December 22, 2004

Obese Confessions.

No, I don't take any offense at this, because I know that Acidman loves to stir up the pot and see what boils out first. And no, I'm not going to get all defensive and pout and cry in the corner and nurse my bruised ego over it either. It's counter-productive whining, and I don't go in for that crap. What I am going to do is tell you a little about my history with obesity.

When I was born, I was a large infant. None of the three of us kids was under 8 pounds. I was the largest, at just over 10 pounds. My parents were quite small. My mother was a size 10 at the time, and my dad, who was in the Air Force, wore a 15 1/2 shirt and a size 38 short uniform.

Back in 1957, almost all kids were bottle-fed. Well, on the formula that my mother fed me, I ballooned. I looked like a beachball with fat, creased arms and legs and a round, bald head. Even before I had gotten old enough to crawl, I was so large that my mother took me to the peds doctor at the base hospital, who put me on a diet (yes, an infant on a diet) of Skim Milk. We're talking zero fat. No food, yet. Just skim milk reconstituted from the powdered contents of a Carnation box. And I continued to gain weight.

I walked early, I talked early, I was happy and easy to take care of as a child. I ran, rode my trike all over, played Combat, and Cowboys and Indians with the neighbor kids, but I continued to grow. So again a trip to the peds doctor, who measured and tested and drew blood and did all the things they did back then and contiune to do today. And do you know what he told my mother? "Keep her clean, dress her well, and she'll be happy. She's always going to be large." Large? Large was an understatement.

In the summer between kindergarten and 1st grade I distinctly remember weighing 99 pounds. I remember that because it seemed to me that it was almost the only topic of discussion at my grandmother's farm when we visited between duty assignments in Hawaii and Dover.

In California during the 4th grade, I was put on a 1,000 calorie diet and dropped from 135 pounds to 125 pounds. I was over 5 feet tall when I started the 6th grade, and still weighed 125. I was larger than my mother. By now, however, we were in Indiana, and I was in the process beginning the Great Hormone Wars. Just like my fellow students at both Jr. High and High School, puberty was not kind, and during its course I doubled my weight before I entered college.

After that I yo-yo'ed up and down, Weight Watchers (too much food), Overeaters Annonymous (low carb, it helped temporarily), Weight Watchers again and again, and my weight seemed to always be near the 300 pound mark. Sure, I got as low as 220 once. But each time it came back with a vengance.

Finally, 8 years ago, at age 39, I had gotten to 370 pounds. I had been pregnant 2 years earlier and had gained only 20 pounds, lost all of it, but was still at 370 pounds. I wasn't able to sleep in a bed, so I slept in a chair. Didn't eat. Didn't want to. I ate just about 1500-2000 calories a day, and chased a toddler all day. And worked all evening or night, depending on the shift I was pulling. So when the opportunity came for a surgical "cure" I jumped at it. After fighting with the insurance company for a full year, it was finally approved, and I had my surgery.

Sylastic Ring-Vertical Gastroplasty. Stapled and strictured with the equivalent of an elastic band to keep the opening between the small part and the big part of my stomach from stretching. What this achieved was that for months all I could eat was pureed food. First one ounce per meal, then two, then gradually up to about the equivalent of a cup. One cup. And nothing to drink before, during, or immediately after a meal, or it all comes back up again. Vomitting as dietary enforcement.

And I lost weight. 120 pounds in one year. I lost a person. I was walking almost 3 miles a day, lifting weights, doing the machines at the fitness center at the hospital every day. I had reached the point where I could actually run for a few feet, walk for a while, then run for a little longer. I was toning and losing weight. Sure, I had to give up a lot of the foods I enjoyed because I was no longer capable of eating them. Steak, soft breads, rice, al dente pasta, all lost to me forever. And I didn't even really miss them. I was happy at my progress and they seemed a small loss for what I was achieving.

