Welcome to my story…if you are reading this, please know that it has taken over 2 years and a complete bariatric failure to publish this so that you could find courage within your self to do whatever you need to do to care for you.  Mary Ann Radmacher said,  “Sometimes courage isn’t a roar, but rather waking up in the morning to say, ‘I’ll try again.'”  Many mornings have past since September 2016, but here I am…trying again.

There were 3 people in my childhood whom I knew from my beginning of memories, loved me without a doubt:  My paternal grandparents, Annie Mae and A.G. Sheffield and my maternal and beloved Aunt Marcia Gallimore.  Grandma was a strong woman who made 3 meals a day for Granddaddy and whoever happened by, plus lemon pound cakes, fruit cakes, fried fish that she loved to catch herself, those delish pickled peaches and the best chocolate milkshakes ever!  After my mother, stepfather, brother, and I moved away from my birth town of Perry, FL about l972, I only saw my Grandparents 2 weeks each summer when my little brother and I traveled from wherever we lived at the time, to their farm in Shady Grove.  The memories of those weeks are with me always; the hugs they gave when they first saw us each summer left lasting somatic warm imprints; and the special Grandparent love sustained us throughout childhood and into adolescence.

Grandma wasn’t perfect,  for she had learned that girls compete for the attention of beaus and that being thin (although she herself was a tall and large woman) was the way to win a man–that and great food, of course!  3 things happened immediately upon arrival at Grandma’s and Granddaddy’s: 1) she made thick chocolate milkshakes; I set the table for dinner around the round wooden pedestal table centered in her kitchen — which I still have in my kitchen today; and she put my cousin Nancy and me on the scale to see who weighed the least.  I felt badly for Nancy when I was the lightest, but that seemed to always please Grandma.  That pitting of one girl against another wasn’t uncommon here back in those days–and we all know it exists forty years later!

My Aunt Marcia was special in her own right and remained my best friend into adulthood; she even served as my Matron of Honor in my wedding.  Unlike Grandma, she watched her calories, made lasagna with cottage cheese, and introduced me to Tab rather than Coca Cola.  But it was her expressions of love and adoration for me uniquely that won my heart; the brushing of my long hair; letting me choose stylish outfits rather than what i typically wore and her stylish ways that I longed to emulate as I planned to grow up to be just like her!

My therapist once said that it only takes one special person in a child’s life to help them survive all sorts of things. I had 3 people helping me early on, I guess I was fortunate.

The Big Change: 80% of my stomach is gone…internally that is!

Hello, it’s me, Deborah…are you out there?

On September 13th, I had a Sleeve Gastroectomy at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, and although the surgery was major abdominal surgery, the first 10 days afterwards were pretty darn good!  I was up and about–determined not to be dependent on anyone and also not to turn into a couch potato.  I drank Premier Protein drinks with 30 grams of protein and 160 calories with just 5 grams of sugar.  Between this, I drank broth, but only sips and 3/4 cups at a time.  I made breakfast for my son the day after arriving home from the hospital  (who had come to assist for 3 days post-surgery).  This was 2 days after surgery.  I drove on day 4…to Walmart of course.

I have discovered that a fattist resides within me.  While at Publix one afternoon, shopping for cottage cheese for the upcoming pureed portion of the eating transition, I was repulsed by a couple in the dairy aisle.  They were both grossly overweight and had the cart filled with boxed pastries, processed cheese, and were looking for more!  I felt grossed out and had a feeling of superiority.  This is something I must keep in check and work on for the future.

Anxious to get this weight loss thing underway, I began to add pureed foods at the 2-week mark.  HUGE mistake!  Since I was having digestive issues (aka constipation), I decided to add good pureed fiber in the form of black beans, cauliflower, and even enjoyed some cream of broccoli soup that a friend brought over.  I have never had such stomach pains!  At the verge of going to the emergency room in the middle of the night from the pain, I found a large ice pack and drifted off to sleep with it on my belly.  I have been extremely uncomfortable since, as if I am overstuffed 24/7.

Although I did not end up in the emergency room, Sunday evening I did call the oncall doctor at my surgeon’s office with my complaints of horrible stomach pains and intense gas.  He called right away and assured me that this wasn’t something to be frightened of, so I tried to relax.  Usually, I am very discriminating about which websites I trust in regard to health, but I was desperate to get rid of this stomach pain, so I looked everywhere for a relief from gas pains.  I settled upon a fennel seed/ginger root tea–since I had both items in my pantry.  Sipping on it throughout the remainder of the wee hours, I felt no relief.  But I made a large pot and drank it the next day as well.

What I have discovered–3/4 cups of liquid or pureed foods is TOO much!  Sometimes a 1/2 of a cup makes me feel overly stuffed; so, 1/4 cup of liquids at one time is my new plan.  When I saw Dr. Ramirez today, he seemed optimistic that my incisions are healing fine and that I am losing weight.  My day of surgery weight was two-hundred-seventy-seven, and I am now two-hundred-sixty-three at 3 weeks post surgery.  But 6 weeks before that, I topped out the scales at my Primary Care office at 292!!!

Last night and this morning, I regretted this decision, wondered aloud why I had no willpower, why I had no self-control?  There are some horrible complications possible, and this procedure is irreversible as they removed 80% of my stomach!  So…it’s back to liquids and Premier drinks for me for the next week, at least.

