I arrived at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday afternoon, I was exhausted to say the least. The two days prior I had spent driving back to Florida after visiting my family in West Virginia. I did not sleep at all, mostly because of anticipation and excitement. However, I was also experiencing a whole lot of apprehension. YES, I am completely aware I have been in the public eye of bariatrics for over 7 years, and I am aware I have done extensive traveling on my own with no problems. I am also aware that I have been fortunate enough in my career to be a speaker and advocate of bariatric surgery at many events and support groups.
WHY WAS I SO APPREHENSIVE?? That is another post…(just watch for it)
At the airport a car was waiting for me, a sign that said DUNN. That itself was a huge moment for me. Legally my name is still White, and just realizing how excited and happy I got seeing my name as Dunn was a sign that I need to do whatever it takes to get that changed. The only prohibiting it at this point is monetary, so maybe I need to see if this is something I can do myself for free. Any one with ideas or suggestions please leave comments.
After checking in at the hotel, and again being addressed as Teresa Dunn once again (insert the sky opened up and I could hear angels singing), I decided to go to my room and freshen up a bit. I may not have slept the night before, but I slept mouth wide open on the plane ride. (Yes, I am aware princess points were lost).
The Obesity Online event sponsored by Ethicon Endo-Surgery and the Obesity Action Coalition. Who was invited 20 post op bariatric patients that blog about their experiences after WLS. 20 different and unique post op personalities all with their own special nitch.
- Beth Sheldon Badore (Melting Mama http://www.meltingmama.net
- Andrea Ullberg http://www.wlsvitagarten.com
- Kaitlin Nelson http://www.thebypassedlife.com
- Michelle Vicari http://www.theworldaccordingtoeggface.com
- Dave Fouts http://www.chefdave.org
- Michelle Schiener http://vsgmom.com/
- Toni Towe http://www.bariatrictv.com
- Michael Towe http://www.bariatrictv.com
- Lynnda Shepherd http://www.bariatrictv.com
- Susan Maria Leach http://bariatriceating.com/SMblog/
- Barbara Thompson http://www.wlscenter.com/
- Rachel Lebowitz http://bariatricrevisionary.blogspot.com/
- Colleen Cook http://colleencook.com/
- Cari DeLaCruz http://www.bariatricafterlife.com/
- Taunia Soderquist http://www.divataunia.com/
- Yvonne McCarthy http://www.bariatricgirl.com/
- Emily Gomez http://weightlosthopegained.wordpress.com/
- Laura Preston http://mydailydetour.typepad.com/
- Maria Fitzpatrick http://www.formerlyfluffy.com/
I give credit where credit is due, thanks Beth I stole these links from your blog….and I am sure I will be using many of your photos so you credit up front. 🙂
Thursday evening all 20 of us gathered in the night club of the hotel for a reception. Can you imagine 2o distinctly different personalities. All unique and forming quite the eclectic gathering….at The Mondrian Soho’s beautiful Asian Inspired Mister H. Such a trendy, happening place. Very small as it was NYC. A huge AHA moment noted when I realized how uncomfortable the 20 of us would have been stuffed in this small space prior to our surgeries.I REMEMBER the clostrophobic moments well.
I was humbled to be able to speak openly and one on one with people like Dr. Robin Blackstone who is the upcoming president of the ASMBS. At when I was speaking with her, I wished I lived in Scottsdale, AZ and could be a part of her bariatric program. She is an amazing woman and surgeon and her energy lit up the room. (I had an AHA moment at one point of her presentations when she talked about taking in food as energy and then expending energy, I realized we speak the same language)
After the reception a group of us set out for adventure and a trip to Little Italy. Again, this is something I would have never imagined doing at 385 pounds. The restaurant was small and the tables very close and I just moment and went to that happy place inside myself and thought about what a blessing it is to no longer be bound by obesity.
Our group was lured into the restaurant with the Each person in your party gets a free glass of wine. Funny half of us passed our glass on to the next person, and I am sure he expected a much larger bill with a group this size. Many of us shared plates or had appetizers. We did get to see the lovely NYFD in action. (I swear I did not start a fire)
We walked back to our hotel and I myself was in my cozy and comfortable bed in the Mondrian Soho rather early. It’s funny how I always imagined I would be a party animal if I ever made it to NYC. That was just so not the case.
The next morning we all gathered again and the sessions began. I must admit, I had a burning sense of curiosity. Why has Ethicon paid for and brought us here?
Basically for a beautiful cause. Ethicon-Endo Surgery and the OAC got together and with the assistance of Porter Novelli ( A NY Marketing Firm) to put this event together. I would like to take this moment to say thank you. Not just for making this event possible for us online bloggers (yes that too of course) but thank you for being an advocate for those who suffer and struggle with obesity and the underlying issues of obesity. Thank you for being a voice for those of us who are obese.
Remember when PETA put the sign up referring to obese people as whales… to go “vegetarian”? It was the OAC who fought to have them taken down…
They are the voice that represents us… now here is what I would like to invite you to do…
It is almost impossible for our voices to be heard as individuals. However, by joining the OAC, we become advocates to stop bullying of the obese people, we become advocates to make bariatric surgery available for everyone. We become strength in numbers. Our short term goal is 50,000 members. I am a member and I support the OAC and their actions…
Put this address in your browser and join today…you dont have to be post op. If anyone in your family is affected by obesity… if you are just concerned with being an advocate to help people walk away from obesity…
Yes… there are more posts to come… It’s been a long month and there is so much to talk about…. Thank you so much to my faithful readers for hanging in there with me through these past 3 weeks…. I promise to blog more now that I am back to my routine…