My name’s Jenna. I’m a college sophomore and law school hopeful, and I’ve recently moved back to my home town. I consider myself a hard worker; rarely do I fail. and when I do, I don’t take it very lightly. I have a good life, good friends, and a relatively good self- image. I like to have fun, and I like to work hard. I think of myself as level- headed; I identify myself as a leader. I’m creative- I like to paint, but I’ve had less time for it in my college years.
The past few months have been somewhat of a low point for me. I moved home from Pittsburgh, where I attended the school of my dreams, in order to save money by going to a local university. I took the change pretty rough, but I’m reaching a place where I’m grateful for this experience. Being at home and working at my own pace, I’ve learned that I’m more than my credentials; I’ve realized that certain things are possibly more important than the way I see myself academically.
You see, I’ve spent as long as I can remember critiquing myself on my academics and my professional image that I’ve spent little time truly questioning the way I see myself as a person. In this respite of moving home, I realized that I’ve been so tunnel- visioned, I never considered the fact that my success is nothing without good health.
I’ve been overweight my whole life. both of my parents are overweight, as are my two younger siblings. I conceded at a young age that being fat was just the way I was, a fact of life; the way God made me. I remember that all through grade school, I saw myself as massive. If I had to guess, the way i labeled myself started at a very young age, maybe 2nd or 3rd grade. I think it was because I matured at an early age, feeling cumbersome and awkward around my tiny peers. What could have remained as little more than a few awkward years for an early bloomer spiraled way out of control.
My mom was alarmed by my size. I was registered for weight watchers at nine years old, and when that proved unsuccessful, I was taken to an eating disorder psychologist when i was maybe 12. Don’t get me wrong, I think my mom has always had my best interest in mind; I may have just been less receptive than she had hoped for.
since those years, I’ve continued to gain weight. Yes, you read that right: I now weigh three hundred and twenty pounds. The part that frustrates me the most is that when I look at pictures of myself from eighth grade, I don’t really look all that big; I hardly look out of place. I remember feeling horrible about myself at the time, but I feel even worse now. Did I have any idea that my situation was going to get this bad? Why didn’t I see how preventable it was back then?
The part that scares me the most is the thought that this is going to keep happening if I don’t stop it. If I’ve gained almost 100 pounds since the time I started high school, what am I going to look like when I look back at pictures of myself today and think that I look healthy? Will I be able to walk then? Will I have diabetes? I sure as hell won’t be a successful lawyer.
I’m an adult now, and I’ve learned to listen to myself. I need this vicious cycle to end NOW so that i can get on with my life. I don’t want to wait until i’m middle aged, desperate, and filled with regret. I’ve decided that in order to profoundly and permanently change the course of my life, I’m going to need help. I think I’m ready to admit to myself that my situation is somewhat dire. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and I’m ready for change.
I’ve decided to have weight loss surgery.
For right now, my mom and my doctor are the only people that know. I’ve applied to the bariatric surgery department at a recommended hospital, and I’m waiting for an appointment.
I decided to create this blog for a number of reasons. There’s a lot to be talked about. I want to remember and share every detail of this life-changing experience- as a sort of souvenir, and also as a tool to help other young people through similar experiences. It’s also sort of cathartic for me- I’m almost not sure if I’ve ever even realized some of the things I’ve written thus far until I put them down in words. I plan on posting mainly about my surgery process, but I can already tell that during my journey, I will be faced with issues of relationships, hope, resilience, failure, self-image, and responsibility. I want this to be a place where I can hash out my feelings and though processes about my challenges.
I know that what I have decided to do is not going to be easy. I want to make it clear right now that based on my life’s circumstances, I do not see another viable option aside from surgery to become a healthy adult. I don’t want anyone to think that I think major surgery is a blanket solution for obesity. In fact, for right now, I don’t want anyone to think i have any sort of opinion about obesity in general. Maybe some day I’ll sort all of those feelings out, but for right now, I’m doing me.