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Friday, February 24, 2012

Seven Years -- No Itch

They say time flies when you're having fun, but I find it flies right by just when you're living life. At least, that's been my experience in the seven years since I had gastric-bypass surgery. My head spins when I think of all the changes I've gone through over the years. Though the physical changes are most noticeable, I think it's the emotional changes that have made the biggest difference.

I remember sitting at Kaiser South San Francisco during bariatric orientation with my first husband. Part of the program involved patients at various post-op stages describing their experiences. More than one mentioned being frustrated because they were treated differently at a new size. When I think on that now, I can't help but laugh. I am treated dramatically different than I was before, but I am not bitter about it. How can I be? I AM DIFFERENT. I think differently, talk differently and interact with the world differently than I did at 350 pounds.  I am truly half the person I used to be. I don't think it's possible to undergo that big of a physical change and not be internally affected.
February 2005: Awaiting surgery.

I used to be a great observer. I think that's why I did so well in the newspaper field. I knew how to blend into the background (not easy when you're that big) until people forgot I was there. I watched. I listened. But I didn't participate. Ask anyone, that wallflower of years past is long gone. I won't lie. I think there are many people who miss her, but most have removed themselves from my present life. I grieved for the loss of some, but others are barely a memory as I have moved on. Those who are still present in my life get limited influence. I don't have the time, nor the energy, to live in the past.

Fall 2011: Almost seven years later.
I have no regrets, and there is nothing from my old life that I miss. I don't miss only being able to shop at Lane Bryant or Torrid for clothing. I don't miss my knees hurting every day. I don't miss the amount of time or effort it took me to move throughout the world. I don't even miss chocolate cream pie, which used to be my favorite dessert in the entire world. I love my life as it is right now. I love being a wife and mother. I love being an active volunteer. I love the fact that I have the energy necessary to do do all of those things and still run my own business.

When I think about it, there isn't much about my current reality that I don't relish. I feel fortunate that the tool of surgical weight loss gave me the freedom that I enjoy today. I am grateful for the changes it has forced me to make and maintain. Experts say any weight loss maintained after two years is a credit to the patient's hard work and commitment to permanent lifestyle change. If that's true, then I deserve a pat on the back. If it's not, then I owe a debt of gratitude to Kaiser, Dr. P. Legha, and the surgical team that made it all possible. Regardless, I have a deep sense of appreciation for the life I lead today, and the physical ease at which I live it.

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