I am only a paper girl, living in a paper world…

Ya know it’s funny.  I had a little incident this afternoon that has me sad and steamed at the same time.  I had zero intention of writing about it until I read my friend Kim’s (knitten kittens) blog.  That deals with this very topic.

I have not been shy about how much weight I have lost since my surgery.  Nor have I omitted telling anyone how my weight loss odyssey began.  I am not ashamed of the fact that I made an impossible decision to save my life.  It is what it is.  However…It took me five years to make the decision to have Gastric Bypass.  Would you like to take a stab at the number one reason why it took me so long?   Because I felt that if I “caved” in and had surgery that would be me taking the easy way and admitting failure.  I was wrong, I was uneducated about the process, I wasn’t yet claiming any responsible for the failure or success of having such a procedure work for me.  My second greatest fear, because I am lame and often care far too much about others opinions, both those I know and perfect strangers, was that “they” would think I chose the easy way out.  Because they are uneducated about the process, because they don’t know that in order to be successful, you must claim responsibility for the failure or success of the procedure to make it work for you.

On some level this process has been a dream for me…I had not come up against anyone so far who voiced the opinion that I took the easy way out.  I had not come up against anyone who voiced the opinion that my weight loss somehow meant less than someone who was able to achieve weight loss success in a gym or their kitchen alone.  I had not personally experienced that until today.  But today those walls of bliss came tumbling down with three ugly words.

I work in a very small office.  There are only a handful of people here.  I am one of 4 girls that work daily in our office.  I have in general received great amounts of support from each of the other girls in turn.  Janie* has had a tremendous amount of success through WeightWatchers and going to the gym.  She has worked very hard and diligently to achieve a healthy life.  She has been nothing but supportive of me during my process, never once intimating that somehow my weightloss doesn’t count because I started out in an operating room and not a gym.  Sally* has recently begun her own quest for health and weightloss.  She is doing very well, she is still fairly early out of the gate but she is doing an incredible job.  She and I have not talked about my surgery or my weightloss all that much but I have never gotten the feeling from her that she begrudged me any of my success.  Mary* has been supporting from the beginning.  She worried with me, she cheered with me, I felt like she was on my side.  Until today…

The four of us were together, returning from a birthday lunch.  When the topic of weighloss came up, Sally has lost 20+ lbs. in the last few weeks, through controlled diet and exercise.  Janie, who is very close friends with Sally jokingly made a comment about Sally’s success so far.  It was a joke and not intended in any negative light and both Sally and Janie knew and understood this, however Mary, who was sitting in the front seat thought that I was the one to make the joke and not Janie and she immediately interjected that “No comment was necessary from the Cut & Paste girl” because Sally had earned her weightloss.  I was so incredibly hurt by this comment I cannot even begin to tell you.  Mary was not kidding.  I immediately spoke up and said that I was not the one who made the comment it was Janie…but the damage had been done.  She did not take it back, nor did she apologize for her incensitive and judgemental comment. 

The cut & paste girl….can you even imagine…all the hard work, sacrifice, pain, emotional upheaval, choices, sweat, fear…dismissed just like that.  The cut & paste girl…All of the highs and lows I have shared with her, trials and triumphs all tied up in a neat little bundle of judgement and humiliation.  The cut & paste girl;  who’s opinion doesn’t really count because she took the easy way out…

And people wonder why it is so difficult for some WLS patients to be honest and forthcoming about having chosen to have surgery and have a shot at living a valuable, healthful, vibrant and full life.  It’s because no one wants to be the cut & paste girl…

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