Monday, September 24, 2007

A Little Help From My Friend Kate . . .

I spent a good part of Saturday with my BGBFF (Best Gastric Bypass Friend Forever) Kate. NOW - if you don't know Kate, you're missing out. She's a class act. You MUST get to know Kate. Here's why (in a nutshell) . . .

She's three months out and she's lost about 60 pounds (but she's working out a lot and adding muscle so her body has changed more than just the weight loss might infer) and she's kind and gracious about the importance of the surgery, what the surgery has meant to her and the hope it gives her (I won't dish all of her secrets but presume we're talking about fulfilling life long dreams, etc.). Kate, and her experience and hopes, are exactly why gastric bypass is so important and should be seen as a vital tool to giving obese people their lives back.

I went to Kate's home on Saturday. Cute place. Lots of apples and sailboats everywhere and TONS of pictures of her family and friends. We met up and went to Choose 2 Lose (I'll post something this evening about that place - amazing - time WELL spent) and then we went to Target and then I introduced Kate to the WONDER that is Stew Leonard's Chicken Chili (click on the link for the recipe to make YOUR Chicken Chili). Along the journey of the afternoon we chatted about all sorts of stuff - as we do every time we get together.

We talked about my family history and Kate's family history - shocker we both come from heavy stocks. My hopes after surgery. Kate's hopes after surgery. The struggles each of us is having. How trivial those struggles seem compared to the joys we are each experiencing after surgery, etc.

As WONDERFUL as Joy has been through every step of this and as much as she is my best friend in the world and is a completely irreplacable influence on my life and as much as she has lead and guided me through this process and as much as I love her . . . and as much as I enjoy the support groups and the appointments and the meetings with the medical staff at the hospital and as wonderful as everyone else (my friends and family, etc.) have been to talk and ask about surgery and what it means . . . there really is NOTHING like talking with someone that had a lifetime of obesity and struggled with what to do and who has been on that table and that is following all the rules and succeeding on the other side of the procedure.

My point is this . . . a shared experience beats a viewed experience nine times out of ten. NOT to say that you should not also lean on everyone else in your life but, get yourself a BGBFF. It's like a sober buddy for a reformed drunk or a hand holder for a street-crossing six year old.

I always like e-mailing with or talking with Kate and seeing her at support group. This was our first social outing and it was just a longer version of our normal chats and exchanges.

With Kate, I don't have to preface questions or mask frustrations. I don't have to worry that me complaining might mean regrets about the surgery or me on the verge of lapsing on my diet or doing harm to myself. My pride over my early successes and my determination for long term success are not just met with a "good for you" but a "yeah, me too." It really has made a huge impact on my experience and I'm incredibly grateful to Kate for being such a good friend to me for the last six months.

Get to know Kate. You won't regret it but - in the meantime - get yourself a BGBFF that you can rely on and that can rely on you. We all get by with a little help from our friends . . . even the Beatles would agree (smile)!

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