I was to return to work tomorrow, but fatigue has taken its toll and I feel worse the past 4 days than I did the day after surgery!  Hopefully, I will return to work Thursday. Later.


Beginning Again

Hi there.  Harriet G. Lerner (one of my favorite women, psychologists and authors) once said in a note to me: “change is the only thing we can count on for sure”–and she is absolutely right.

I was born in l963, graduated high school in ’81, and always believed I should have been born during the “hippy” revolution; hence I seemed and felt just a wee bit at odds most of my life, feeling somewhat out of place.  I love the 70’s music for it’s revolutionary, universal and social themes; love the clothes of the late 60’s; and although I never did the drug scene of the hippy (smoked pot a few times in my 20’s) I believe in the revolution they began back then.  Needless to say I am a member of “Grandparents for Bernie” and voted for Hillary Clinton November 2016.

Despite this seeming liberal bent, I have spent most of my life fighting against changes; hated all the moving around we did in my childhood; disliked leaving my small protective and secure Tennessee high school –I even wrote a poem my Senior year entitled, “Just One More Year.”  I like to consider myself progressive and forward-thinking now, but I have had my moments of being the absolute opposite!  In l984, I voted for Ronald Reagan in my first Presidential vote.  In l987, I clapped loudly at a Michael Dukkakis rally near Nashville while holding my 1-year old daughter and standing beside my Republican young executive husband.  But in l992, the moralistic me voted for George Bush at the last minute …namely because of Gennifer Flowers!

So why am I writing this Blog?  Because I have been an object, a subject, and am determined to tell my life story as it has been and is thought, felt, and lived … by me. This is written almost exclusively for my children and granddaughter.  You see, long ago, while still in college, I pondered the split in women between the “Madonna” the perfect wife and perfect mother and “The Whore” –the Wild Woman and inadequate spouse and mother.  That split, that dichotomy has lived simultaneously within me for decades, and I have battled them more than once!

The title of this Blog was changed from “Looking Glass Deb”, a reference to Alice in Wonderland.  A chaotic children’s tale that, if read as allegory, speaks to the split within us and the question we could ask ourselves, “who am I?” –what is my identity exactly? Alice questions who she is– Is she the wild woman descending into the world of anarchy or the Victorian “angel in the house?” — the Whore or Madonna?  Alice in Wonderland is a world of chaos found down the Rabbit Hole and reflects the the tension between remaining growing up and remaining a child.

Some of you may know parts of my story, but few know it all.

A little context might be helpful at this point:  I lost my Daddy at the tender age of 4 when innocently in love with him as my Ever~after Prince.  Childhood sexual abuse, relocation, a home of domestic violence, and extreme dysfunction kindly characterizes my childhood throughout the Southeast with my mother, brother, and stepfather of my school years.  They changed my name when I entered first grade to “Everett;”  but it was was legally Sheffield all those years, so they could retain the survivor benefit checks.  But all my classmates knew me by my stepfather’s last name.  I wasn’t chubby as a child, but neither was I Twiggy thin.  By adolescence, I was bulemic, taking speed my Senior year in high school to stay thin, or starving myself to be pretty.  I married UP at the age of 22 and left behind my Southern Baptist upbringing, learned to emulate my mother-in-law and drink dry white wine; adopted the “rich” dream of my Mother- in- Law,  of a French Provencial house in Nashville, a gold Rolex, and red convertible Mercedes Benz.

In actuality, that new dream did not jive with my desire to be a missionary as a teen; and later, to join the Peace Corps when a college Freshman.  A tension formed, one that would not crux until I was 28 years old and in the throes of either a major mental crises or conciousness awakening–either way, I landed badly in a Psych ward in Topeka, KS for 2 weeks and into the world of mental illness with a Bipolar Diagnosis; a diagnosis I still live with today almost 25 years later!

Anarchy and a life of strict bourgeoisie conformity defy one another, indeed but are not the only choices allowed these days!

This blog is about my story of struggle, but also about a triumph of coming into myself so that I no longer fear changes, have come a long way from molding myself  to please a powerful mother-in-law, and know that I am a descent human being and woman even if I rarely don the church-doors, even if my idea of God and church has evolved much, and even if my perception and sense of discernment have sharpened while in the hell of mental illness and the morbid obesity that has taken so much of my life away and altered the course of it forever!

The juxtaposition and tension between the life of chaos, exploration, youth and my life of ordered conformity, rules, and convention clashed in l992, perhaps even as early as l991. My life as a morbidly obese woman, beginning not long after that, has been crippling, throwing me into despairs from which I never dream I will emerge.  Yet, today, I say that in all this…I have learned much.; and the prospect of allowing and embracing change is less frightening!

Recently, I texted my son and said: Life has been unusually cruel and harsh for far too long, but I find myself feeling fortunate these days…

This blog does not begin at my birth almost 53 years ago; rather it begins today in the aftermath of harsh life that has been defeating and difficult at times.  Rather than waiting for my Daddy~~ or any other Prince, to rescue me and make it all better;..I gladly accept the responsibility for making it better, for changing my life.  This obesity is a formidable foe, but i continue to fight.

More later about how I am doing just that…