Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Twelve Year Project, Part IV

Yes, I could.

And so, on February 12th, I entered into six hours of nipping, tucking and lifting. The good surgeon removed six inches from my tummy and did a major abdominal repair. My muscles were shortened and pulled back together, and then he sewed a corset between them to keep them in place permanently. He then moved to my chest where he removed a ton of excess skin, lifted them back up and filled them to their normal capacity.

If I had any sense, I would keep this all to myself. And that was my original plan. I told my family and close friends, all of whom gave me their full support. I quietly called my RS president to explain why I would be MIA for awhile and asked her to keep it to herself, which she graciously did. Above all else, I did not want to become the gossip that circulated round and round. I didn't want people judging me or thinking ill of the decisions I made. I was so scared to be cast out for making a decision that, while it felt more than right to me, is a decision that not everyone would make.

And then I got over it.

And that's why I decided to share this chapter of my life. Because it's not about plastic surgery. It's not about being judged. It's not about doing what everyone else would do. This whole thing, from beginning to end, has been about me. My wants and desires and issues. All of it has been 100% about me and that's where the real issues lie.

I think as women, we do everything we can for everyone around us all the time. We sacrifice, sometimes because we want to, others because we feel we have to, every inch of ourselves for the greater good. I do this all the time. My whole life is focussed on what I can do for others and I wouldn't have it any other way. I have chosen to live the way I do and I love it. But this? This was all about me and it made me feel selfish which is something I never want to be. I was so held up on doing something solely for me and even though Brad assured me repeatedly that it was more than okay for me to make a decision for myself, about myself, all by myself, I struggled. I questioned and wondered and tried to make sense of it all. I spent more time in prayer about this one issue than ever before. I couldn't get past the idea of doing something solely for me because I wanted to. Because it was important to me. Because it would affect my life and make me feel better. Isn't that the very definition of selfish? Wouldn't everyone think I was horribly vain and judge me endlessly?

And then, after more than a year of trying to figure it out, I got over that too.

It doesn't matter what other people think. This was a drastic decision, a huge event that would change the rest of my life and I had every right to decide for myself. It's wasn't about anyone else and I learned, the long way, that it's ok. It"s ok to do the things and make the decisions that will have positive impacts on my life, whatever they may be. The reasons don't matter. The judgments that may come are inconsequential. It's not always about other people. Sometimes, every once in awhile, it's just about me and that's ok. I can do things for myself for no other reason than because I want to and it's ok. I can make myself better. I can take control and improve myself in any way that I need. I can even be selfish. For a time, I can ask others for help and focus on myself and it's ok. It doesn't make me a bad wife, mother, friend, or woman. It makes me me and I am more than ok with that.

So that's why I told you. Because I don't want you to doubt your needs, whatever they may be, like I did for so long. I don't want you to feel like you can't do something solely for yourself. I don't want you to get lost in what others may think or feel about what you do or how you live your life. It's your life. It's my life. And all of it is ok.

I am happy to say that I am recovering beautifully thanks to the love and support of so many wonderful people. My husband, my family, my friends are unbelievable and the help I've received and continue to receive is a gift I will never forget.

And all the time I spent wondering if this was right, or if I would be judged, or if I could do what I wanted for a change and still be a good person seems incredibly silly. Because this body? This body that is stitched from hip to hip and bruised and swollen and tender?

Feels fantastic.

20 comments:

lindsay>boo said...

I'm really very happy for you and glad you did this for yourself. I'm glad you're "You" because you are absolutely terrific and wonderful wife, mother, daughter, friend. You look AMAZING and I'm so happy to see you are healing nicely.

tharker said...

I feel like a proud mother right now. Isn't that silly? But it's true. I am just so happy for YOU that you are not only feeling good, but are truly happy with this decision. I stand behind you 150%.

P.S.
You DO look fantastic!

jen@odbt said...

I've been thinking about this for a long time now...long time. My husband is supportive but I seem to be having those same thoughts keeping me from taking the next step. Thanks for being so honest and true. I am so glad you're doing well and feeling fantastic. Good for you!

