There is a well-known quote, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Sounds great, but rarely has something as life altering and universal as fear been reduced to such a trivial statement. Unfortunately for the majority of us, fear is a motivating and sometimes paralyzing emotion. Whether it is a fear of flying that keeps you out of the air, a fear of heights that keeps your feet firmly planted on the ground, or something more internal.
You would think I would be thrilled to find out I was approved for my surgery. And you would be correct. It was a long process to be approved. There was a lot of work on my part as well as Dr. Wallace’s staff to get to this point. Letters to the insurance company, numerous doctors’ appointments, psych evaluations, months of follow-up with my family doctor. It was a long process and it was a great relief to finally be approved.
But it also brought an unexpected rush of fear. I was stricken with a very real thought of failure. You do not become morbidly obese without many very real failures in your life. Failing at diets, failing at exercise, failing at the self-control needed to continually make the right decisions for your life and its longevity. These are the battles I have fought and lost over the last 20 years.
With the failures come the inevitable self-doubt. You cannot fail this many times and not develop a strong sense of self-doubt. Almost immediately after receiving the good news, I began hearing something else. It was a voice deep inside reminding me of the many times I have failed at weight loss before. It was a voice saying, “You’re just going to screw this up the same way you’ve always screwed it up before.” I would hear the voice in my head saying things like, “Good idea, genius, we’re going to give this another try, but this time when you fall on your face you’ll have made irreversible changes to your body too.”
A few weeks after the news though, I have gained some perspective. There is still doubt and fear of failing. But I am learning what to say to that inner voice I hear. Yes, I have messed up to this point. And no, this is no magic fix. But this surgery can be the tool that I never had before. It can be the change to bring success on this journey. Fear is driven by our emotions. Not until we address the true root of our fear can we hope to conquer it and move forward. And as I listen and respond to the self-doubt and fear I take steps forward.
There is another saying that comes to mind. “Ignorance is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” This surgery can be the tool that breaks the cycle of trying the same things and just hoping for an improved result.
||The following is feedback received for this blog:|
Just wanted to say I had this surgery 4 years ago and it is the best thing that I could have ever done!!! I have lost 160 pounds and have kept it off... I feel so much better, I am so much healthier that it is incredible... I fought with my weight my whole life and this life changing surgery is amazing!!!!
Thank you for writing this blog. I have spent the last four months going through this process just like you. I am scheduled to have the surgery on October 14th and I am both happy and nervous. I know that I am doing the best thing for my health. Two of my older sisters have had the surgery. They have been successful. I don't want to brake the ground of diabetes. I am a little worried about what co-workers will say but I am thinking about what is best for me. Please continue to write your blogs as we go through the process. Lynn