When I first decided to have VSG, I didn’t initially come to this board. I did my research, talked to my Drs. and went through the process. Any questions that I had, I was able to research through the internet and typically I found answers. If I couldn’t I would discuss them with my Dr. or my nutritionist during my 6 month pre-op requirement. I found this board just days before my surgery. I came here looking for mutant people like myself. People whose life had spun out of control and sought solace and comfort in excessive food and drink. People who had decided that they have had enough of the churn. People that were taking the steps to improve their health and their lives. People that actually allowed themselves to be spread out on an operating table and let a group of strangers cut out a perfectly good stomach. You see, I don’t have a lot of support at home as my spouse had RNY a few years back and failed to maintain her weight and is fairly obese again. She’s been pretty passive aggressive about the whole thing and, well that’s a whole Jerry Springer episode all in itself. I don’t have any close family, and I didn’t share my surgery with anyone who was particularly close friend wise. For some unexplained reason, I needed to be in a tribe for this journey, so I found this board. I came here and I met a whole raft of nice people, people that I enjoyed conversing with on a daily basis, mutants like myself (you all know who you are, and I thank you for the friendship that you all have extended to me).
I learned things on this board and I contributed and tried to support. As I did, I came to realize that this surgery is a whole lot tougher on some people than it had been for me both physically and mentally. I guess that I had focused so much on trying to lose the weight and get healthy, that I didn’t see WLS as that big of deal. I’ve done every diet, taken nutrition classes as part of my school work, was a pretty faithful follower of good gym habits; I just couldn’t put down the fork and the cup. I barreled through all this like I always had, by not taking any prisoners. It never occurred to me that others weren’t like that, so it was an eye opening experience to hear the struggles of others. As I tried to pass along my experiences and support, I started getting offline messages. Some were funny, some were more questions, but over the last couple of weeks, I got a couple that were just down right mean. I was being chided for responding in an honest and forthright manner, not being judgmental, but offering an opinion based on experience and facts. Then last week, I was perusing a thread over in one of the other sections that basically called out the so called “vets” on the board for hijacking threads and interjecting silliness and nonsense into too many threads. The poster felt like all this should be relegated to the chat room and policed off the boards. What really melted my butter was a reply by someone that I had truly respected, and someone that had been chastised openly on the board for some of their responses, actually agreeing with the poster about how some of the “vets” handled their posts. This was someone that I had actually defended and sent a message of encouragement to, now blazing away at others (and myself, in my opinion) on the board. It was a wake-up call that maybe there are mutants here that don’t come here for the same reasons that I do. Maybe they feel that this should be a very narrow, well patrolled repository of information and facts, and that there’s no room for a joke and a smile and a bit of irreverent behavior among the tribes people.
So, last week I decided to take a few days away from VST and figure out what I wanted from it. Had I graduated from the tribe of mutants? Was this drama that seems to interweave itself into threads on a regular basis worth it? Had I really been that callus in my responses as I was accused of being? I even visited another gastric sleeve board just to get a perspective of how the other tribes live. Then, it dawned on me that we all come here to get something that we need. It might be information, it might absolution, it may be reassurance, and it might even be a joke when we need one, but we all come here seeking something. Because my reasons for being here are different from others, I shouldn’t be castigated for offering an opinion or a word of tough love or even warm and fuzzy encouragement. I shouldn't feel bad to have a joke with a fellow mutant about some nonsense. But, I have decided that for now, it is best that I don’t participate as regularly as I have in the past. I want to continue to learn, I want to see how others react to their quest for health, but mainly I want to be with my tribe. I can do that from the lurkers chair just as easy as I can by participating and I don’t have to sweep the drama from my mailbox.
Thanks for listening – I appreciate each and every one of you for taking the courage to make the life altering changes necessary to live a long and happy life.