Thursday, November 11, 2010

Scars of War

I am not in my twenties but oh how I expect my body to get back to that unreachable place. I lost my weight in a healthy manner and work out to build my muscle strength but losing over 200 pounds has left me with ugly, disfiguring, stretched out skin. Redundant skin hangs from my arms, my thighs, my abdomen, butt, chin, breasts. I do okay when I see myself naked. I see past the skin and see that it means there is a lack of fat under it; the firm muscles and actual bones that hold up my form. I see and I appreciate the effort that it took to get me to this point. 

However, when I put on my clothing all I see are the rolls of extra skin that fill the fabric. If I purchase a shirt to fit my form the sleeves strain at the upper arms because of the skin. If I buy pants to fit my small waist the thighs will not fit because of sagging skin pockets. I cannot wear a turtle neck because of the turkey gobble of hanging skin on my neck. These are the facts. 

The FEELINGS that go with this run from shame to humiliation. I feel shame that I did this to my body. I feel humiliated when I see people starring at my arms and legs so I wear 3/4 sleeves and long pants even in the humid Florida summers. I feel frustrated when I find I am a size 6 waist and a size 12 thigh/butt/abdomen. I feel anger that I do not have any options to have the skin removed today. 

Today I was reminded that I did not do this to myself. I share a disease with many people.  It is called Food Addiction and compulsive overeating. In the throes of this disease I did things with food no sane person would ever do. Fighting to recover from this illness has been a long battle and I have been waging war against the addiction for over four years. I need to see the stretched out skin as a battle scar - a victorious battle scar. As such, I need to let go of the self-loathing and remorse and live in the present.

I am a bright, creative woman, celebrating my 49th year of life. My weight is healthy, my body is healthy and my mind is healthy. Following a spiritual path has brought me to a wonderful place in my life. My skin is not that of a 20 year old and it never again will be the skin of a 20 year old. I need to stop comparing myself to anyone else and "love the skin I'm in."

With daily victories I have received battlefield commissions in the form of unlovely old stretch marks, fallen arches, permanently over sized calves and the ever present skin jiggles. If I lost the battle I would still have had stretched skin - it would just have been propped up by thick layers of fat. This has been war and I win each day I am keeping the pounds off. 

Do you proudly wear your scars of war or are you still in hiding? 


Anonymous said...

Jane, you are AMAZING! What a story you tell. I'm honored to know you. Joyce T.

Jane Cartelli said...

Joyce, I am honored to know YOU. I hear that together we all get better. - Jane

Fat Girl Fights Back said...

Jane, I love this. Very well written and so full of emotion.

There are so many of us that are battling this disease. Right now I'm embracing the changes in my skin, trying to remain thankful for the changes that are becoming visible. As the changes become more and more dramatic, I'm trying to prepare myself. I'm unsure of how I will feel - but healthy me sure feels better than unhealthy me. That's all I know, today.

Jane Cartelli said...

I think taking the weight off slowly helped me a great deal in learning to accept my changing body. Dropping weight too quickly is both unhealthy and unsightly. I have had times where I was afraid to buy clothes because I could not accept the smaller size was really what I needed. This stuff plays games in our heads because it really is a disease that affects our perceptions and as such, can lead us back into its clutches with fear and frustration. For this reason I reached out for help and joined a support group. I know it has saved my life in several ways and the added bonus is that I am keeping the pounds off.

Vickie said...

not arguing. I embrace all you wrote in this post.

I am asking a factual question - your insurance will not cover part of the cost of skin removal? (or perhaps you are saying your portion would still be too high or perhaps no medical coverage?)