Karen’s Story

you are beautiful without gastric bypass surgery

Let me start by saying I’ve been a lost “little girl” for 40 years.

I’ve been living my life with more “masks” than one girl should have — just so that nobody will see the “real” me. One would think it was Mardi Gras year round with the number of “masks” I have (LOL, if it were even remotely funny!)

Truth be told, I’ve always been afraid that if anybody saw the “real” me, they wouldn’t like me, so I put on whatever “mask” I thought the other person — the obviously much more perfect, “got their act together” person — would be most comfortable with.

WELL NO MORE — my masks are coming off — the walls are coming down — and my shame is being used as fertilizer in my garden!

WHY SO MANY “MASKS” YOU MAY WONDER

Lack of confidence — anxiety — awkwardness …

I thought I was fat even though I was very thin at 6' tall. I was very thin as a child — but very tall — then along came puberty and another growth spurt — final height 6 feet tall!

At that time, they didn’t have clothing made especially for tall women (or children).  I felt awkward and “fat”, even though I was still very thin, I was so much taller (and heavier) than all of my friends.  While my friends were wearing a size 6 — I was wearing a size 10.  My pants were too short and hit me wrong — the waistline in dresses didn’t hit me where my waist was — knee highs couldn’t have found my knees with a GPS — even the “go-go boots” of the 70’s (yes, they were VERY POPULAR) hit me mid-calf — and all of this was just the beginning of my downfall.

As a very young and self-conscious girl — I was ashamed — of being so tall — as if it was my fault — or worthy of shame.

I WASN’T ORDINARY AND ALL I WANTED TO BE WAS AN ORDINARY GIRL!

feeling ackward and fat at 14
Once I saw myself as “fat”, even though pictures of my youth say differently, I started withdrawing from the outside world.  I still had friends, but I didn’t want to go and participate in activities with them.  It was embarrassing to run — forget about putting on a bathing suit and swimming — and the only reason to go for a walk was to reach the final destination — food.

THE ONLY COMFORT I HAD WAS FOOD…

…and no I don’t mean fruits and vegetables.

I would walk a mile to school, but I always stopped at the Plaid Pantry for a little something — candy, cookies, Hostess — whatever.  I became a closet eater.  I had food hidden in my desk at school — my locker, later on — and hidden in my bedroom at home.

AND THEN CAME SUCCESS … IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT THAT!

I finally succeeded — I turned my vision of myself into reality — I was fat — and ultimately — obese.  Isn’t that a horrific  word.  I remember going to the doctor once when I was 16, and he referred to me as voluptuous.  At first I thought that was a good thing — then I found out he meant my now size 16 frame was waaaay too large! Add another “shame quill” to my “shame porcupine”.

ALL THE WHILE I CARRIED SHAME THAT WAS NEVER MINE TO CARRY

My “shame porcupine” had a lot of “shame quills”. Like a porcupine, these quills protected me from anybody getting too close to me.

I carried so much shame for things that I didn’t deserve to have shame over — they weren’t MY shame.  I said I was going to remove the masks and let everybody see the real me … well here we go:

  • TOO TALL — how could anybody relate to or like me (I’m awkward…)
  • FAMILY ALCOHOLISM — how could I invite anybody over to play?
  • MOLESTED BY EX-STEP-FATHER — It was only for a short time, but with long term repercussions and shame
  • OBESITY — who could love “this” out of control girl — living an out of control life

I TRIED TO LOSE WEIGHT — OH YES, I DID!

I tried to lose my weight quite often, with some successes and some failures — but I always gained it back + more — add another “shame quill” to the porcupine that had become — me.

Here are just a few of the many diets I tried — some healthier than others… i'm-on-a-diet

  • ATKINS
  • WEIGHT WATCHERS
  • McDOUGALL
  • COUNTING CALORIES
  • EATING ALL PROTEIN
  • EATING ALL CARBS
  • FOOD COMBINING
  • STARVING
  • EX-LAX (I mean a whole box of 60 at a time)
  • NUTRI-SYSTEM
  • JENNY CRAIG
  • and finally…

GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY

There were so many diets I just can’t remember them all, but my final act of desperation was gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery was also one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  I did lose all the weight (200 lbs) — only to find myself a scrawny, droopy, saggy, six foot tall, size 10. It definitely didn’t look like the size 10 of my youth!

