Hey, all you Losers!
I'm a day late, but I wanted to post something to commemorate my one year surgiversary. It's so hard to believe it's been a year! And yet so much has happened, so much has changed - sometimes it feels like it's been far longer than just 12 months. Sorry in advance, this is going to be another long Kio post (tm). In fact... this may be my longest one yet!
A re-cap of my story: I started thinking seriously about WLS in April of 2017, but I wasn't really sure I'd go through with it until... probably sometime in June of that year. I weighed myself in April for the first time in over a year, and clocked in on my home scale at 355 - which I have been using as my starting weight, though I know I've weighed upwards of that. I think my high weight was really about 365-375, but I'd lost 100 lbs from that somewhere in 2013 or so on Paleo, and had been steadily regaining ever since. I had given up entirely, and was eating so much crap. My typical day started with taking my housemate Leah to the train, then going to Dunkin and getting a double order of hashbrowns and either a couple of donuts or a breakfast sandwich and some donuts and a sugary coffee. Then I'd swing over to the drug store and pick up some chips (Doritos or sour cream and onion Stax were my drug of choice) and some Mike & Ike or a bag of chocolate candy. I'd work on all that through the morning, then order something out for lunch (a burger or something with fries and a coke), then after lunch start work again on the chips and candy. They'd be gone by the time Leah got home, and then we'd typically order out for dinner. There was also almost always a dessert. This was practically *every day*. I was a food addict of the first order, and it was getting worse.
I lost my dad in 2016. He was the best dad ever. He made it to 84. He had sleep apnea, diabetes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and COPD, and was getting around via motorized wheel chair for around the last 5 years of his life. I miss him terribly. When he died, he weighed about what I did. I think that's what made me decide to try again - try something, anything, to avoid living out his past as my future. It took some time and a few more precipitating events (not much worse in life than needing an MRI and not fitting in the machine).
But eventually April 2017 rolled around and I started investigating WLS. At the same time I went totally low carb / keto. I knew it would work - it had before - I just had no faith that it would work long-term. I still think I was right about that - it wouldn't have worked long-term - but it worked great to get me to a safer weight for surgery, and that was the logic I used. I wasn't sure I was going to have surgery yet... but still, weighing less, just in case, seemed like a good idea.
I met my surgeon for the first time in May, at 350 lbs. I had some issues that ruled out the sleeve, so we agreed on bypass. I went through the program's various appointments with a "we'll see" attitude, and sometime in June, I went from "if I have surgery" to "when I have surgery" in my head. It coincided with the point at which I had to pay a $350 non-refundable program fee to the hospital. I wasn't about to lay that out for no reason. I went through it, got my surgery date, and on September 8 (weighing 298 lbs!) I went under the knife.
Everything I could say about the journey after that, I've pretty much already said over the past year in this blog. So let's fast forward to yesterday!
Yesterday morning, I got on the scale first thing, as usual. I weighed 173 lbs. That's a loss of 182 lbs total, 125 since my surgery date. I now weigh less than half of what I did when I first started this journey, which means I've lost an entire ME in this process. And since I'm a big fan of reflecting and looking back, it's time to go to the LIST!
Here's what I wanted out of WLS when I started - originally posted September 2, 2017, a week before surgery. Commentary in black is from that date; commentary in red is from today.
Top 10 things I want to do when I'm lighter:
- Yoga. I've spent so long being basically disabled - painful joints, sore muscles, walking by holding onto things - that I'm really looking forward to getting some flexibility back. I want to do poses and salute the sun and god knows what else... that is the extent of what I know about yoga! I... have not done any yoga yet. Yoga classes, it turns out, are expensive! But I'm counting this as half a win anyway, because I do stretching sessions with a trainer at my gym. I keep waiting for something to be too hard to do... but nothing is too hard. I've got a little twinge in one shoulder unrelated to weight, but that was it. And I am TONS more flexible than I used to be!
