by Jessica Snyder
This summer, I will be undergoing surgery. When I mention this to people, I get sympathetic concern from most. Until I tell them what I am having surgery for. I will be having bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery.
There are such hateful and negative thoughts surrounding this. The main thing I keep hearing is that deciding on this method to lose weight is the “easy way out.” Let me tell you, nothing about this surgery seems easy. To begin, I have had to adhere to a medically supervised diet for the last five months in preparation for how I will have to live and eat for THE REST OF MY LIFE after the surgery. I will be in pretty severe pain for six to eight weeks and the weight does not just fall of. There is no turning back from the surgery, once it is done- I will have to eat a certain way or get violently ill.
I can say with confidence, this is a last resort, not an easy way out.
When you are overweight, certain health risks start to creep up. I am very lucky to have very few of the health risks that most people my size do. However, I am a single mother in my mid-thirties and I don’t want those health risks to find me and steal me from my child. I want to be around for his graduation and wedding. I want to be a grandparent.
My personal reason for electing to make this very difficult decision has zero to do with vanity. Okay, that is probably a lie. I’ll say it has 10-15 percent to do with vanity. Of course I want to wear cute clothes and not be ridiculed for my size. I’m only human after all. With that said, I decided on this surgery as a means to an end. I need to have a hip replacement in the very near future and doctors refuse to operate on my hips until I lose a significant amount of weight. Bariatric surgery gets me to this point faster.
My arthritic hips have stolen way too much of my youth. Having hips of an 80-year old when you are just 35 is like being a prisoner in your own body. It makes exercising more difficult (this is not an excuse, I still work out.) However, the truth of the matter is that my hips are making losing weight harder and my weight is making it harder on my hips. That is quite the conundrum.
I am not telling you any of this to make you feel sorry for me. I’m simply hoping that the next time you encounter someone who is headed in for a life-changing surgery—don’t be negative. Whatever you are thinking, they have thought it a million times already. What they need is love and support.
Remember, we never know a person’s individual struggles unless we ask. Don’ t be so quick to judge. And always be kind.
* This will be my last semester as Editor-in-Chief. I look forward to switching jobs next semester and working as the business manager of The Voice. I will miss sharing these columns with all of you.