Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Seven years ago today I died.
In the recovery room, after my gastric bypass, weighing 486 pounds, I pulled out my breathing tube (I wasn't even awake yet). They couldn't get it back in. I stopped breathing. My heart stopped. I died.
CPR followed, and finally the anesthesiologist was able to get a pediatric breathing tube into me. And then, I lived.
I woke up the next afternoon in ICU, still on a ventilator. Not the greatest beginning to my journey, but a beginning nonetheless. Four days later I was home. At two weeks, my entire incision opened up, and I spent 2 months with visiting nurses coming to pack the wound. Finally, it closed. Then came the hernia. The first of 6. And then the reconstructive surgeries--breast reduction and lift, arm lift, tummy tuck, a thigh lift so badly botched it left my right thigh 2 inches bigger than the left. And a non-healing abdominal wound--for over 5 years.
I traded in my size 4X-5X, catalog only clothing, my shortness of breath with ANY exertion, including just talking, the inablility to do so many things most people take for granted--walk more than 10 feet, fly on a plane, go to the movies or a concert, tie my own shoes. In exchange, I got the hernias, barfing after eating anything that didn't quite agree with me, hair loss, and the inability to eat more than a tiny amount of food at one time. Oh, and I got weight loss. LOTS of weight loss.
One year after the surgery, I weighed 273. I'd lost 213 pounds. I could walk. i could tie my shoes. I could go to the movies, fly on a plane, all those things I hadn't been able to do before. I was a size 24--I could even buy clothes at the mall sometimes. But I wasn't done.
Over the next year, as my weight loss slowed dramatically, I got down to 236 pounds--a loss of 250. Then, I got careless. I played with 10 or 20 pounds for awhile, then 30, then more, and before I knew it, I was 6.5 years out, and I'd regained 50 pounds. Something had to give, and soon.
On January 2, 2008, I started the newest leg of my journey. Having lost 10 pounds since November (after the 6th hernia repair), I started back to the gym. And for the first time in my life, I liked it! I started eating better, but the weight was slow to come off--just a pound a week, from the start. I joined a Biggest Loser challenge online, for support and encouragement. After 2 weeks, I went to Canyon Ranch and discovered organic eating. I also learned 2 weeks later that I was sensitive to wheat, dairy, and egs, so I eliminated them. My weight loss picked up a bit.
On February 12, I found SparkPeople. I had been writing down everything I ate since I got back from Canyon Ranch--now i was putting it into the computer. I could tell exactly how much fat, protein, carbs, fiber, and calories I was getting each day. My exercise increased. I was LOVING going to the gym. The weight started falling off--4 pounds a week, 3 pounds, 4.5 pounds...something was working. And I found a whole community of people who actually understood what was going on.
Today it is 7 years since that day that I died. That day I chose, albeit unconsciously, to live again. Today I weigh 234 pounds. I have lost 252 pounds--more than half my weight. I wear a size 18-20W. I can walk 2 miles. I can do an hour on the elliptical. I can wear all my "skinny" clothes, and some are even too big. I have the smallest waist in my family. My children told me today that I look nice, and I'm not fat anymore, well, maybe just a little fat. (gotta love those kids!) I take my supplements religiously, exercise with pleasure, and make sure to get in lots of protein. I'm healthier than I've been in years. Not too surprising, since the last time I weighed this little was 15 years ago, in 1993!!
But I'm not done yet. I'd set a goal of 210 pounds, and that still stands, sort of. i've been thinking lately that I might want to go lower. And since my body seems to be shedding weight like a snake sheds its skin, I think my body would like to go lower too. So once I hit that 210 mark, I'll just keep going and see where my body takes me.
In July, I am going to Scotland. i've wanted to do this for over 20 years, and now i am doing it. I wanted to be in good shape for this trip, and now I am. I wanted to be able to walk and sightsee and enjoy things without pain, and now I can. I don't know how much more I'll lose by then, but whatever it is will only help matters.
When I return, I will continue my journey down the scale for as long as my body decides to do so. And when I find a comfortable spot, I'll settle in there. My fat days are gone. Forever. I will not go back, only ahead. No longer will I abuse my body with excess food and with chemicals and additives that poison it. My body is a temple, and I will treat it as such. After all, if I don't take care of my body, where will I live?
And I plan to live a long, long time.