Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Guest Blogger - Wifey . . .

Well, we've gotten a few friends and my brother Ryan and my in-laws and my parents out of the way. Now, let's make way for wifey. Any one who reads this blog or who has even met me in the last four and a half years knows that my sun rises and sets on Joy. She is, truly, the most wonderful and beautiful person I've ever met. Inside, outside, etc. I don't mean that in the trite "she's more beautiful inside than out" way either . . . I mean that in the literal way.

She is the most wonderful person I've ever met. Let's just be honest. She saw a 500+ pound man across a restaurant and CHOSE to love him. That doesn't make her a saint - superficial people piss me off (he he he) but that makes her a wonderful person. The months and years that have chased each other since we first met and that have gotten us to this point have seen her standing by me in plenty of times. Good. Bad. Ugly. Beautiful. She's been right there. Holding my hand. Holding me up. Urging me to move forward. Willing me to be a better man. Willing me to be the man that she saw across a restaurant, looked in to and fell in love with.

I'm not there. I have plenty of distance to go and plenty of work still to do but, if there is one thing this wonderful woman has proven . . . I won't go it alone. I won't have to feel alone and I will have a wonderful reason to do the work.

Joy has not just given me a new lease on life . . . she's given me my life. I'll get in to it more on my surgaversary post tomorrow but, for now, just know that I love you, Pop Tart, more than you will ever know and you will never be alone as long as I am alive and - thanks to this surgery - that should be much, much longer than it might have once seemed. You and me kid, until the end. Come what may. Good. Bad. Ugly. Beautiful.

I love you. Thank you for sharing your life with me and for guiding me on my journey.

In all honesty, I can’t believe today day has come so quickly.

I can’t describe the difference this year, and not just Sean’s weight loss, has made in our lives. I can’t do the experience justice. All I can say is thank you, my love, for adding years to our life together and for making the last year of our life such a quality experience. Thank you for taking care of you so that you can be around for more time with us – as a family.

I remember one year ago tonight like it was yesterday. Ava was about to turn eight-months-old. We had been in Connecticut less than a year and Sean was just beginning his career at IBM. So many changes and so many beginnings and yet, here we were, just a few hours away from embarking on another new life.

As excited as I was for Sean and for us as a family, I couldn’t help but feel scared.

Eighteen months earlier, in Baltimore, Sean had come very close to having this surgery. We went through an extensive prep program together and I had learned all sorts of sobering statistics. I knew, from that experience that, at Sean’s weight, the surgery itself was very dangerous. People his weight can develop gangrene or suffer fatal blood clots just laying still on the operating table (the chances are very, very rare but the heavier the patient the higher the likelihood). I learned that Sean’s weight might require an open v. laser surgery and that would open the door for more complications. His own apnea could further raise concerns. As important as the surgery was to our life and as safe as the surgery was versus doing nothing – there were risks with the operation.

I tried to be strong. I tried to focus on the positive. I tried to just be supportive and let Sean feel what he needed to feel without worrying about me but, deep down, I was petrified that he was going to leave us. Every time I’d look at Ava in the days before Sean’s surgery, especially the night before when he had gone to pick my mother up at the airport, I would pray “Dear God, if you’re there, please don’t let her grow up without knowing her wonderful father and please don’t take this man from me. We need him.” I offered Sean words of encouragement but, inside, I was begging for his body to let him get through the operation.

I don’t think either of us slept at all a year ago tonight. My mind raced and I could feel Sean tossing and turning too. I focused on happy thoughts. I pictured the nurse coming toward me in the waiting room to tell me that my husband was out of surgery and waiting for me. I pictured us on our wedding anniversary and at Ava’s high school graduation and Sean and Ava dancing at her wedding. I kept repeating my new mantra “My husband will be the poster boy for gastric bypass surgery.” I focused on just the positive but my mind raced.

