Our first WLS Support Group screening was a success!
On August 10, I was fortunate enough to share the evening with a lovely group of folks in Dallas, TX. After the Cut (a Dallas based bariatric support group), the bariatric team/support group from Dallas Methodist Hospital, and several other bariatric groups from the Dallas area came together to organize a viewing of All of Me. I was lucky enough to meet the organizers of the event, Shana Harden (After the Cut) and Dallas Methodist’s Bariatric director, Tammy Beaumont along with moderator Merrill Littleberry, and over a hundred attendees.
It was pretty nerve wracking for me because this was the first time the film had been shown to any bariatric group. Would they like it? Would they hate it? Would they say it wasn’t relevant? Would they walk out? No one could predict what feelings, questions or emotions would arise. I had to wait 72 minutes before I knew these answers.
Throughout the film, there was reactions to the funnier comments and times when things were very quiet. This was usually after a very solemn comment was made or after hearing something that may have struck a chord. The group laughed, shed a few tears and looked inward while watching the film. When the credit rolled and the lights came up, it happened…..a wave of applause and I was able to sigh a huge sigh of relief.
Merrill asked folks to write questions down and anonymously addressed each question in the Q&A portion of the presentation. The questions were very real and the comments often related to something the participant had experienced and was seen in the film. What was really nice was that the group was diverse and included folks who were pre-op, those who just had surgery and several veteran WLS patients.
Merrill also gave her own insights on the film and I especially appreciated her honesty and frankness of her observations. Sometimes, when you’re so close to something, the obvious doesn’t jump out to slap you up the side of your head. Merrill was very kind, yet direct with her words. I can say that, while she was soft with some of her comments, her underlying message wasn’t missed with her softened words.
‘m so grateful to have been able to attend this event. I met some wonderful people who ma
de me feel very welcomed and I’ve made several new bariatric friends *waving Howdy to Pandora in Oregon!* A special shout out to Waning Woman (you go!), Shana Hardin, and Shawna Bacon for sharing your stories with me and making me feel so very welcomed. I’d also like to thank all who spoke with me after the meeting and shared their own stories with me. I appreciate your kind word and encouragement. Thank you Tammy and Merrill for the incredible job of pulling this together and doing such a terrific job of facilitating.
We got over this first Bariatric viewing hurdle and it couldn’t have worked out any better! Thank you, all, for your support and encouragement of All of Me — we all appreciate it.