I miss my chubby cheeks…

Martha BeforeMartha After

March 2015 I had Gastric Bypass surgery. In the last 7 months I have lost almost 100 lbs and I have seen my body change in ways that amaze me. Of course, I knew going in that I would lose weight, that I would need to take vitamins and calcium for the rest of my life and that my relationship with food would need an overhaul. What I did not realize was how much my face would change. It feels like I don’t know the woman staring at me from the mirror.

The path that lead me to having the surgery was not started because of my looks. There is a misconception that every person that is overweight is miserable, lazy and must hate how they look. Let me clarify, I felt pretty when I was fat and I feel pretty not as fat! For me, looks were not even on the list for having the surgery. I needed to stop my weight from creeping up because I want to be as healthy as possible, I want to be able to move without pain, and it would help my preexisting conditions. My value has never hinged on how I look, I am more than something so tenuous.

As the months passed after the surgery and the weight started to come off the changes to my face became more obvious. My cheeks became smaller, there are valleys and edges where in the past there was only roundness and softness. My eyes seem larger and larger to me, they are starting to look like Japanese anime eyes and when I smile all I see is teeth!

Please do not get me wrong, I do not think that it is a bad change, it is just different. I always felt that my face reflected an integral part of my personality, I have always seen myself as the happy girl. I am always smiling, cracking jokes and my non-threating, not traditionally pretty, cherubic face reflected that. I am still the happy girl that I have always been but the angles and edges that I see do not reflect that as easily. I am afraid that I am developing resting bitch face! Oh NO!

I know that inside I am still the same person, I am still happy and strong. I still see the world from the same eyes that I always have but the person in the mirror is not familiar to me…yet. Will I change as I lose more weight and as time passes? Probably. Is that a bad thing? Probably not. I believe that change, while scary, is good and necessary. We cannot stay stagnant and every situation that forces us to look at ourselves, our situations, and our surroundings in a new way forces us to grow, which is the point.

I welcome this new face and remember my old face fondly. I loved my smile, my cheeks, my eyes before and as this face becomes more familiar I will love it too. This face represents the change that I needed to better my health and myself, in time it will be familiar. In time it will not see it as cartoonish and I will see myself again.

Let me know of any changes that surprised you during this journey in the comments below.

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Who am I?

My name is Martha. I would describe myself as a lot of things, often contradictory things. I am smart but have a hard time owning it and making my voice heard. I can talk to any stranger like I have known them for years but I have few friends. I am very open about my experiences but hold back on the subjects that matter most to me. I believe that most people are like that, a mess of contradictions that make it hard to answer the question, “Who am I?”.  Still, there are a few truths that get to the core of who I am and color every part of my life.

I am a mother and wife. I tend to be a bit overprotective, neurotic, and bossy to both my husband and son but it is all born from love and from being Dominican! My husband and  I have been together for over 20 years and married 13 years. Our son is 11 and starting puberty. I didn’t really expect to find someone who compliments me as well as Ron does and I’m eternally grateful. Ron and I have had our issues but we decided long ago that we would work it out and have had a lot of fun over the years.

I also suffer from serious health issues. I have severe asthma, allergies and PCOS. Those issues have molded me into the person I am today. I have found strength and determination that I would not have realized without my diseases. I have found that my symptoms are often easier to deal with than the ramifications of my limitations. Even just realizing that I cannot do what others can is a bitter pill to swallow. I have also realized that I like who I am and I would not be this version of myself without the experiences that I have had. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to wake up tomorrow with no health problems but I would not trade my past because I love my present.

I am crotchet, sew, knit, color and write. The asthma has limited my mobility and winter was very difficult while I was growing up. I did not sleep through the night from October to late May. I couldn’t play outside during lunch with the other kids or walk up a flight of stairs. I still have some of the same issues to a lesser degree and so for long periods of time I would be on my ass! I have vicariously lived many lives in between the pages of books since one of the few things I could do was read. I became a master at Duck Hunt and could peg a duck as far as the controller would let me go. At 16 I learned how to crotchet and that changed everything. I was the WORST at making anything but after years of practice I became really good at it. Crotchet lead to knitting, then sewing, coloring, and writing. I did any activity that would keep my mind and hands busy during the months of confinement. My issues are more controlled but I have grown to love my crafts.

I suspect that this blog will be mostly about family, overcoming illness and obstacles and crafts! I am doing this to help me process my life as it changes and hopefully to connect with others in similar situations.