Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coming Out as a Lap-Bander

When I chose to have the lap band procedure I was pretty sure that I was going to keep it a secret. I would tell a few people here and there but for the most part - it would just be a pact with myself. You know.. the whole, "ain't nobody's business but my own" type of thing. As I progressed through my scheduled nutrition classes and a meeting with a doctor for the psychological evaluation, I've come to realize that I can't do this on my own. If I'm going to be successful, it's going to take a village (to quote Hillary).

Living in a state separated from your family isn't exactly a situation you'd want to have as you're embarking on this life changing procedure. I was given approval by my insurance company and given a surgery date (both were told to me during the same phone call) well before I decided to tell anyone what I was intending to do. I included a couple of friends who already knew my struggle with weight and they were supportive - but now comes the next step.

Who knew that telling people that you're having lap band surgery could cause so much anxiety?

Outside of telling two of my friends, I told my boss the week I found out about the insurance approval and surgery date. She would have to know because I'm taking off a full week to have surgery. She was supportive, just as I knew she'd be. So supportive that she is the one driving me to the hospital on February 23 and is planning to stay with me until I'm out of surgery. That shows you just how supportive she really is! Next, I told my father. This was a little nerve racking. It totally brought me back to being 24 and coming out as a gay man. You get anxious, nervous, a little frantic even. What will they say in response to what I just told them? Would they think I was taking the easy way out? Do I think I am taking the easy way out? Would they try to convince me that "I'm not big enough" to warrant such a serious surgery? Then when I told him, he simply said, "Do what's best for you - this will just stay between you and me." It almost felt like it was like I just came out to him and he's "protecting me" - or was it because he preferred that I tell my brothers and my sister on my own? I've yet to tell my siblings. I guess I'll tackle that this weekend. I came really close to telling my older sister last weekend but chickened out.

I had a conversation with my boss that centered around my telling the staff. My reasoning was to have the information out there so that they can support me the best way they could. Her initial idea was that it's no one's business other than my own and those I share it with. In a way she's right - However, I wanted to share it with everyone. It makes talking about things a LOT easier. It's very similar to owning and accepting your sexual orientation as being gay. I'm owning and accepting that I am having this surgery. There's nothing to be ashamed of. I've tried well over 20 diets in my lifetime. I've taken several types of appetite suppressants and "fat burning" pills. I've once hired a personal trainer and I've bought over a half dozen diet books. The only weight-loss strategy I've successfully mastered is the art of the Yo-Yo Diet.

Coming out as a lap-bander has given me strength. As I tell each person, I realize that they all just want me to be happy and healthy. It makes the process a lot easier. Today at work, I told 5 people about the surgery. Each time it became easier and easier. Tomorrow I have one last person to tell. It's a lesson I learned at 24 - The more people you tell, the more power you give yourself to be the most successful YOU that you can be and the less power you give to the secret you're hiding.

Today, I've decided to live in my own truth.

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