Happy 11th Surgiversary!

11th anniversary

On the morning of October 5, 2004 I did something that changed my life…..I had gastric bypass surgery. After having spent the majority of my life battling to lose weight, and after fighting with my health insurance company as they constantly change their approval criteria, I set off for the hospital to have surgery. That day was my youngest daughter’s birthday (she turned 3 that day) and my mother told me if anything were to go wrong during surgery it would become the worst day in her life. She was worried, as are the family and friends of anyone who is choosing to take what they see as elective surgery. It was not elective to me. It was absolutely necessary. I didn’t want my daughter to have future birthday memories of a mom who wasn’t able to do things because of chronic pain. My life hasn’t been the same since that morning. Here it is, eleven years and a little over month later, and what those of us in the bariatric world call a  surgiversary…..the anniversary of your surgery….. has quietly gone by. Actually, it didn’t quietly go by. I was just too darn busy and the day passed by. I only thought about it because my daughter was looking at a old family picture and wondered who that person was in the photo. It was the former 300 lb me. Looking at that picture made me think back to what has gone on in those eleven years?

My highest weight before surgery was 320 lbs.

Weight at the time of surgery 290 lbs.

Lowest weight 158 lbs (down 132 lbs from the date of surgery).

Current weight 172 lbs (down 118 lbs) according to my scale this morning.

I went from a size 28/30 to a 12/14.

I no longer live with chronic knee and back pain. My chiropractor only sees me on rare occasions when I’ve ended up needing an adjustment because of a migraine. Prior to surgery I was there frequently due to the chronic back pain.

My doctor says my lab work is better than his other patients my age and even those in their 20’s and I am no longer pre-diabetic.

I regained 50 lbs and then spent a year and a half losing it again.

I became lactose intolerant and ended up with reactive hypoglycemia but figured out how to deal with those things.

I returned to college, got a Bachelor’s Degree in Food and Nutrition (cum laude no less) and recently I passed the licensing test to be a Registered Dietitian.

I ended up getting divorced.

I had two surgeries to deal with the “lose” skin. More like melted skin but that’s a whole different story.

I now do all the things I wanted to to but couldn’t due to pain…..walking long distances, white water rafting, ice skating, bike riding and so much more. I can wear my kids out!

Occasionally my kids raid my clothes and wear my clothes.

I met a great guy who I am happy to have as a partner in crime.

Surgery wasn’t the easy way out and the fight to maintain my weight loss continues every day. Only now I win it more than lose it.

My life has changed for the better and I’m very happy that I went through with it. The journey has not been a bed of roses but life rarely is. My surgiversary day/weekend was spent walking and hiking through the woods geocaching with my guy. I met someone just as dorky as I am. How great is that! We walked over three miles of trails, hiked up and down hills, crawled down into an old bunker to find our geocache treasure and enjoyed the day. Before surgery I was lucky to walk up and down stairs. Now I can run them.

When asked if I would do it again without hesitation I would say hell yes! I only wish I did it sooner. My advice for others who are following along this same path or thinking about doing it is to remember that surgery isn’t a cure. It gives you a life long tool that will be there for you but you have to use it. If you set it aside and return to old habits it won’t work. But, the good thing, is you will not break it and it will always be there for you to use again. A regain of 50 lbs in a year taught me that lesson.

There is no one right or wrong way. Everyone must figure out what changes they can make in their lives that will affect them for the best. You are not someone else so stop comparing yourself to them. Focus your time on learning methods to handle yourself in different situations where food is involved. You will never eat to perfection but each meal will give you another opportunity to remake what you put on your plate. You will slip back into old habits but you can change them. Focus on well defined, small goals because they will help you achieve the bigger picture. Never let doubters hold you back. It is far easier for them to take pleasure from failures then it is to celebrate the victories.

For those who comment on taking the easy way out smile because only you will know the truth. For family and friends who tell you that EVERYONE regains the weight back know that they don’t. For those in the medical field (this goes for dietitians too) keep encouraging people to make healthier choices that work for them and don’t look down on those who regain weight. Unless you’ve walked a mile in that person’s shoes you have no idea what kind of struggle (mental, emotional or physical) they are going through.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned over these past 11 years. I look forward to finding out what new things I’ll have discovered by my next surgiversary date.

How about you? Celebrating your own surgiversary date or just making some great discoveries about yourself/life as you work through your own weight loss (or maintenance)? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about it.

3 Responses to Happy 11th Surgiversary!

  1. Happy 11 years! It sounds like you learned a lot, and I appreciate your comment about not comparing yourself to others! We are all so different, and what works for some may not work for others; it’s important to be true to ourselves. Again, happy surgiversary! 🙂
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  2. A co-worker of mine had a gastric bypass done last year and she has been seeing some amazing results – just like yours – congrats BTW! What a turnaround!
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan recently posted..Sweet Spicy Dr Pepper Chipotle Tofu BurgersMy Profile