Let me just say — for any of you who are considering gastric bypass surgery — there is no way to lose so much weight, so quickly, without being left with droopy, saggy skin; near empty boobs, and a butt that could pass as a collection plate.

gastric-bypass-surgery

BUT IT GOT WORSE!

When I had the surgery I was told that I would “sugar dump”. Sugar dumping is what happens to MOST gastric bypass patients when they eat sugar.

  • It feels like you’re having a heart attack. In fact, it feels so bad, you hope you’ll die quickly, just to get it over with.
  • Or sometimes you just becomes exceptionally, instantly sleepy and lethargic and you absolutely MUST lie down!

Neither of those things are what happened to me.  My body reacted different than most.  I could eat all the sugar and junk food I wanted, but I could NOT eat the healthy foods without throwing it up — and not just in the short term — but even now — 15 years later! What that means is I can’t tolerate most meats and most veggies are out too. Things like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, any soft leaf lettuces, etc., all cause me problems.

“WELL AT LEAST YOU GOT THIN, KAREN, SO MAYBE IT WAS WORTH IT”

Oh, I can hear you now, but not so fast my friend — fast forward 15 years …

I have gained most of the weight back and still my body can’t process enough nutrients to sustain a healthy body.  The results being:

  • DEGENERATIVE  BODY – both knees, both hips, back (including a protruding disc in my back)
  • ANEMIA
  • LOW POTASSIUM AND LOW MAGNESIUM — resulting in a cardiac arrest from an otherwise completely healthy heart! Karen Carpenter died from anorexia, but it was really from being deplete of potassium and magnesium. It stopped her heart, just as it did mine!
  • ARTHRITIS

Those are just some of the results of my gastric bypass surgery, leaving me with the overwhelming feeling that I’m too old (or to young) for this s#%t.

I NEED TO DO SOMETHING NOW!

I need to lower all my self-protecting devices and masks and live openly and honestly.

I am working on really loving myself (warts and all) — changing what I can — and embracing what I can’t.

God created ME, he gave me so many talents that I have cast aside — devalued — or outright buried.  I don’t mean talents like singing (I wish), or dancing, or art — but HE gave me the talent of loving others — compassion — a servants heart — and laughter.  Thank you LORD for those gifts.

THE TRUTH OF MY LIFE AND MY JOURNEY

i am strong enough for this weight loss journey
I will do my best to say it the way it is — the good — the bad — and the ugly.  I hope that we become inspirational friends for each other and help climb the mountain together — squealing like kids as we slide down the other side into the Valley of Peace.

Here’s to Peace, Love, and New Beginnings!

signature-karen

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela Davis

Karen, what an honest, heartfelt testimonial! You are a beautiful, compassionate, fun, lovely woman and you deserve to be happy and live free! I’m so glad you have this outlet to express yourself and share. Thank you for your honesty, and I wish you happiness and great health. God Bless!

Love,
Angela

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Karen

Thanks Angela! So sweet of you to stop over here and give me such encouragement!

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Christi

Stunning and Honest! I love you!

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Karen

Christi I so appreciate you, your spirit, and your love. I thank the Lord for bringing you into my life.

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Kletia

Great job! It is dumbfounding me that I have known you for so long! Hoping to be able to see you soon…
Love you!
Kletia

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Karen

Thanks Kletia for checking this out and the kind words of encouragement. I hope to see you soon too, and would love to take this inspirational journey together.

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Melinda

Miss Karen;
Growing up without a sense of value for myself, I can totally relate to the “if only they knew the real me” comment. I am not sure why the message sticks, but the enemy is very successful at removing confidence God gave us to appreciate his masterpiece. You are a lovely woman and it doesn’t matter to me WHAT you have done (although – knowing you – yeah, as if). You are a wonderful, fantastic woman and friend that God has gifted with beauty, kindness, compassion and genuine love for others.
And I do love you ………… warts and all!!!

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karen

Thank you Melinda. I so appreciate you and your words of encouragement…ALWAYS. You truly do have a “Jesus spirit” and I can learn so much from you. I am looking forward to what the future holds.

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