Thank you for sharing your personal experiences. I'm glad your life is improving and I hope it continues to do so. I think your honesty will be a cautionary tale for some... hopefully." it's also disturbing the way that people underplay the effect a lot of weight can have on a person's lifestyle. "
I've experienced this on a personal level. It's not even so much fear of embarassment, or fear of ridicule. It's dealing with the hassle factor of trying to navigate the world in a fat body with mobility limitations.
When I was larger, and wasn't able to go much of anywhere without a wheelchair, it was SO fucking stressful and mentally exhausting trying to manage a successful outing that more often than not I ended up staying home. First of all, not every place I wanted to go was accessible, or realistically accessible (cobblestones, uneven pavement, and bare ground were out of the question). And then of those places that were accessible, there was the issue of an extra-wide bariatric wheelchair not fitting through doors, down aisles, etc... Also, there was the issue of transporting the wheelchair and getting it in and out of the vehicle. My husband could manage it, as could my dad when he was alive. But for a day out with a girl-friend or my mother in law? Wasn't happening.
But what about a motorized chair/scooter and vehicle lift you might ask? Well, you don't just get one handed to you, and the chair/lift combined can cost as much as a used car. We earned too much to qualify for medical assistance benefits, and we didn't earn enough to be able to self-pay. The only medical insurance I could get at the time would not cover it. So I had to buy a used manual wheelchair and make the best of it.
I was able to get out and enjoy life via local outings and daytrips fairly regularly. And I was able to make driving distance overnight travel work for me a couple of times. But the limitations far outweighed being able to reasonably accomdate myself.
Even now that I am smaller and more mobile, I still have limitations and my ability to get out and do what I want is still hampered. Now, instead of the main worry being whether or not my wheelchair will fit somewhere, I have to worry about whether there is a place I can sit and rest when my back hurts too much to keep going. It's tedious. I not only have to do research before going somewhere to make sure there are plenty of benches or other places to sit, but I have to budget for all the time wasted sitting and waiting for my back spasms to stop.
Pain makes it all the harder. The back pain is caused by being on foot, and so far I have not found any way to make it better aside from losing weight. The smaller I get, the more time I can spend on foot before the pain starts. I've tried various medications, including some hardcore meds through pain management, accupressure, accupuncture, massage, chiropractic therapy, physical therapy stretches, building up core muscles, ultrasound therapy, yoga, infrared heat therapy, hydrotherapy, support garments of various types, special anti-inflammatory supplements and diets, along with a handful of more desperate out-there new age and fringe therapies. Many of them make the pain better for a little bit, but it always comes back and always limits me. I have spent tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours with various specialists and therapists looking for an answer. But weight loss is and has been the only real and effective method of lessening the pain and improving my mobility.
I'd love to travel more extensively, but realistically I'll have to lose quite a bit more weight before the hassle no longer outweighs the enjoyment. I won't lie, if I had the money, I'd very seriously look into rolling the WLS dice for a chance at getting smaller faster, and being able to do more of the things I want to do sooner. Time is passing, my time left on this Earth is getting shorter, and some days I really feel the desperation.