- Crossfit. Right now it sounds absolutely horrible, but it also sounds like the kind of thing that gets you in shape and keeps you in shape through the combined forces of resistance training and cult-like peer pressure. I've never done much of the former, but I'm extremely susceptible to the latter. (however, I've just looked it up, and crossfit gyms are freaking expensive. WTH. Well, maybe I can use some of the money I'll be saving by not eating much???) I checked out a Crossfit gym, but honestly, it DID give me a really strong cult vibe, so I stayed away. Also, super expensive. But this is a win anyway, because about two months ago, I joined my local Planet Fitness, and I've been alternating resistance training one day with cardio the next. I feel really good - like with the stretching, when my trainer first showed me the weight machines, I kept waiting for some movement I couldn't do. But there never was one. Everything was possible! It even felt GOOD. Plus, PF has an on-call trainer you can get help from as part of your membership, no extra fee - or take random classes from, which are usually 1:1. I've been taking shameless advantage.
- Hiking. This one's a bit out there, as I have always found walking very difficult and I have a deathly fear of insects, particularly flying ones. Particularly flying ones with stingers. Still, I love the woods, and I live next to a huge lovely reservation with trails and like...terrain. I can't remember the last time I walked on anything you would call terrain. Most of the time it's challenging enough to walk on things called "concrete". But nature! I want to be in it. OK so, truth... this is just half a win. I am still deathly afraid of insects. And the mosquitoes have been dining on me WAY too frequently lately. I do not hike. Maybe I will when Fall really sets in and the mosquitoes all die off. But right now, not so much. Instead, I walk the dog a LOT. Anywhere from 2 to 4 miles. And that may not sound like a lot to many of you, but for me it's a new life. I couldn't walk from one end of my living room to the other a year ago, not without pain and breathlessness. Now I can walk a few miles and come back home and mow the lawn. Speaking of...
- Mow the lawn. God knows it needs it. It combines all the worst parts of hiking with gross sweaty manual labor, but it would be great not to have to rely solely on my housemate feeling like mowing or our lovely, helpful neighbor coming over and doing it himself when he gets disgusted with the height of the grass. (really, he's great, and has never once hinted that this is his motive. But nobody is that genuinely helpful - right??? He has to be doing it for his property value. Or maybe he's just a saint.) This one definitely goes in the "win" column. I mow the lawn like a mad thing - and we moved to a bigger place with a bigger yard three months ago, so the mowing is pretty intense. It takes me three charges of the lawnmower battery to do the front, and at least two to do the back. Then there is weedwhacking to do - about an hour to do the entire perimeter and the edges of all the beds - and then the clean-up, which is mainly blowing grass off the driveway and sidewalks. I've gone from watching my housemate mow the lawn because I could barely do one trip the length of it to being the sole person in charge of lawnmowing in the household.
- Park far away from things. One thing I never need to know about myself is how much time I've wasted in life looking for an open parking spot close to whatever. I look forward to not having to care. I'd rather park in Timbuktu than circle endlessly finding a good spot. You know - something close enough that I can walk from the car to the thing without getting too tired/achy to actually do the thing I came there to do. Another full win. I can park blocks away if I need to, and I often do. At Costco or when we need to be downtown, I don't think anything of parking a long way away and walking in to wherever I need to be!
- Shopping! I actually just thought of this one. Not only will shopping be more fun because I can buy nicer, more flattering clothes - it'll also be easier because I can do it for more than 5 minutes without needing to sit down and rest. Another win! I can wander endlessly through clothes stores, department stores, grocery stores... and I never need to sit down to rest. AND I never need to hold onto a shopping cart! I used to have to prop my front half up on the cart, basically, leaning on it like a walker. Now I often grab a handbasket in the grocery store instead of a cart, and I amble around as long as I want.
