Coping | IBD | Ostomy
Yup, thats me.
That is the face that I wore during the first 2 years of my sickness. That is a face that has been created by high dose prednisone, late night eating and depression. That is the face of a UC flare. I’m sure you guys know that face, and I’m sure many of you have even worn that face too.
When I look at the person in the picture, I can’t even relate to her anymore. I almost don’t even remember what it is like to be her. It isn’t even the weight that is unfamiliar to me now, its the emotions of being so sick, scared, lonely, etc. The uncertainty of the future.
I was never stick figure thin. Hell, I was never even really thin I was probably more like average. Perfectly average. Ok, maybe more like average +. When I got diagnosed with UC, I read how many people lost weight and were malnourished. I stupidly thought, “Well at least I got the skinny people disease.” Of course, my flare wasn’t untreated long enough to get skinny…instead I got fat. Yes, I am going to say fat. I gained 50+ lbs in a 4 month span. I remember my face was so big I could see my cheeks out of my peripheral vision. My stomach had grown so quickly that I had developed deep and wide stretch marks so purple that I knew they would never be disguised. I was so embarrassed. My sister had her baby shower during this period of time, and I remember I literally hid in the other room because I was so ashamed of how I looked. Later when my one and only niece was born, I didn’t allow any pictures to be taken of me holding her. This picture, is one of the few that exists and I took it alone with the intention of never showing anyone. I wanted to remind myself who I was at that moment in time.
Around this time I had my second surgery for my jpouch. That surgery failed due to my body mass. I have never known a more severe devastation before or since that moment. I had to lose 40 pounds before my surgeon would try again. It was a long road. A really difficult road. And my god did I hate that stupid road while I was on it.
But i did it. Exercising and eating right became my life. I got a trainer and a literally worked my ass off. When I started this process I was so depressed and discouraged. However, through this weight loss, I learned a lot about myself. When I started to lose this weight, this is where I started to be proud of who I was. I had been blogging, and people were reading it, but I wasn’t proud of what I was doing or who I was. As the pounds began to drop, my self esteem began to rise.
I lost the weight. I had the surgery, and I now have my jpouch. I have continued to lose weight since then and have now lost a total of 60 lbs and counting. Now I want to lose this weight to be healthy, not because I look at myself in disgust. I can honestly say that I really appreciate who I am now, and losing this weight is part of what did it for me. Weight loss was the catalyst but UC is the other part. UC itself has put me in so many scenarios that I’d never thought I’d be in (like starting this website), and introduced me to so many AMAZING people. UC has made me who I am right now, and I am thankful for it.
I am thankful that I got UC, that I gained the weight, and that I hit my rock bottom because of it. I have since learned how to pull myself up from these types of situations and how determined I can be.
This is me now. I am happy, healthy, colon-less and so proud of who I am.
Omg…reading this has me in tears. I have literally given up on losing weight because every time I do lose weight I always wind up getting sick & gaining the weight back from the prednisone.
Jackie – thank you so much for sharing. I know it’s hard to put the Prednisone picture up- I have the “same” one up on my blog! I’ve avoided having my picture taken recently as well. You were right where I am now. I had my colectomy recently and will need to lose 40-50 pounds before my next surgery (jpouch creation). I too had the massive stretchmarks form on my stomach from pred. I had like 15 of them that formed over a two week period! I’m glad to see that someone was successful and has “been there, done that!” I remember your bikini picture up on the girls with guts facebook page and you look great. Not just great for having had IBD, not just great despite having had surgeries, but great compared to every other person out there!
Wow, this was really inspiring to read! I actually have the opposite problem—it’s so hard for me to gain weight. Sometimes people tell me how “lucky” I am to be skinny and I try to tell them that it’s not as much of a walk in the park as they’d think. I really have so much respect for people working to both gain and lose weight, because both can be extremely challenging, depending on the person and the circumstances. You and I have different stories and I won’t attempt to compare my situation to yours or anyone else’s. But I’ve struggled with my body image at times due to the weight factor, so I can relate in that sense. I think your story is one that all IBD patients should read, regardless of what end of the spectrum they’re on. It’s a reminder that physical side effects are not always permanent, that hard work can pay off and that it’s not what makes you who you are. I think it’s also a reminder to all of us not to judge based on outward appearances.
Thanks for sharing, Jackie!
I’m going through the same thing at the moment. Waiting for my second surgery for constructing the J pouch and my surgeon wants me to lose 20 pounds… Im feeling a bit discouraged right now but reading this helped. Thanks!
Thank you for this. My “moonface has me hiding from the world. I guess just reading your story reminded me that all is not lost.
I am impressed.
How long did it take you to low down your weight?