Sarah said...

I can only imagine how sore you must be, but the excitement probably makes it bearable! I think you are SO right. It is unbelievably hard as a mom to do something that is totally focused on ourselves. We give everything to everyone else and sometimes not much is left over. I say good for you, and good for putting it out there. There are always those who will have something negative to say, but who cares. I really appreciated reading your feelings about this. Here's to your new bod!

Kate said...

good for you!! I totally agree with what you did, and no one should ever judge you.
As soon as I am done having kids, that will be one of my goals is to get back to my "old" self...and if that means surgery, so be it.
You totally inspire me and I can't wait to see how you look!!
Hope you are feeling well!

hatch said...

You are so brave! I admire that about you, you will touch so many people with your story. It sounds so painful, I hope your recovery continues to go well for you.

Tana said...

I remember a brief conversation we had at Lindsay's months ago. I am so glad you set this goal for yourself and made your way through all the internal garbage to get where you wanted to be, despite what anyone might think. You are awesome and I have been checking your blog daily this week to get to the next chapter of your story. Thanks for sharing.

Mimi said...

I don't think working your tail off (and everything else I am sure), is selfish. This was all WORK! And you have done it will a smile. AND you have inspired so many. I think caring for your body is wonderful and motherly and wifely. Thank you for sharing this and I am so excited to see you!

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I loved it. And I say good for you! Good for you for working so hard and doing it for yourself. I'm sure you look amazing.

Heather said...

This is such a controversial, sticky subject on which everyone will NEVER agree. Glad you are putting it out there, and being true to yourself. Love ya!

Ms. Kristen said...

OH HONEY......I can't wait to see ya! Glad you said something...cause I was tired of saying "I don't know why she had surgery????" to people that asked me!
If I ever loose my 80 pounds....I will want you in the surgery center with me, holding my hand!

Shayla said...

Karen, I just really admire you. I've always thought you are such a beautiful woman, I think your spirit just shines every time I see you. It's sad that we as women can be so petty and judgmental, but it's completely empowering to get to a place where you can be okay with who you are and the decisions you make and not worry about what the next person is thinking or saying. I've been there in many of the decisions in life and have had to learn the long and hard way that it doesn't matter what other people think, only what I feel is best for myself. I think sharing these things about ourselves, putting ourselves out there, will often bring more truth and light to those around us and help the rest of us feel not so alone in our own lives. And like I tell myself over and over, if anyone doesn't like it...well, they don't have to read it!

stylist to the stars said...

Whoooo Hooooo! It was a long time coming and you look great!

Amy said...

I think I said most of what I wanted to say in my email. But after reading what your decision is, I have to add that you are going to be sooo happy!

There is nothing like feeling, that after everything your body goes through to bare those beautiful children, that you feel a little like yourself again, maybe even better.

Congratulations!!

Trevor and Sara said...

One of the bravest decisions EVER. Your honesty brought tears to my eyes...You have truly inspired me. Thank you!

Sara said...

Honestly thank you. Thank you for so much more then you can understand, your words brought a justice and peace to what so many times I feel horrible about feeling. Why is not ok for us to take a moment or even a month for ourselves to heal and be. Thank You!

Kelly said...

You've worked hard and deserve to be happy with your body, mind, and soul. This decision shouldn't be controversial, it's completely individual...no one but you has walked in your shoes. I'm so glad it went well, you look fabulous, and your spirit seems to be soaring. And that is wonderful. :)

Brooklet said...

You had me in suspense day by day reading this. I haven't had a chance to write a comment until now because I always have a baby in my hands. . .

any ways, I hope you are healing nicely and with not much pain (because it all kind of sounded ouchies!). I think it is absolutely awesome that you made the commitment to be healthy and to lose 70 pounds. That is AWESOME.

Washington Rimmasch Family said...

You are amazing, an inspiration, a beauty inside and out and you always have been. I'm so glad you did this for you and that all is going well.

Andre said...

I think you are very brave to have done this. We worry about what others think way too much. I'm excited to see your improved bod!