WOW! Where does the time go? Tomorrow, July 31st, 2011, marks the 5th anniversary of my weight loss surgery. As I sit here composing this I have so many conflicting thoughts, I am trying to decide the best way to memorialize this occasion. It is obviously an important milestone in the overall story of my personal health history. But what is true significance of this accomplishment? Am I physically healthier? YES! Am I mentally healthier? In some ways! Have I reached my goal weight? NO! Am I cured of the disease of Obesity? NO, but, for today, I have arrested its progress! Has weight loss surgery changed my life for the better? YES, but not without some struggles! Would I have it again? YES! YES! In a Corona, New York minute!
Physically I am much healthier than I was five years ago, and fortunately I made this decision before the disease could progress to the point of developing the co-morbidities associated with severe obesity. I had not developed diabetes, sleep apnea, or some of the more debilitating side effects associated with obesity. I had borderline cholesterol numbers, borderline high blood sugar counts and was suffering the physical limitations of being overweight. One of my biggest fears was “testing” the limits of my family. Would they help me tie my shoes, as I had seen my father do for my mother? Would I continue down the path of weight gain where my physical mobility would restrict me from seeing my daughters continue their growth and development? Fortunately, I saw the light, I recognized that all the fad diets and joining weight watchers for the 27th time, was not going to work for me and surgery would give me a chance to change the path I was walking.
Mentally, I am stronger and I don’t face the related depressions that being obese allowed me to suffer. As I have witnessed in so many others during the last 60 months, I never expected the mental challenges that go hand in hand with a significant change in our physical shell. I, as most of my peers, was ill prepared for the most significant “side-effects” of weight loss surgery. The mental stress, fighting transfer addictions, personality adjustments, learning new coping methods, and changing our relationship with food has proven for many a battle as tough as we ever fought. I recently posted a quote of Steve Maraboli’s, ‘I am so grateful for my troubles. As I reflect back on my life, I have come to realize my greatest triumphs have been born from my greatest troubles.” I believe that to be true as it applies to my weight loss surgery journey as well. Stemming from that day 5 years ago, I have encountered unexpected challenges and difficulties; facing those and finding ways to survive and grow has made me a stronger person. I have also accomplished more personal growth in these last five years than I had in the previous twenty.
Having the surgery has enriched my life in ways I would never have imagined. I have met new friends that I trust with my innermost fears and thoughts regarding my physical concerns related to obesity. I expanded my horizons and changed my life goals.
Coinciding with my celebration of this surgiversary, I am helping my father recover from open heart surgery, and that has given me sufficient pause to consider my future as it relates to the next five years. My LIPO dream remains very much alive and is healthy, but I am rethinking my professional goals of working directly within the business side of the bariatric community. I hope and suspect that I can find my niche’ as a professional working within the community when the time and situation is right for me.
Regrets? I have none! I have made some mistakes that I am sorry for as it relates to others, but the reality of my life is a culmination of each and every step of my journey and has allowed me to become the woman I am today. My surgery was one of those steps and I would do it again!
Happy Surgiversary to one and all; be it a day or a decade!