March 15, 2012

one year

Today marks my one year anniversary.
At this time, last year, I was laying in a hospital bed dozing in and out of consciousness.

This was me. 

Eighteen months ago I decided to navigate my way through the journey of gastric bypass surgery. Increasing medical difficulties were weighing heavy on my mind and body. Sleep apnea, asthma, chronic bronchitis, fatty liver to name a few. I was tired of carrying around the load in more ways than one. So I took the plunge and made an appointment with a surgeon. The process before surgery takes about six months. Many doctor appointments, lab work ups, support groups, visit with nutritionists, and psychological evaluations are required.

I didn't share my decision at first and when I did let it squeak out, what I was embarking on, it was received negatively. Friends and family meant well, I know that. However, the comments of "you are not that big" or "____ is losing weight the right way" or "you just need to eat better and move more" would seep into my soul and fracture it a teeny bit with every slip of the tongue. Everybody knows somebody or read something or saw something on television that sheds a not-so-positive light on the subject. The more comments, the less I shared. The thought of surgery is scary for most. Although well meaning, people would rather see a friend or loved one drown in their weight issues than go under the knife.

Then, about half way in the required six month pre-op process, my insurance denied my benefits. If I were to go through with surgery, it would be my financial responsibility. Up until the point of denial, I was still in the first stages of deciding. On the fence so to speak. Weighing my options. But, as soon as someone told me I couldn't move forward, I knew at once I wanted the surgery and I headed into battle to overturn my denial.

Fortunately, my insurance did overturn their first decision. And, about a week after the good news, I had a date scheduled. I remember the morning of surgery, the anesthesiologist appeared from behind the curtain and made reference to me being his 'smallest' patient. It was a good thing that milky white, sleepy time medicine entered my intravenous drip nearly the same time his words filled my brain because I almost decided to take my cold feet on out of that sterile environment and order up a cheeseburger. My last remembered emotion was of extreme guilt. As if I wasn't worthy of this surgery because, after all, "I wasn't that big!!"

A few hours later, I woke with rearranged guts and a huge case of buyers remorse. Sore and discombobulated. Unsure of the future.

Surgery is not the "easy way" out and recovery takes time. I had to learn how to feed myself while my insides healed. I developed a stricture which slowed the healing process. I lost hair and I was cold all the time. I was hungry and angry I couldn't belly up to the dinner table for some grub. I had to learn how to feed my soul with things other than food. But, as with all things tough and complicated, there was light at the end of the tunnel. I survived. I healed. And, I came out the other end a new person.

This is me now.

I don't regret my decision. In fact, I am overjoyed. To date, I've lost a solid ninety-three pounds. With every pound down, I have felt better and lived life more fully. No one can argue that isn't a good thing.


Carrie said...


Heidi Granken said...

Great writing! You are courageous. Hurrah and happy anniversary.

Emily said...

Congratulations, you brave, wonderful woman! This is a beautiful post.


little irish said...

You peepsies are the best! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Erin,
Congratulations! Who cares what people think or feel. Follow your bliss! Live the best life for you!! You should feel proud of yourself.

little irish said...

I love that: "follow your bliss". Perfect!! Thanks!

Jaimie said...

I am so glad that you persevered and did what you set out to do, no matter what others thought!! Yeah for you!! Yeah for sticking to your guns and helping you have a happier you!! So proud of you!!