just think how much more people could help eachother if we were more open about our problems and challenges instead of trying to hide them to save face or embarassment. I totally love that about you!! Can't wait to hear about the results!

Marilyn said...

Hurry up and post the last installment please! You are brave Karen. Very brave. And I admire you for that!