Tomorrow, June 2, is the 3-year anniversary of my surgery, prompting me to reflect on the changes I’ve experienced in my life over these past three years.
I went into surgery at 333 pounds, and was pretty much overweight (or obese) my entire life. I never went through the lose weight and gain weight yo-yo experience – I just kept gaining and really didn’t know what it was like to be at a “normal” weight. I was relatively active for my size, and didn’t really think I let my weight stop me from doing things. I now realize how much it really did impact my life activities. I thought I would share some of my “That was then – This is now” experiences.
I travel a lot on business, which was always a source of worry. The first time I asked for a seat-belt extender was my last. I kept (borrowed) the extender and kept it in my purse, so I wouldn’t have to endure the humiliation of asking each time. I kept the extender with me; even after I was less than 200 pounds… it was my security blanket. I finally gave it back to the airline, by discreetly leaving it in the seat pocket one day – I won’t be needing it anymore. I would never fly stand-by, even if it meant sitting hours at the airport – I didn’t want to chance a middle seat. Now… while I still don’t like the middle seat –I’m free. I don’t see the looks of terror on the faces of those on my flight (please don’t let me get stuck by her).
I went to
Africa a couple years ago to do some volunteer work –could I have done that pre-op. Probably. Would I have? Probably not. The 18-hour flight would have been miserable. I also would have been worried the entire time about having to do things I physically couldn’t… hiking, climbing, not fitting somewhere. None of these things would have been an issue and weren’t an issue – but, the uncertainty would have held me back. I also went to China a couple months ago… I climbed the stairs to the top of The Great Wall and on my birthday – would I have attempted this as a pre-op? Nope.
According to my niece and nephews – Auntie Patty gets sick on roller coasters. The real issue was Auntie Patty doesn’t fit. Now, Auntie Patty may still get sick – but, she really gets sick.
I’ve now started dating – a whole new world. I now realize it’s not about weight, but about how I feel about myself. It’s about liking who I am, my confidence and self esteem. For some men, I’m still too fat. For others, I’m too thin. People like what they like, and have preferences. I get that now. I used to get angry when people didn’t want to take the time to get to know who I was on the inside and couldn’t see beyond my weight. Their loss, not mine.
I used to get angry when my “normal” size friends bitched about how fat they were in front me. What could I say being over 300 pounds? I now get that it’s all relative – and find myself bitching about the extra 25 pounds I’m carrying. It’s all relative. However, I try very hard not to bitch about my weight in front of others.
I feel healthy. I never realized how icky I used to feel, until I had something to compare it to. While I was lucky and didn’t have any co-morbidities, I was smart enough to know it was only a matter of time. I am also 5-years cancer free. And, while it may not be directly related to my weight loss, studies show that weight loss has a positive impact on preventing cancer, or in my case reoccurrence.
I’ve met a lot of wonderful people here on OH, and have been inspired by each of your journeys. Whether it be your quest for surgery and the tenacity of your insurance company battles, or watching your inner beauty emerge as you shed the excess pounds. Your support, knowingly or unknowingly, has been a critical part of my journey. Thank you.