I replayed the special moments in our life that had defined us and that we had gotten through together over and over in my head. I also thought about moments before that night when I wished I would have said something more or done something different to help Sean. I thought about what I could have done that might have prevented this situation all together. I realized, at about 3:30 AM that I had done all I could. I had loved and supported and encouraged Sean to be himself and to be responsible for himself.

Then I seethed over the few people in Sean’s life (and our life) that seemed to not support Sean in his weight loss efforts or in his struggles and, instead, chose to just sit back and wait for Sean to fail – like there was nothing more to do than assume the worst and wait to be proved right. People who never said anything to him but would make their feelings and doubts known to me. In my head I went back to those people and moments when I wish I had said something but didn’t and told them all what I believe about my husband. The simplest truth I know about the man. He might not always get things right the first time, but he never gives up, he never breaks a promise, he never fails those he’s pledged his success to and he will try and try again until he gets it right. “He’ll prove you wrong,” I thought. Then I cried over all the good friends, loved ones and supporters that have always cheered for and cherished him and that understand the amazing man he is and the potential that he carries in his hands, head and heart. As I said, it was a long night.

When the alarm went off the next morning, we looked at each other but, trapped in our own minds, we just got out of bed. We didn’t speak as we readied for the day, kissed Ava, handed her over to my mother and drove to the hospital. A rare moment in our life . . . we were silent. We spoke, instead, in looks, hand squeezes, neck rubs and hair tussles.

We checked in, walked that long hall to surgery prep and, in what was a quick-blur, Sean was taken back, prepped, IVed and readied for surgery. We were given just a few minutes alone before he was taken from me. Sean had been given something to calm him and he seemed confident and ready. I, on the other hand, held back my anxiety as tears welled in my eyes and my emotions leaked onto my cheek. Sean kissed away my tear, handed me his wedding ring and assured me “I’m not going anywhere but down the hall.”

I don’t remember anything about the surgery or the length of the wait. As the nurse I had pictured the night before approached me, I got excited but, when she told me – emotionless – that Sean’s surgeon would like to speak to me, I held my breathe until my lungs hurt and I could feel my heart pounding. I walked back to see Dr. Zuccala uttering “He’s fine. Poster Boy. He’s FINE!” And then I got the news Sean believed I would and that, in my heart, I knew I would too . . . Sean’s surgery went “perfectly.”

I thanked the doctor and ran outside and wept for my doubts and then I celebrated the life that was ahead of us.

I immediately called our families and the friends Sean had asked me to contact. I relayed the good news to everyone. Almost all of them breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated with me - except those few nay-sayers who plagued me the night before and have so many times. They spoke in half-hearted congratulations and understated caution.

Well . . . it’s a year later. All of my concerns were for nothing and the simple truth I always knew about my husband has proven itself again. Sean has followed through. He’s made good on his promise. He’s put in the effort. He’s succeeded and exceeded his supporter’s expectations and defied and shamed his doubter’s.

Make no mistake. He’s still the same man. He is the same courageous, generous, loving, inspiring man I’ve always known. Just with a few softer edges and a much, MUCH smaller body.

For those that have always cheered for him and for us, I thank you. You can take pride and a small part of the credit for him rediscovering himself and for him reclaiming his life. For those that have sat back, waited and perhaps even continued to assume the worst, I apologize. You’re missing out on an amazing transformation in his life and you are holding on to a man, and his shortcomings, that left us a year ago tomorrow.

I love you Sean and, while I’ve always been proud of you, I am truly proud of the man you are today. You never cease to amaze me.


nytova said...

Whoa, I got all teary-eyed reading that... what a loving tribute to your 1 year surgiversary.
You, Sean, may have been the one to go under the knife, but Joy has gone through this whole surgery process in her own way, and alongside you. Happy surgiversary to Joy too ;-)

Sean C. Amore said...

Joy doesn't give herself enough credit or share in all of this change. THANKS, NYtoVA for echoing what I've been telling Joy all along!

clemente said...

i love your videos i want to be my friend this is my mail im 18 i admire you im from argentine
bye and lucky