Post Transplant Body Image Issues

Y’all… it’s been busy af over here lately. From moving, to getting ready for Wild, to getting ready for new full time job… it’s been a lot and super fun and creative blog posts haven’t been at the tip top of my mind.

What has been at the tip top of my mind lately is how I’m going to Vegas with my friends, and how lately I utterly hate how I look in photos that I don’t get to take of myself.

Take this as an example:

I know this is a good picture. It was done by an amazing photographer, the lighting is good, and I actually put on some makeup. But all I see is weight I’ve gained from the transplant meds, the thinning patches of hair, and how I’m holding my breath from sucking it in. All through the pictures from this beautiful photoshoot, I just see a short stubby potato that happens to be in this beautifully shot image.

To be very clear, I’m not looking for anyone to jump in to my comments or DMs telling me I’m beautiful or any shit like that. I’ll probably just think you’re being creepy. So, don’t be creepy, K?

When I was going through the whole Kidney Failure, Dialysis, Transplant process there was a lot of information thrown at me. All these things I had to do now to make sure I stayed alive, things that I had to worry about in the future, things that I needed to be aware of medically so that I could take care of myself. There was not a whole lot of talking about once you’re “healthy” by their standards and you’re back in the real world trying to pick up where you left off.

I don’t talk much about the body image shit I struggle with after going through the whole shebang. There was a lot of fuss made over the potential scars I was going to get (and a few WTF comments about how a certain procedure appeared to be stitched up with extra care because I was still young). I have no shame about the scars; I pull my shirt up and show you the 6 inch bastard on my stomach if you ask. The things I struggle with, and the things I wish had been discussed a little more, are the things like losing your hair and the moonface you get.

See Also: My Kidney Failure Story

There is also the cognitive dissonance I have with being body positive for others but not myself, which just pisses me off about myself. If it’s fine for other people to do it, it should be fine for me too… but apparently the brain is still trying to work that one out for itself.

I could also write a whole novel about the bullshit that is “weight management” and the BMI… because according to those figures, I was “healthier” when I was at death’s door with Kidney Failure than I am now with functioning organs and not passing out in grocery stores. If that doesn’t mess with ones’ sense of self image, I don’t know what will.

In hindsight, I wish I had asked more questions about stuff like this. Not that it would have changed anything that I chose to take care of my health, but to maybe soften the blow of looking like a Jules Verne/Georges Méliès celestial body.

Me, on a good day
Credit: BFI/Le Voyage Dans la Lun 

There’s no real take away with this post, except to acknowledge what I think is a deeply buried secret among transplants. We are grateful to be alive and know that these are more than fair trades to still be here, but we’re also vain and live in a society where physical appearances still do matter so much. The big major trauma is celebrated but the little ugly things are still judged, even if it’s in our own head.


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One response to “Post Transplant Body Image Issues”

  1. Let’s Talk about the KUPA – Glitter and Pr*f@n!ty Avatar

    […] have talked in the past about how I struggle with body image post transplant and how there are certain “things” that you wish had been discussed, or at least […]

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