Tuesday, November 25, 2014

One Year

I like Katy Perry.  I don't love every song but many of them are singable which is more than I can say for many artists these says.  The last few weeks after seeing the mash up of Roar and The Brotherhood of Man from How to Succeed in Business on Hart of Dixie earlier this fall Roar has been in my listening rotation. I feel strong when I listen to it.  I feel confident.  I feel motivated to keep going. (I know you want to listen, so you can play it here while you keep reading.) 

I started A Ponderous Journey around the idea of the Hero's Journey and that there are many phases along the way and transformation is a huge piece of it.
Last November 16th I included the following: As a result of successfully meeting the challenge of the abyss, the hero is transformed. The transformation is the moment of death and rebirth. Often the transformation takes the form of a revelation, a discovery or insight about oneself or one's culture. This revelation involves a change in consciousness, a change in the way the hero(ine) views life.
The day I went into surgery, I was at the bottom of the abyss.  One either climbs back up or they drown at the bottom.  I have risen.  I have made it one year.  I am transformed.

 I have more to be thankful for this year than I ever have before.  I know it may seem cliche, but I am beyond grateful for all the support I have had this year and those who have cheered me on.  I feel like I have my life back and you all were a part of that.

I had my surgery one year ago today. Last July when Celia went with me to NYU for that first consultation I was nervous but I was ready. She diligently took notes for me, listened, asked questions, eased my nerves.  She was one of many, but she was one of the first.  

Instead of recounting the last year (I have the body of work here to recount all the details) I thought I would just say some thank you's. 

Thank you to my work community. From those first conversations after I had decided to disclose that I would be having surgery to the care package the ELA team put together for me, sending me off with warm wishes and 100% support...and later to the genuine questions about what eating is like when you have a tiny tummy and never a day of judgment or questioning. That support has been unwavering. My coworkers have cheered me on the entire way and I believe having them had been a large part of my success. The decision to tell them was the second best decision I have made.

Not only was it the staff but my kids have been amazing too. My advisory of 10 girls who were worried for me when I was losing so quickly and my disclosure opened up a larger conversation about health, diet and body image. And the day when I had made it into the smallest jeans I owned and told one of my classes and they erupted in applause. I can only imagine what it has been like for some of them to see but when my boss told me I would be a great example for my students, I was not sure I believed him, but I know now it was true.

To the Facebook community. There are two parts to this. First are the support groups. In the early days the connections I made with women having surgery the same day as I was were infinitely valuable. I had a group to compare notes with, ask questions, laugh and cry to. In addition to Amanda, Sarah, and Deborah (love you ladies:-) there were the larger groups of people from all over the world and at very different places in their WLS journey. The kindness and encouragement is one of the best parts about having an online community. There have been drawbacks, but you take the good with the bad. I am grateful for the support groups.

The second Facebook faction is my friends and family who have cheered me on every step of the way. Celebrating the victories and relating to the frustrations and setbacks. The connectivity my transparency has allowed me has been immeasurable. I received notes from people I don't hear from often, but I have always been honored to know they are reading my blog and following the journey. Thanks to you all for being my own personal cheering squad. We should all be so lucky.

To Samatra, one of my oldest friends in the world who was there to help every step of the way.  From the early days before surgery to the days following and then the months.  She has been there more than I ever could have hoped for and there are not enough thanks in the world to express my love and adoration for this woman.

To Andy and Vicki, when I have come to them and said I was going to do something they always trust my decisions. They know I am not impulsive and never enter into anything lightly. I hope that by writing this blog you have felt closer to the action despite being 3000 miles away. Thank you for always supporting my choices and rooting for me.

To Jenna, my amazing therapist. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge her role in the last year. I have written so much about the head work that is required to be successful on this journey. I did three sessions a week for the last year and tore apart everything which has allowed me to rebuild. I could not have done this with out her.  It was a true collaboration.

And finally, to Charlie. Charlie I love you. Thank you for taking care of me this last year. Understanding when I got sick, going with me the ER, holding my hand, and finding eternal patience in the frustrating moments. You have cheered more than anyone for me and I love you to the moon.

November 25, 2013- 370lbs
November 25, 2014 336lbs (150 lbs less!)
One more thing...while the numbers are great, and addicting, it is about quality of life.  Less weight for me = less pain, less medication, lower BP.  I sleep better, I feel better. My quality of life is better. My relationship with food is better. I am stronger.  I didn't lose 200 lbs in the first year and that is ok.  I am not a size 5 and that is ok.  We are each different and this is a marathon and not a sprint.  I am only running against my own best time.  So if anyone is thinking about having WLS, know this: I have never had any regrets.  There are absolutely times when this is so difficult and painful I just cried but in the end, it was the right choice and I would do it again in a heart beat if faced with the decision again.

'Cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar!

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