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Welcome to your new life!

Hello World!

Welcome to your new life –  The Bariatric After Life™

Don’t worry if you haven’t had bariatric surgery (or haven’t decided whether you even WANT to have it), you are welcome here.

Let me begin by explaining what, exactly the Bariatric After Life is.

No, it’s not life-after-death, though many who have had WLS (weight loss surgery) feel like they have died and been born again into a new body), but that’s not really my message.

I think it’s best for me to go back to the beginning: It was December 2007, and I weighed 316 pounds. Well, actually, I’d shed 50 pounds since beginning the approval process in June of 2007, but even at 267 pounds, I was morbidly obese and I was being given the gift of gastric bypass surgery. At the time, I wasn’t sure that I’d made the right decision, and even had a few days where I wanted to “return the gift for a full-refund,” but, in the end, I came to love the miracle I’d received and promised myself I’d do everything in my power to deserve and do it justice.

I quickly realized that life after bariatric surgery was going to be much, much more than a picture in a frame with the word “after” prominently emblazoned on it, but I didn’t know exactly HOW much.

What would life hold for me “after the after”? I wondered…

Prior to surgery, I spent hours and hours, pouring over “Before & After” photos. I must have viewed at least 2,000 sets of pictures – many of them, showing unrecognizable people in the “After” frame. The changes were exciting and startling. I found myself dreaming about my own “after”.

How would I “look,” I wondered? Would people know that I was the same person in both pictures? Would the changes be that significant? How long would it take to get there? What would “there” look like? What if I didn’t lose as much as I wanted to lose?

The questions were endless, but I was undaunted.

Once I had surgery, I was so focused on the ins and outs, dos and don’ts, etc., that I sort of lost track of the “After” picture for awhile….that is, until that magical day, about 14 months after surgery, when I realized that I was finally an “AFTER”…It was unreal! I finally had something to put in that “other frame!” Wow!

And then….

Now what?

Let’s see…for 14 months, I’d lived and breathed bariatric EVERYTHING. I kept my head down and focused on the goal (whatever that was). One, by one, I blew past intermediate goals until, eventually, I blew past my “goal-goal”…And there I was: Looking like a normal person, but not feeling normal in any way, shape or form. Why hadn’t someone warned me that this day would come? Why didn’t someone tell me about life “after the after”?

Perhaps they didn’t think about it, or perhaps they WERE telling me, but I just wasn’t listening. I can’t be sure, but he way I see it now, much like when I was a kid who couldn’t wait to be 13 (so I could be a teenager) or 16 (so I could drive) or 18 (so no one could *tell me what to do anymore* – LOL), or 21 (so I could drink), I’d simply forgotten to plan my life AFTER life.

My initial idea was to play it by ear, just let it come as it would. I’d done research, and plugged into online WLS communities. I attended weekly support group meetings and life was good. But, there was more to it. I felt a calling; a burning in my “bariatric belly” to do *something* more with my life.

In June of 2009, I officially became Gastric Bypass Barbie and began blogging about my experiences (emotional, physical, and otherwise) for the entire WLS community to behold. In February of 2010, I attended the 1st Annual WLS Meet N Greet in Las Vegas, setting up a booth with sample products and even talking to the group about feeling great in your jeans! In March 2010, I threw the switch on my Facebook page and Youtube Channel, bringing myself to a larger audience, in a fun and different way. In May, I attended my first Obesity Help Conference (in Costa Mesa, California), then ASMBS in Las Vegas, then another OH Conference (in Cincinnati), all the while, speaking with medical professionals and vendors who support our “growing community of shrinking people!™”

I was hooked and there was no turning back.

Clearly, I’d learned that my true mission in life is to spread the bariatric word; to inspire, motivate and educate everyone who has had or is considering having bariatric surgery, so they can live a rewarding, fulfilled, successful Bariatric After Life.

Not a minor undertaking, I assure you, but so worthwhile, it’s hard to believe my good fortune some days!

All of which brings me to today. I am a successful and happy (dare I say NORMAL?) bariatric patient, maintaining a healthy 160-pound weight loss, ready to open a new chapter of a book I’m calling the BARIATRIC AFTER LIFE.

I’m bidding a fond (and slightly sad) farewell to Barbie, but not her essence. After all, SHE has always been ME, and now I am going to be your guide in the Bariatric After Life — that is, if you’re willing to follow!

So, come along as I continue to explore the ups and downs, ins and outs, loves and losses, joys and sorrows of this post-bariatric surgical life, and more. Feel free share your own experience, because a journey is more fulfilling if its not traveled alone!

24 comments

1 Yehuda { 10.08.10 at 2:15 pm }

Cari, I’m glad I found your new site. You are a great person and have a lot of insight for us about the bariatric after life. I wish I had at least a tiny drop of preparation for post weight loss issues. Take care 🙂

2 cari { 10.12.10 at 10:55 pm }

@Yehuda: As long as you learn something new every day, then you are well on your way to dealing with — AND BEATING — those post weight loss issues that plague so many of us. Hang in there, and keep fighting the good fight.

3 Heather K-L. i Buffalo, NY { 10.08.10 at 10:26 pm }

Wow, love the new look and I wish you luck with this 🙂 You inspire me greatly.

