Friday, February 26, 2016

my work in progress: the decision to have surgery, part two

Last week I decided to start posting excerpts from my future book in an effort to get my head back in the game and refocus.

Continued from last week's post...

The Decision to Have Surgery (continued)

The first incident happened on a flight to catch a cruise out of Florida.  I booked a cruise with my friend, Cindy, and two friends of hers, which was scheduled to depart mid-March in 2013.  It was the Monsters of Rock cruise, which sailed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Bahamas.  It was basically 24/7 concerts featuring many 80s hard rock bands. Most of the bands were smaller names; however, there were a few well-known names, such as Tesla, Stryper, and Faster Pussycat.  The ship stopped at Coco Cay and Nassau.  It was a lot of fun and I came back with a very bad sunburn and a few extra pounds—I drank what I imagine was a huge amount of calories in the form of frozen cocktails. (Later I commented to Cindy that I never felt hungry.  Well, that's because I was getting all my calories from booze.)

As I mentioned, the cruise sailed from Florida and I’m in Connecticut, so we had to fly there.  Cindy and I flew together and the two other women flew down together a day ahead of us.  In the months leading up the cruise, I remember being worried that I wouldn’t be able to buckle the seatbelt on the plane.  I tried very hard to get back on the diet bandwagon so that I would lose a few pounds by time the cruise rolled around. I remember talking to Cindy on the phone, trying to convince her to get back on track with her diet and asking her if she really wanted to be the biggest woman in the group.  The reason I said that was because she was talking about how depressed she was and that she couldn’t lose the weight, and I guess I wanted to somehow shock or shame her into getting back on track. Now that I think back on it, I feel terrible for doing that. I was honestly trying to help and wanted both of us to lose some weight before the cruise, but I now realize it probably had the opposite effect.

The day of departure came around and we got on the plane.  We were both having trouble buckling the seat belt.  I tried several things to get it to buckle:  I pulled with all my might, as though there was an extra three inches of seat belt I could magically pull out of my ass; I sucked in my stomach as far as I could; and I even sat up higher in the seat so the seat belt would hit lower under my stomach.  No dice.  I finally just laid the belt over my lap and covered the buckle with my arm, hoping that the flight attendant wouldn’t notice.  She didn’t.  It’s pretty crazy to think that I would rather fly without a seat belt and risk injury, than just ask for a seat belt extender.  The same thing happened on the flight back, although I was eventually able to buckle it. It squeezed me and made my stomach hurt, so I only buckled it for take-off and landing.

The second incident happened when Bob and I flew out to Las Vegas so I could see my all-time favorite band, Def Leppard, who were playing a residency at the Hard Rock Hotel.  This was about two weeks after the Monsters of Rock cruise.  I was nervous to get on the plane knowing what happened when I flew to Florida two weeks before.  Bob and I got on the plane and when I went to go buckle the seat belt, it wouldn’t buckle.  This seat belt, believe it or not, was even shorter than the ones I had on the plane to and from Florida!  I realized that there was no way I could buckle it, and it wouldn’t be easily hidden like last time.  I decided to ask for a seat belt extender.  Unfortunately, the flight attendant wasn’t sensitive to the fact that I was obviously overweight and was probably embarrassed about asking; therefore, he yelled out to the other flight attendant, all the way at the front of the plane, to get the extender from the compartment.  It was brought back to me and I quickly put it on, hoping that no one noticed.  To this day I don’t remember if anyone saw me or not, but I remember feeling as though every eye was on me, judging me for the “fat cow” they thought I was.  It was incredibly humiliating.  My face was probably bright red and my eyes were tearing up.  I quickly texted my sister, Dorie, to tell her what had happened and how upset and embarrassed I was.  She said a few things to calm me down—she’s great like that—and that helped.  The flight back wasn’t much better, although the flight attendant was very discreet.  She got the extender and concealed it as she carried it back to me; I really appreciated that.

On the flight back from Las Vegas is when I made the decision to have weight loss surgery.  Never in my life have I had to ask for a seat belt extender on an airplane, although I admit there were a few times I should have asked. It was the most humiliating experience I’ve ever had.  Even worse than being asked if I’m pregnant at age 13. I decided then that I would never feel like that again.

To be continued...

Another cat picture, as a reward for reading. Max and Bailey.


  1. I feel your pain so much... I actually travel for work quite a bit so i went on Amazon and purchased a seat belt extender. There are some planes i don't need it, but the ones that have shorter belts, i have to stealthily figure out how to conceal it in my hand and put it on without the person next to me seeing. It is SO SO embarrassing... Thankfully i have never had to ask, so i cant even imagine how you must have felt when the flight attendant yelled it out so the whole plane could hear. Hopefully from here on out, you and I will never have to use one ever again!!!

    1. I bought one years ago, but it was specific to Southwest and I never ended up using it. I know what you mean: it was so embarrassing not only to ask, but to put it on and pretend no one noticed.