Sunday, June 1, 2008
A Secret We All Share? . . .
I was reading this week's PostSecrets and I came across this one that hit home for me.
I met a woman in Missouri two weeks ago that had gastric bypass surgery in the early 80s. That is when calling it "stomach stapling" was really an accurate description - if not a compliment. They cut her wide open in a cross formation. She was wrapped in plastic for five weeks after her surgery to heal. She had ripping. She had infections. She had oozing. She had herniation (sp?). She had her hair fall out. She had internal leakage. She had a miserable experience BUT she lost almost 200 pounds over the three years that followed (the diet was not as perfected then, she tells me, so they had her eating the wrong foods and she struggled accordingly) and she can forever say she was the first person that her surgeon did the procedure on. But - almost 30 years later - she's gained almost all of the weight back. But that is not all that shocking - she was upfront that the mental component to her eating and obesity was never addressed and has gotten worse since.
What shocked me was what she said at the end of her story . . . "and I'm not sure that I am not happier being back at this weight." I'll admit that it made me very sad for her and made me all the more sure that I did the right thing to have this surgery and that all of the days and weeks and months (good and bad moments, etc.) since have been totally worth it.
It has been nearly 15 months since my surgery. I've lost about 230 pounds. I've lost almost 50% of my body weight and I've found out a lot about myself in the process. I'm sort of leveled out though. The 25 pounds a month I was losing has given way to about five pounds a month. That is okay though because I'm much more interested, at this point, in the MENTAL part of this process. The actual improvement of myself - not the physical shifting.
I'm working, actively, on goals to continue to improve myself and I have a deep appreciation for how much happier and content and driven and satisfied and self-satisfied I am now versus at 530 pounds.
True - I thought I was "happy" then too. I really did. It was not a real happiness though. It was a faux-reality fueled by junk food, laziness, sloth and anger. I will never go back to that. I'll never go back to anything CLOSE to that.
I have a great support system in place to keep me honest. Joy watches me, lovingly (she worries I am not eating ENOUGH and thinks I might be developing "manorexia" at this point as I become solely obsessed with my printed goals list). Ava looks at old pictures of Daddy with confusion on who that guy even is. My other-mother tells me that I look thinner on a regular basis and tells me about how "different" I am in behavior and action and so on. My co-workers gossip about me behind my back (or so I was told last week when I returned to the office after two weeks on the road) and how good I look. My parents tell me all too often about their friends and our extended family and how aware they are of my surgery and progress and so on. Old friends are contacting me in very kind ways, etc. etc. etc. It is all very, very welcome for me. That was one thing that I didn't have before . . . an open enough mind and disposition that people who loved me COULD express concern and COULD be honest with me and COULD talk to me about my eating and weight and sloth without me losing my mind on them.
Truthfully though . . . do I fear being heavy again? Sure. Do I think there is a snowball's chance in hell that I will get heavy again? Not as long as I have people around me to keep me honest and to keep me motivated and to remind me about how much better life is today and how unhappy I was "then."