Today, December 11, 2011, is the anniversary of what I consider a sort of "rebirth." It is the day I had bariatric bypass surgery, the surgery that changed my life for the better in most every measurable way--hopefully forever.
December 11, 2009, was the culmination of more than a year of work. I signed up for Kaiser's bariatric program in December of 2008, was accepted and scheduled to begin the required six month class a short time later. I learned better habits, and made good friends. When the day came, I felt prepared and at ease. Two years on, I still have no regrets. I would do it again tomorrow.
This is an important milestone in another way: by this point, the effects of the surgery have essentially worn off. Sure, I still have to be mindful of what I eat, and definitely how I eat it. Things can and do become uncomfortably lodged, forcing me to send them back out the way they went in. I still have to supplement with vitamins. But the glorious, rapid weight loss is done. My stomach has expanded some, as expected, and my body has adjusted to its rearranged state.
From this point forward, it is "all me." I cannot rely on the physical effects of the surgery to keep me from going astray. It is now on my shoulders to make this wonderfully positive change in my life permanent. It is up to me to maintain the good habits that I have built and to have the will to parlay them into lasting success.
I am confident that I can do this. I genuinely feel that I am living a whole new life, and I would not give up how I feel now for anything. Every time I squeeze between two parked cars in a lot, every time I run to the back of a store to grab something I forgot without getting winded, every time I put on a new pair of pants that aren't the size of a circus tent, I get that reinforcing burst of joy and accomplishment. No, I will not give this up.
At my all-time high, I weight 385 pounds .
That's like a regular sized person, plus... what? A sofa? A monster truck tire? One of Michael Moore's asscheeks? I don't know, but it's a hell of a lot. I look back on that, and it feels like a nightmare. Unlike the nightmares inhabited by Freddy Krueger, this nightmare really could have killed me. It's a little hard to wrap my head around.
I'm down to 220 now. I shop off the rack wherever I want. I climb stairs with ease. I slide in and out of my car effortlessly. I can run three miles. I sleep peacefully through the night, without waking up gasping for air, or the lingering thought that tonight could be the night that I die in my sleep. Bariatric bypass gave me a new lease on life, and it is now up to me to make sure I don't squander it.