Last week I sat in an office speaking with Tiffany Bass, she is the Bariatric Coordinator for Hollywood Bariatrics. She and I have known each other for several years and I have a lot of respect for her. Tiffany is getting ready to open a Bariatric Support Service office, it is like a concierge for Bariatrics. It is open to all patients, no matter who the surgeon, type of surgery ect.
ALL are WELCOME here. The need for follow up support in Bariatrics is huge, and I am so happy to see this come to be. We talked about before and after photos and I laughed as Tiffany said she would love to see a before and after photo of our (meaning post ops) brains. This was something that I completely understood, as I myself often talk about how I grew as I shrunk. It is like as my body shrunk my mind and spirit expanded. Imagine, a before and after photo of your brain. Often in support groups I speak of the struggles I have had with bariatric surgery, not to hold a victim card, or to gain sympathy or pity, but to show how this post op life is not glamorous.
You may look at me and see a successful post op, in a pretty floral dress with a big smile and flowing hair. But, underneath is someone who has had her issues. Transfer addictions were real for me, and I took a taste of that life and got scared to death. There was only one way of dealing with these issues for me and that was to go back and touch the emotions I had always medicated with food. In order to touch them, I had to find them.
This was accomplished for me in therapy, often I felt like I was moving as slow as a turtle. Then my therapist would talk about how fast I was moving and that I was on the fast track. I guess now, time seems irrelevant, as the important thing is I managed to go back and find the misprograming and reweave the cloth from which I was cut. That is somewhat like consciously changing my own DNA, and I guess that is somewhat like magic. On days that I felt like I was moving at a turtles pace, I would sometimes grow discouraged. At times I would get angry with my therapist and myself. It’s funny one of the things I appreciated when I started therapy was that she told me up front that I would come to cross roads in my journey and I would have to make a left or a right, or just get stuck and stop. She said she would never tell me which way to turn, but she would tell me what might happen on the left turn and what might happen with a right turn, she would let me decide, but she would be there for me no matter what turn I took. I loved that, finally someone to listen and not decide for me. Then when I would get discouraged thinking this process was taking too long, I would get angry and WISH she would just TELL me what to do.
This is the answer she gave me: Struggle is Good! I Want to Fly! Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it. The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat. One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly. The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out. At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress! The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged! As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand. But neither happened! The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly… As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him on her lap and explained that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly. As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.
In the past two years, I have learned that Bariatric surgery is a tool, and that tool will certainly facilitate weight loss, but unless the underlying cause of our obesity is treated…. it is going to be a very rocky road to travel. Often, I laugh and say bariatric surgery helped my physical body to heal, but I took a more holistic approach in finding treatment for my mind and spirit! I laugh, but it’s true! It’s a beautiful thing that Tiffany Bass get this message and is putting together a program for post ops.
Love and Light, Teresa~