Tuesday, April 18, 2017

a year in the LIFE

A year. 365 days. 52 weeks. 12 months. That is the amount of time that has passed since that one day when my best decision became my new reality. As with each milestone that comes and passes, this one also feels a bit surreal - - like time went by entirely too quickly, but this just also seems like how things have always been....

 But, of course, this isn't how things have always been.... The way things had been for entirely too long went something like this: eat like crap, become less mobile, try to eat better, exercise a little bit, lose a few pounds, fall completely off the wagon, stop exercising, gain back every pound I'd lost and then some... repeat... repeat.... and so on. 

That was until one day when that girl on the left looked at her kitchen, which was about 20 feet from where she sat on the couch and seriously wondered if it was worth having to get up and go all the way out there to get something to drink. Seriously. I had to contemplate whether it was worth it to have to get up (no easy task) and walk the 20 feet to my kitchen to get a drink. Because at that time movement of any sort caused pain, or discomfort, or both. That was it. That was the final straw. I needed help. It was time to seriously consider surgery. I sent a text to my youngest sister about it before I changed my mind. 

I talked to a couple of people who had gone the surgery route, or knew someone who had. I found 2 fairly close ties that went through the same hospital and the same program. That was about the extend of my research. I did their online pre-qualification stuff. Received the packet and went to work on that - mailing it in as quickly as I could before I lost my nerve. My insurance wouldn't cover it - so I tried the appeals process, which was just a complete waste of time. I was lucky. I had the option to borrow the money. I will be paying for this hammock for the remainder of my days - - but at least now I will hopefully live enough days to get it paid off. And just like that, my first appointment were set. September 9, 2015. I met with a lovely nurse, a doctor and the nutritionist. I used valet at the hospital, because I wanted to walk as little as possible. I weighed 495 pounds. That number was humiliating. How I let myself get as far gone as I did is beyond me. Really. 

I had appointments with the physical therapy department and the psychologist. For the physical therapy appointment I had to walk down to the other end of the hospital. I literally had to sit down and take breaks. It was just too far for me to walk in one stretch. 

I had to do a sleep study, and found I had absolutely horrible sleep apnea. I met repeatedly with each department until they all finally gave me their approval to have this surgery done. I had my final appointments what ended up being about 6 weeks prior to my surgery. I finally met my surgeon - Dr. Thomas Jones. He said he's assembled the exact team he wanted to perform my surgery, and my date would be Monday, April 18th. You see - even though I was going to weight loss surgery, I was still heavier than most that have this procedure done. I was advised at an early appointment that they wanted me to lose 50-70 pounds prior to my surgery, to make it less dangerous. I also had to sign forms that said I understood that if something did go wrong during surgery, I was still too heavy for the machines that would help them figure out what was wrong - - so they'd basically just have to open me back up, and go exploring. So basically I was too fat for weight loss surgery. 

what I now lack in boob I make up for in swinging arm fat
It was right around Thanksgiving of 2015 that I met with, and started working with Scott. The 2nd best decision I've made in quite some time. I cannot express enough my gratitude to him. Sure - I would have lost weight with just the surgery....but for me the goal was to always get back to healthy. I would not be anywhere near where I am right now without him helping me get to that goal. I still have SOOOO far to go - - but I'm definitely headed in the right direction. And my FUPA isn't hanging to my knees - and I believe he is solely responsible for that. 

It's been a year. Someone sent me something soon after my surgery written by another person who had a similar surgery that basically said you forget about all the bad things associated with the surgery, because the good things are so good. I have searched for that recently - but can't seem to find it anywhere. But it's true. Those bad spots: the liquid diet, the few months after surgery where everything has to be mush, the fatigue, etc - - all of it pale so much when compared to the overwhelming positives. I have my life back. I know that sounds so cliche - but it is the truth! I was damn near immobile - and just last weekend I put on about 17 miles walking around, exploring a new city with my friends. I'm realizing how low I had allowed myself to get, and I am definitely feeling like I'm on the upswing...and it is nothing short of absolutely fantastic!