Then one day, on my way into work, I didn't see the rock that lay before me on the sidewalk, and I stepped on it. It rolled my foot over sideway, torqued out one knee, smashed the other, damaging them to the point where I was unable to walk correctly, and tore up my ankle. The orthopaedic surgeon that the hospital personnel clinic sent me to said I have no cartilege left in either knee, but that I was too young for a replacement. Of course, the replacement is the only thing that will give me back my mobility.

But I refuse to use the electric carts at the store. I walk. The more I walk, the more pain there is, but at least I have been able to keep from gaining back all that I worked so hard to lose. That's been 6 yrs ago. I weigh between 270 and 280, depending on water and hormones.

I'm proud of what I was able to accomplish, and continue to accomplish, by keeping my weight down to where it is now. It might look like I'm a failure, but I assure you, I am not. I'm just big. Always have been. Always will be. At least I'm not on a walker like I was before my stomach surgery. And some days every step feels like an ice pick shoved up into my legs, but I still take the stairs. And the stares. Screw'em. If they don't have anything better to stare at, at least I'll give them a show.

Posted by Mamamontezz at December 22, 2004 03:15 AM

You're right. You are definitely not a failure. And, having had the pleasure of meeting you, I know that I'm right when I say that you are one fine lady. Period.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at December 22, 2004 05:16 AM

Amen my friend. I invite anyone that's perfect to chastise me and the rest, well I just consider the source.

Posted by: WarWagon at December 22, 2004 10:10 AM

There but for the grace of God go I! Just consider the source, prejudice exists in the minds of the ignorant, as long as they have no inflictions they will think they are perfect, they're not. Time will usually cure them of their ignorance, that and an infliction. Hope you get the replacement surgery needed to make life more enjoyable. Have a better one.

Posted by: Jack at December 22, 2004 12:11 PM

I've gotten to the point in my life that if someone stares I tell them what I think. It would be a damned boring world if it was filled with 6 billion skinny people. We're not cut out with cookie cutters for god's sakes. Hon, I won't tell you to ignore crap like this because I know it's hard to. But know this you're worth ten of any of the skinny asses I've known. Love ya sweetie!

Posted by: ElizabethM at December 22, 2004 03:03 PM

Bless his heart, the A-Man only has one paint brush. I'm sure you, Mama, were not the object of this particular brush. Thanks for sharing an inspirational life story. A-Man has shared some of his too - enough to know his heart is in the right place, even when his brush is not.

Posted by: Indigo at December 22, 2004 04:20 PM

I'd say much the same the folks above already have, but I'd add, one more thing. After, or as, you're "givin' 'em a show", give 'me the finger too! And smile ear to ear while you're doin' it. ;)


Posted by: RedNeck at December 22, 2004 05:10 PM

Thank you for sharing. It offers incite into the wonderful person that is Lila.

While maybe not as extreme (please take no offense) I know what it is like to struggle with weight, and as a member of the military that means my career is always on the line.

I am only 5'6" tall and my weight as an adult has fluctuated from 130 (pre AF basic training) to 205lbs. Now at 29 years old I tend to fluctuate from 165-195 depending on the season. Like most people I am much more active in the summer so during the summer months or while on long deployments I get down to around 165-170 and stay there, but once winter comes on, 200 here I come.

Luckily at only 29 I can handle it when I need to but I am clearly predisposed to a heavier natural weight.

Thanks for sharing Mama.

SlagleRock Out!

Posted by: SlagleRock at December 22, 2004 09:42 PM

Thats some peice,I agree with the sentiment of the above,a one fingered salute is called for .
Like many you have been thru alot .
It takes alot of courage to write a piece like that.
Once again I salute you.
Have a great day today.
I have a friend of mine who weigh about 450 lbs and is 5 ,2 he makes 150 k a week, yes a week.
Must be nice.
He told me once ,that people confuse fat with stupid . I dont .As the song says"Im Fat YOur skinny ,who cares,Do the Humpty dance"
Cheers from rainy Tampa Bay

Posted by: LC NeilV at December 23, 2004 07:10 AM

I feel for you when you talk about the pain of just walking, Lila. I pray you get the needed surgery too.

I think of all the miles I've walked and it hurts like hell just walking around a grocery store!

