Today, January 25th, is the fifth anniversary of my weight loss surgery. It’s hard to believe that so much time has gone by!
Because the last six months in particular have been mostly a discouraging struggle with some regain of weight, I’m probably not feeling quite as overjoyed as I could be. I’m sort of bummed that I’m sitting 60 pounds from goal weight and that I still haven’t hit that magic number after five years.
Then I stop, give myself a mental shake and remind myself just how far I’ve come.
I’ve lost 136 pounds from my top weight and, even with the regain I experienced I’m maintaining a weight loss equal to the total body weight of many of my friends and family members. (Okay, I have a LOT of friends and family who weigh even less than 136 pounds.)
Before my surgery, I had Type II diabetes and was on a prescription to lower my blood sugar. I was on a beta blocker and a second medication for high blood pressure, plus yet another prescription for high cholesterol. Now, I’m not on any of those meds and not dealing with those conditions.
At age 59, even carrying too much excess poundage, I am much more physically fit than ever in my life. If I was this fit when I was an active kid, I sure don’t remember. It’s common for me to do a 45 minute intense rowing workout with my heart at 90% plus maximum rate and stick with it, mixed in with strength-building exercises and other “fun” stuff. (Today we held wall sits for 90 seconds. Ever do a wall sit. Oh, go try it, just for fun. Put your feet shoulder width apart about a foot or so from a wall, back against the wall and go into the sitting position with your thighs parallel to the floor. See how long you can hold that position before your legs start to burn. Really, we’ll wait. 🙂 )
Okay, I’m just kidding, unless you want to give your upper legs a quick workout. I just described it because I’m proud of the fact that I can do that and other exercises. Like planks and sit ups and a number of other things that I couldn’t do before. I still ride my bike outside too, which I wouldn’t have attempted before the surgery.
In the last five years, because of the weight loss and better fitness, I’ve experienced some wonderful adventures during great vacations. The summer before my surgery when I went to Alaska, I could barely walk a couple of blocks before I would feel my heart pound and gasp for air. Plus, my entire body hurt.
In the last five years, I’ve been to Hawaii twice where I’ve snorkeled, done snuba, hiked down, across and out of a crater and other cool sites. I’ve even ziplined.
I’ve gone on a couple of cruises which gave me the opportunity to take long kayak trips, more snorkeling, help race in a sailboat, do hour long line dance lessons and other fun things.
Last August, I spent 10 days in Brazil on a rustic river boat exploring the Amazon. Each day we stepped from the boat into large canoes and then sometimes climbed out of them up river banks. On one memorable day we jumped off them into an enchanted lake and I then had the upper body strength to boost myself up out of the water and back into the canoe.
Before my arthritic knee started to get worse, I even participated in some 5K walks.
By losing so much weight, I’ve enjoyed a countless variety of NSVs – non-scale victories. Just being able to walk without gasping is a joy. So is fitting comfortably in an airplane seat – even the middle seat – and also being able to buckle the seat belt. Speaking of fitting in seats, one of my closest friends and I spent two days at Universal Studios two years ago. I’d avoided theme parks and rides since 1998 because I just knew I’d be humiliated when I couldn’t close the safety bar. At Universal, we rode all but one of the rides and I never had an issue. I was elated!
Even at home, my life is so much fuller and more able. From Tai Chi to Zumba classes, to the simple activity of functioning better on any given day, I can do so much more – and so much more comfortably.
Emotionally, the last five years have been happier, more joyful, and less dragged down by the constant impact of being a Super Obese person. Do I still have challenges connected with the never-cured disease of an eating disorder? Yes, and sometimes I can get down. I’m only human and that’s nothing unusual. Nobody is happy-happy-joy-joy 24/7/365. But there again, things are so much better and healthier. My spirit is lighter.
So, five years out from surgery, life is very grand indeed. I have more adventures I want to take, among them other things like Brazil that I would never have attempted at 386 pounds. I am geared up to get back on the losing track so that I can finally lose the remaining weight and get to goal.
I am so, so happy that I finally had the surgery five years ago. Doing so restored my health and has helped me reclaim my life. Happy Surgiversary to me!