Love and God Bless, Heather

4 cari { 10.12.10 at 10:54 pm }

@Heather: Thanks so much for finding me! I’m still sort of tidying things up and haven’t officially thrown the switch yet! I will be doing that soon 🙂

5 Mary { 10.13.10 at 12:07 am }

I like this concept. What do I want to be when I grow up? That could describe me. I find myself at a crossroad and I forgot the map.

Good luck 😉

6 cari { 10.13.10 at 2:11 pm }

@Mary: I have a feeling you and I will continue to cross paths in our journey 😉 Now…where did I put that compass?

7 Heather K-L. i Buffalo, NY { 10.13.10 at 1:32 am }

Well it’s fab. 🙂

8 Paula Johnson { 10.13.10 at 2:12 am }

Yep – I’m following you 🙂 – you are steps ahead of me – but I like where you are going… keep it up <3

9 cari { 10.13.10 at 2:12 pm }

@Paula: Sometimes you’ll be ahead of me, encouraging me to keep talking the talk; other times, I’ll be ahead of you, urging you to keep walking the walk. That’s how it works, right? Let’s follow each other!!!

10 CAROL BOWEN BALL { 10.13.10 at 6:55 am }

Good luck Cari…from a devotee across the pond! Carol

11 cari { 10.13.10 at 2:12 pm }

Thanks, Carol! I’m adding you to my links now!!!

12 Casey { 10.13.10 at 11:16 am }

I am so glad you are doing this. I have talked to you a little bit on facebook and love your new website. I had surgery 2 months ago and I feel like I prepared for surgery and I thought a lot about the “affter” but didn’t prepare well for the in between. The first couple of weeks I didn’t just want to return the surgery but I wanted to die, in a way. Slowly after about 6 weeks I was feeling a little less like death and kinda getting the hang of it. Well now I have to switch my focus to all these underlying problems/issues I have, always have had. I guess before I could bury those issues. But now it seems like as the outside “me” shrinks, the inside me is coming more to the surface…and girl’s got some issues! So it is nice to have someone so willing to share all the good and the bad of this. I know it will all be worth it someday but it is hard. Much harder than just having surgery and getting skinny. Eventhough I understood this intellectually before I did it, it is kinda like a new baby…sure I love it but sometimes it is tiresom, time consumming and just plain a PIA! Anyway, thanks for doing what you do.

13 cari { 10.13.10 at 2:14 pm }

@Casey: Oh gosh — you said that so well! The more the outside shrinks, the more the inside comes to the surface. Very profound. Most people don’t grasp that concept so soon after surgery; you’re well on your way to health — inside and out — doll! Keep fighting the good fight and let me know if there is anything else I can do to keep you motivated 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!!!

14 Mom Nell { 10.13.10 at 1:49 pm }

Cari,
I am so thankful I got to meet you in N.C. You are a gift to me from God. I pray that this site turns out to be just what you long for it to be.Keep on reaching out and helping everyone that needs your compassion and advice, love you girl, God Bless.

15 cari { 10.13.10 at 2:09 pm }

@Mom Nell: Thank you for your kindness, love and blessings, mom! From your lips, to God’s ears!!! I seek to do His work above my own and pray for the blessings to continue.

16 Keith Downing { 10.13.10 at 3:11 pm }

I’m here. Good stuff Cari.

17 cari { 10.13.10 at 5:31 pm }

@Keith: I’m glad you’re here. It feels more like home now 😉

18 melinda { 10.23.10 at 2:14 am }

Now i know why you were not blogging on barbie! Ok… ive been out of the blogging and fb loop for awhile now…time for this post op to get into normal life…i dont want wls to define me or my life any longer. So…….rf is saying goodbye. Wish you all the best.

19 Shelly { 11.11.10 at 7:18 pm }

I’m so glad to see your site! I “happened” upon it while looking for a healthy no bake cookie recipe:-) As a Physician Assistant I always caution my patients on this surgery because of the “quick fix” weight loss thought process that seems to accompany this procedure even though intuitively most people know this is not true. It really is a whole mindset change and sometimes a very turbulent emotional ride. YAY for you! I’m certain you are helping others EVERYWHERE!

20 cari { 11.11.10 at 7:21 pm }

@Rachelle: Thanks so much for finding me! I actually have a bunch of other stuff on my *old* blog (GastricBypassBarbie.com), but I haven’t figured out how to bring it over here in some sort of organized way 😉 Feel free to wander over there for more stuff. There’s a year and a half worth of motivational musings 🙂 Feel free to refer your patients to me here or on FB. I am always ready to help 🙂 http://www.facebook.com/bariatricafterlife

21 Sine { 03.07.13 at 11:01 am }

I'm so glad i've finally mastered After Life.

22 bariatricafterlife { 03.07.13 at 2:47 pm }

I'm glad SOMEBODY has mastered it 😉 I'm still working on that particular skill…don't think I'll ever be the MASTER, but I'm willing to live it to the best of my ability.

23 SINE { 03.07.13 at 7:54 pm }

LOL I meant I thought for a long time you were talking about the afterlife……you know…..dead

24 bariatricafterlife { 03.07.13 at 8:34 pm }

Hence TWO WORDS: After. Life. 😉

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