Six years ago last Wednesday, on 01/11/2011, I underwent roux en y gastric bypass surgery, following a year long preparation, including therapy and nutrition counseling.
I won’t go into all the specifics of my history leading up to the surgery, except to say that even when I was a little kid, I was a big kid! While I was healthy-ish prior to surgery, I was tired all the time, felt down on myself, and was very self-conscious about my size, despite a long term romantic relationship and amazing friends and family that loved me just as I was. My family medical history is extensive as well. You name it, it’s on at least one side of my family, and the REALLY fun stuff is on both. And by fun I mean not fun at all, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autoimmune conditions, basically at age thirty I was a medical time bomb.
Leading up to surgery, it’s drilled into candidates that not only will our lives change in terms of what we can consume and how our bodies will change, but also what we might expect socially. For example, changes in relationships due to increased confidence on our part and a struggle with the changes on the part of those close to us. How will we handle those without turning to our food addiction or picking up new addictions?
So here’s what happened to me in the first sixteen months after my surgery while losing about 120 lbs: in April of 2011, my dad’s mom, Grandma Faith, who helped raise me, who I was always extremely close to, passed away after a six year battle with cancer, leaving an immense void in our family. Then my seven year relationship ended, I moved out on my own, and met the man that would become my husband. That emotional roller coaster was from June-September of 2011. In December of 2011, my dad, Scott, was diagnosed with lung cancer as well. We then lost him in April of 2012. I went through in a year what most people (hopefully) get to space out over more time.
I did ok. It was hard, but I had amazing support from friends and family, my husband, and my medical team and accountabilibuddies.
I have gained some of the weight back. Most surgery patients do. Damn those carbs I’ve named this blog after. But I’m still considered a success. I’m hard on myself though, and would love to get back into those size 10 jeans. So I work on sticking to a high (lean) protein diet. Lots of veggies, some fruits too, limiting bread, pasta, rice, sweets, and alcohol. I still check in with my amazing and wonderful nutrition counselor, and I’m still in therapy. And I exercise, aiming for a minimum of 45 minutes four to six days a week.
It’s really the exercise that I credit to any sucess I can claim. I get bored easily, so I find rather than slogging away on an elliptical or treadmill ( merciful Jesus save me from the treadmill) I prefer either a circuit training session or an exercise class, like Zumba. I feel powerful and like I really accomplished something in the classes.
I recently rediscovered a love for Zumba thanks to my friend Amy, who invited me to a weeknight class that starts late enough that I can make it after work.
So now I’m a regular at PS-Get Fit, LLC. Patti and Stacey kick our butts, but it’s so much fun we don’t even know how badly they’re being kicked! It didn’t take long to shake off my rust and get back some coordination. The atmosphere is so encouraging. We’re all different ages, shapes and sizes, getting together and doing something good for ourselves.
Getting back into a class routine has improved my mood and my eating habits. I’m more cheerful, more confident, a bit more sassy, and am less likely to snack on things that will zap my energy for shaking my booty. I haven’t lost any weight, but I feel fantastic!
Every day is a struggle to stay on track, and be kind to myself and stay on my path of good health. Six years out, I’d do it all again, even the emotional pain. I know I’ve come out on the other side a stronger person.