When I published the post about my transformation (see here) I found it really hard to write about my weight loss journey and to share publicly some really personal information about me – I hope you get me on this – it was personal, it was real and it was painful to reveal, publicly, just how badly I had treated my body and how long I had neglected it and me.
Since going public, so to speak, I’ve talked to lots of people about my weight loss surgery and hope that in a way I’ve helped a few people to move forward with their plans – whether they to be have surgery, to lose weight or to get fitter. I certainly have had some great responses to my blog and to some of my tweets about fitness and it always surprises me how non judgmental people are compared to how I thought they might have been. I guess in a way we are often our own worse critics and we should take note of this from time to time, particularly when it’s difficult to get the right words for things.
So where is all this leading ? Well I thought the transformation story was hard to write and it was, but this post is even harder because it’s more personal and a little more revealing. Its the final part of my transformation journey in terms of surgery talk and massive changes and I guess I’m more shy about writing about this part of my journey than the first transformation post, but in fairness to those who had read my blog and taken inspiration from it – I guess I need to cover this side of my journey too.
So what am I talking about ? Well – the final part of the transformation was that I had some fairly extensive and major reconstructive surgery to put my body back together again after losing a massive 72kgs.
I had been a yo yo weight gainer/loser for as long as I can remember, and at my age (45) the body is less able to shrink back to it’s former beautiful self after such a massive weight loss in such a short period of time despite all my best efforts to help it to with extensive exercise. As a result – I took a major decision to have some reconstructive surgery at the end of my weight loss journey to remove some excess skin which had failed to shrink back to where it should be.
Not all people need surgery, not all people want surgery or can afford surgery (it cost me at least the price of a new car and some). BUT for me – it was the final part of the weight loss journey which I had to do. When I started out losing weight and having weight loss surgery, I NEVER thought that I would have any form of reconstructive surgery – that seemed far too dramatic, expensive and unnecessary and if I’m honest – kind of vain. BUT as I got closer to my target weight, I was really unhappy with how my body looked. Not in terms of size – it was smaller and leaner, but in terms of the excess skin which when I looked in the mirror was a constant reminder to me of my former fat self and it was a daily constant reminder which I HATED and needed to do something about. Sure if I was fully dressed, you couldn’t see it – but I knew it was there and I decided to take action for a whole host of reasons.
In a way, I was disappointed that I had not managed to shrink back to a perfect body despite all of my best endeavours in the gym and believe me I really worked hard to sculpt my body and tone muscle, but at the end of the day I had to accept that despite all of this – the skin would not shrink back totally. It’s not all bad news about the exercise though – obviously I had got fitter and reduced my body fat percentage which, when it came to surgery meant that it was only skin that was removed and not excess fat.
Recognising that I wanted to do something about the excess was a hard decision, but the right one for me. I did a ton of research before finding an appropriate qualified surgeon who would undertake such a large and complicated job and I also thoroughly researched the actual surgeries, complications and results etc. This was a major decision and I was going to have two major surgeries with a long period of recovery too.
After a lot of consultations, digging deep into my savings and much research in April 2011 I had the first of my surgeries, it was a 13 hour surgery and I spent the next 8 weeks recuperating before undertaking my second surgery which took 12 hours and a further 2 months of recovery. Each surgery consisted of two procedures which were joined together following the advice of many plastic surgeons. In total I took 4 months out of my life to have these major surgeries and to recover before finally being signed fit to resume light exercise in September 2011.
Recovering from surgery was tough, it was painful & uncomfortable and I had a few complications along the way which put my recovery back a bit – but I had researched this and knew what to expect. I was also not cleared to drive for a long period too so logistics became a real issue and I had to rely on others around me which is not something I take to well ! Not only that – but it put my fitness back a long way and when I started exercising after a 4 month break I felt like I had slipped back a long way and I was almost a beginner again.
On a positive note – this was when I had time (lots !) to start my blog and to start using Twitter – so it’s not all bad 🙂
I don’t regret having surgery, it was the ‘final frontier’ if you like, I had a grand total of 2lbs of excess skin removed – not much really – but in terms of body shape and confidence it made a whole lot of different as it changed my shape just that little bit more to be in keeping with my new fitter self.
I still have scars, some of them are extensive – but this was all part of my research – not only about having the surgery and recovering, but about living with long and visible scars versus living with excess skin – there is certainly a trade off which you have to accept. If you exercise with me then you can see the large scars they are still visible (hey they are only just a year old) but will fade, the others – well they are mainly hidden and can’t be seen even when I’m wearing a swimsuit or bikini.
I don’t for one minute regret having the weight loss surgery, or the reconstructive surgery, or for that fact the scars – for me both were the right decision for me.
And so here ends this post, probably the one and only post I’ll make without some pictures – I’m sure you’ll appreciate why.