Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spilling the beans

If you are considering weight loss surgery, how do you go about telling those you love the path you are choosing for yourself?  Some people will be very supportive, while others will question whether or not you have a brain cell left in your body.  Right now, I'm being very sensitive to how, even if, I will tell someone.  The choice to pursue the gastric bypass is very personal for me and it's a journey that I let others in my life on as I choose.  I've decided I was going to wait to tell my father because, during the last conversation we had about this path, he was dead-set against it.  However, I knew I would tell my mother at an earlier time.  I just didn't imagine that time would be now.

This morning, as I was doing final preparations to pack up my house for the few days I would be gone out of town with my mother visiting family over Thanksgiving, we talked about the medical issues I've been having and what I was doing in terms of how I would be eating over the holiday.  I told her that my doctor is still monitoring me, but that I'm following what the Kaiser diabetes nurse specialist recommends.  Then we talked about my long term goals and I felt that it was the right time to mention my surgery prospects to her.  I told her, "Mom, I wasn't going to tell you about it this early, at least until I am approved, but I have decided to pursue weight loss surgery." I said this to her while I was standing in my kitchen and she was looking at me from the adjoining dining room. Huge mistake.  She started to cry.

I went over and sat next to her and held her hand while she wiped tears away.  These were not slight little tears, they were tears of pain that kept rolling down her face.  There was deep, gut-wrenching pain.  I explained to her that this is a quality of life issue, that I can't keep going down the road I am going down otherwise I might not be here for much longer.  I explained about the Pacific Bariatric Center for Excellence that would be performing the surgery and their success record.   I explained that I have done a lot of research around this and that this is not a quick procedure.  I continued to hold her hand as the tears started to slow down.  It killed me inside, wondering what she was feeling but not brave enough in the moment to ask her.  

Later on, while we were on the road, I asked her if she was upset by what I told her.  She replied that she wasn't upset, but that she's scared something bad will happen to me.  So I went on to explain exactly how the surgery is performed, especially that it will likely be the laproscropic variety.  That eased her mind considerably.  I even brought the orientation book with me and will show her before/after photos of people who have had it done so she understands.  That really helped ease her mind and we could have a good conversation about it.  Her reaction really helped me see that my health doesn't just impact me, it impacts my family as well.  Just as she is concerned that something will happen with surgery, she likely is just as concerned with the weight gain she's seen in me over the years.  I know she always has been concerned, but I suppose this opens my eyes more than it ever has before.  

I'm glad the beans are spilled with my mother, but I also recognize that I simply can't just blurt things out.  I guess, in the moment, I was compelled to tell her but I for sure know I can't do that when it comes time to talk to my father.  That will take some thoughtful consideration on my part.  


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