The decision she made will change my life forever. I remember
thinking that when I left the hospital that morning. I knew that in a couple
of hours the nurse would call me and things would never be the same. I had
left my mother in the hands of the surgeons and god, hoping that everything
would be ok. Some people may think that it’s vanity, what my mother
did, but she did for herself and us, her children. It was on the morning of
July 13, 2009 that my mother underwent gastric bypass surgery.
I had just gotten out of my English class and was on the phone
with my boyfriend. We were making plans to go out that night when I got a
call from my mother. She asked if I could go with her to a seminar. At that
moment she didn’t give me many details, and there was no way I could say
no. So she told me to meet her at the hospital on the eighth floor. That’s
when I knew something was up. Upon my arrival the security guard stopped
me and asked me where I was going. When I told him I was going to the
eighth floor he gave me a look, asked me again, and then said, “Go right
on up.”I couldn’t understand why he asked me so many times; maybe he
didn’t hear me or maybe he didn’t understand. When the doors opened on
the eighth floor a rather curvy nurse greeted me and asked me if I was lost,
I told her that I was there for the seminar and was a bit late. Reluctantly she
showed me to the conference room and left me at the door. Nothing was
making sense; I was so confused about why everyone was acting so strange
when I would tell them where I was going, like I didn’t belong there. When
I entered the conference room to find my mom it seemed that everyone
stopped and was looking at me. In the front of the room was a projection
that read, “Welcome to the first steps of your new life- Beginning steps for
the gastric bypass surgery”. That’s when I realized why everyone was looking
at me so strangely, because they didn’t know that I was there for my mother,
not for myself.
Aside from feeling strange and uncomfortable with the way that
everyone was looking at me, I felt very sad for my mom. I have always been
an athletic person, very conscious of my body and the food I eat, the exercise
I do, and pretty much with everything that surrounds me. I remember a
few years ago walking into a store with my mother, and her telling me how
uncomfortable she felt and how the people working there weren’t giving her
any attention. I never really understood how she must have felt, or why anyone
would treat someone differently just because of their appearance. That
night at the hospital I came to understand what it was like to be the odd
ball out; to have everyone looking at me differently as if I didn’t belong. It’s
a feeling that I will never forget, being singled out because I was different.
Although I never gave much thought to my mother being overweight, these
new feelings of being discriminated against brought on a much stronger
At the meeting I was the only one in the whole room taking notes,
there was so much information to take in. I asked so many questions, as
if the procedure were for me. I feel that the best way to prepare ourselves
is by knowing as much as we can and try to avoid any unexpected events.
Even though I am very aware of the fact that we cannot control everything
around us, at least with information, we are controlling what we know.
When I thought I had asked just about everything I could there was that
feeling in the pit of my stomach again: fear. I didn’t quite understand why
I was feeling afraid. At one point I felt so cold and lonely all I wanted to do
was huddle next to my mother and hold onto her. I was so worried because
they had mentioned all the things that could go wrong, and they seemed
to be more than the positive outcomes. That’s when I realized why I was so
afraid. I was afraid of losing my mom. After my parent’s divorce, I realized
how important my mother was in my life; she is my anchor, my strength.
Now with all this talk about the possibility of something going wrong
with the operation I couldn’t help but feel scared. What if my mother died
because of the operation? I wouldn’t be able to deal with losing my mom.
Even though I consider myself to be an independent person, I know that I
need my mother for everything. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things
she would miss and all the moments in my life that I would need her by my
side. I was scared beyond my understanding. I knew that this was her decision
and that no matter what; I would support my mother in her choices as
she has always done for me.
After extensive doctor visits and many missed classes, my mother
finally passed the requirements to get the surgery done. The last doctor’s visit
was scheduled on the day of my last senior trip; Montauk simply came and
went without me. Up until that point I hadn’t thought much about how
this surgery would affect my life. Little by little I was beginning to realize
that everything was changing once more in my life. My teachers were getting
upset that I wouldn’t be attending the scheduled events, and they were
afraid that I would let my grades slip. Everyone kept asking me questions
and was trying to pry into my life, but once more I just shut everyone out.
The last time that had happened was with my parents’ divorce, but this time
was different. I was still terrified of losing my mother. It’s one thing to have
a parent willingly step out of your life, but to have a parent be taken away
from you; that I knew I wouldn’t ever be able to handle. I can’t even begin to
count all the sleepless nights and all the worrying. I was mortified by the fact
that my mom had made a choice that risked her life. It felt like those days
were never going to end all the worrying and doubts. I began to realize that
I was changing, I had come to the point in my life where my needs simply
weren’t at the center of my world; my mother’s were.
I walked through my front door late one night, and I found my
mother sitting alone in the living room. All she said was, “It’s tomorrow
at 5:30 in the morning and we can’t be late.” The point of saying that was
simply because our family has never made it on time to just about anything.
I had thought that I wouldn’t be able to get a minute of sleep, but the next
thing I realized it was 5:30 and nobody had woken me up. I called my
mother about a hundred times and she didn’t pick up her cell phone. I ran
downstairs still putting on clothes looking for everyone. I found my mother
in the kitchen, and my younger brother watching T.V. in the living room.
I asked my mom why she hadn’t woken me up. She replied, “I haven’t been
able to sleep because I’ve been thinking about the procedure and I didn’t
want to wake you up until I had made up my mind.” My brother seemed so
relaxed that it made me even more nervous. I called my sister right away and
she was still sleeping. As soon as she realized what time it was she said she’d
be right up and that we’re leaving now! As we left my sister decided it would
be better for my brother to stay home with her husband. We are always so
over protective with him and the thought of something going wrong and
him having to be there to witness it didn’t go well with anyone. My mom
was great. As she was getting into the car she gave my brother a hug and told
him she’d see him tonight. As we drove off, my mother turned to us and reminded
us about the promise we had made her when our parents divorced.
It was that we wouldn’t let my father take my brother with him, and that
we’d always look after each other and never let anything separate us.
I dropped off my mom and I realized that nothing has compared
to the anticipation from the nurse’s phone call saying that everything was
okay. They told me that the procedure would take about six hours and those
were the longest six hours of my life. So many things can go through your
mind at a time like that. I kept trying to fight off my fears and I kept asking
for strength to get through it this time. Although I was faithful that everything
was going to be all right I had started to look back at all the moments
that I had spent together with my mom. I came to learn that it’s true how
they say you don’t realize what you have until it’s too late, but let me tell you
I’m thankful that it wasn’t too late for me.
When I got the call from the nurse I knew things would be different.
From now on every moment with my mom would be special. I had
thought that the only thing that mattered was just her surgery but there was
more. It was really about the rest of her life with us, and her health. Some
of the doctors said that if she hadn’t done anything about her weight, who
knows how much longer she would live for. This was especially because she
had been diagnosed with diabetes not too long before she made her decision
to have the surgery, which made everything even more complicated. I have
been raised knowing that family is the most important thing in the world
and it’s the only thing you’ve got, so to know that my mother might not
have been able to live as long as she can live now really made me feel very
thankful that she went through with the surgery.
I know now to appreciate even the lectures she gives me and
all the advice I think is useless at first. We’re both different after the surgery,
and it has also made us realize how we are also so very much alike. After all
we have been through I am now a more understanding and patient daughter.
I have come to realize that a mother’s love for her children can truly
overcome any barrier, fear, and doubt. What my mother did was not just for
her but for my siblings and me as well. She has shown me that dedication,
perseverance, and love can truly overcome any obstacle that may lie ahead of
you. My mother made a very difficult and life changing decision this year,
but because of her decision I know that she will be there for my future family
and me. This means so much to me because your family is all you have in