You are far from a failure if you are restricted in your mobility and have not gained. I am constantly gaining weight!!!! LOL.

Posted by: RedFalcon at December 23, 2004 10:09 AM

You're a winner in any shape or form baby. And we '57 babies all blew up off that stuff. I have pictures where I look like a 3 month old sumo wrestler. Must have been a bad crop of the stuff that year. And Mom was too busy playing bridge, drinking martinis, and eating cucumber sandwiches to actually, you know, breast feed. I believe she felt formula was what separated human from beast.

Posted by: Velociman at December 23, 2004 04:42 PM

I've had problems with weight fluctuations all my life also. But one thing remains constant: who I am on the inside! Hang in there; hope you are able to get your surgery and increase your mobility soon.

Posted by: Michele at December 24, 2004 07:30 AM

I have been chubby and not so chubby all of my life, too. I'm pretty heavy now - about 240 pounds (but gee, I've lost 10), and it is so hard to deal with relatives who say, why don't you go on a diet? When I started 'dieting', I was about 170 pounds. Now that I am not dieting, I'm starting to lose a little, but I'll never be a size 8 or 10. And these days, a lot of people think an 8 or 10 is fat!

I think you are a wonderful, gifted woman. The hell with other folk who are too bigoted and mean to see through your weight (or mine!)

Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Beth at December 24, 2004 11:41 AM

It really pisses me off when rail thin people who can eat 3000 calories a day and not gain a friggin pound just assume that everyone who is overweight is a gluttonous sloth (I mean, I am, but I know a whole lot of overweight people like yourself that eat less than the stick people and are still big).
I'm sorry to hear about the pain in your knees. One of my best friends has to stick religiously to Atkins (it worked for him, I hated it) to keep his weight down so he doesn't need knee replacement (this before he turned 30)

I've been heavy my whole life. Right now I'm at about 280 (6' tall). I was really comfortable at around 225-230, still chubby, but when I've dipped below that I actually feel weak (there's quite a bit of muscle under my flab, and I like being able to life heavy stuff).

Those BMI charts pushed by Government Borg irk me as well. My Doctor flat out told me that if I ever hit my BMI weight (178) he'd tell me to eat more (he says my frame size is at least one level off the government chart, my hips are so wide even when I was down to 211lbs I was wearing size 42 pants).
I'm going to lose some weight because I want to, not because the media, the Borg, or a chain smoking Jawja Cracker says I should :)

Posted by: Graumagus at December 24, 2004 12:44 PM

T read this post sevearl times, I can't judge anyone, when I am so fucked up myself. We all have by ways and many of us try to hide them in many ways. When you are big, you can't hide it. My whole family is big, I started out tall and slim, then as I got older, I started to fill out, my backm is shot, so I do a lot of meds, good ones, and now I am down to 215 pounds, I lost 45 pounds in the last three months. The people that has been talking about you you and other large people, have more and larger problems than you do, so don't let it get to you, there day is coming. The sun does not shine up the same dogs ass everyday, and don't forget it, you are a woman with very large balls, Catfish.

Posted by: Catfish at December 24, 2004 05:13 PM

Thought I would stop by and take a look around, and then I read this post. Wow! Congratulations! To go through all that, lose the weight, have that kind of accident and continue to keep it off? Holy Cow! You must have quite a lot of willpower. I could not of done it.

Posted by: BeeBee at December 24, 2004 05:22 PM

Indigo is right about Rob! But no, he clearly wasn't talking about you, as you are not going out of your way to maintain a 400 pound frame. There IS a difference, and I've always noticed.

Having met me, you probably wouldn't think I could offer much in the way of commisseration. But my mom has always been short and round, and she runs circles around me, and eats very little. She had the same surgery.

Love is blind. She's always been beautiful and perfect to me. I never even noticed that my little arms couldn't reach all the way around her, until eventually they morphed into long and stringy arms that could. ; )

Posted by: Key at December 27, 2004 05:28 PM

I was just wondering if there is an overeaters annonymous support group in the indy area?

Posted by: Michelle at January 15, 2005 03:55 PM
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