- Stand around chatting with people at the office. I'm not the world's most outgoing person - in fact, I'm pretty socially awkward. But part of that social awkwardness has come from fear that if I walk anywhere, someone I know will stop me halfway there and want to either talk to me, or join me for one of those walking meetings like on West Wing. In the first case, I end up talking to someone while in great pain, and then having to sit down before I can continue on to wherever I was going. And in the second case, I have to huff and puff between sentences because I'm out of breath from walking. To avoid those things, I generally walk a lot of places as quickly as I can with my head down, refusing to make eye contact. Believe me when I tell you - this does not make people think you're super normal and probably a great gal to spend time with! Definite win. I stand and chat ALL THE TIME at work now. Or walk and chat, like we were characters in The West Wing. I am a fully upright and mobile Kio now! It has really expanded my social world at work a lot, and I love it.
- Kayak! I actually don't really care much about kayaking, but my housemate does, and she won't do it by herself, so I want to be able to go with her. At my current weight I feel like I'd sink most boats, so I'm not too keen on it. No win here... but to be fair, we don't own any kayaks, and Leah hasn't gone kayaking either yet! When she does, I will totally go with her. And I won't sink the boat, because WE WEIGH EXACTLY THE SAME NOW.
- Go back to Turks and Caicos. I had an amazing time going there at 308 lbs; I imagine going there at my goal weight would be amazing times infinity. We're planning to go back in 2 years, and I can't even imagine how different it will be. I'm looking forward to finding out. No win here yet, either, but that is financially driven, not weight-driven. I would go in a heartbeat, and I would love it, but we're still saving. Right now, the plan is maybe to go next year. And I am QUITE sure it will be totally amazing!
- Travel of other sorts. I'm thinking maybe about Scotland. I've got a friend who lives there and I'd love to go see the countryside, maybe visit some castles. I've always been deterred by the number of stairs conjured up by the term "castle". Plus I imagine you get there by walking long distance on the moors. Or something. Are there moors in Scotland? I guess I'll find out! I haven't been to Scotland... again, finances. But I have done other travel - most notably a road trip to Chicago that was perfectly miserable when I did it several years ago, and which was awesome and fun this year. I drove all the way, and was comfortable all the way - I didn't feel stuffed into the driver's seat even once. So half a win!
So a definite 6.5 out of 10 on things I wanted to do. But you know, I really count this as 10 out of 10 - because I COULD do any of these, if I wanted to and had infinite cash on hand. I'm no longer limited by my weight - just finances and personal inclination. Just the fact that I COULD do something, just by wanting to, is enough to count it as a win here. I have so many more choices now, and my world has opened up so much... and THAT is what's really important.
There are a few negatives. I have a lot of floppy skin hanging out on my arms and belly and thighs - enough that I'm seriously considering plastics, if I make it down to goal and manage to stay there. I have a daily, haunting fear of failure - that I'll never make it to goal. That I'll stop losing, start gaining, and end up back where I started. My weight loss HAS slowed - I only lost 3 lbs this month, though that was at least partly due to a splurge on vacation. And I've felt hungry lately - mainly in the mornings when I wait too long before breakfast. I can eat more lately - not a ton more, but definitely more than I used to. My hope is that these fears will keep me honest, and on track - and not just drive me insane.
And honestly - I wonder what I would have said if, a year ago, my doc had told me: "You'll lose most of your excess weight. But only for about three years. Then you'll gain it back." Would I have gone through with it anyway? I think I would have. I don't think that will happen - I think I'll be okay. But I do think I would have gone ahead, even if there had been some kind of expiration date. This experience would make it worth it.
So I'm going to keep on keeping on! I know I have all of you guys to cheer me on and help me stay on track - you've been with me this far, and I'm sure TT will help me haul myself the rest of the way to goal. I'm so grateful to you all, and to this wonderful, supportive place. *HUGS* to you losers!!!
(33 lbs to go! I can TOTALLY do this!!!) (Pics to come... after more mowing!)