A little bit of background on me…

I have been asked a few times to give some history to my story.  I am currently trying to write a more detailed account but for now, this is a blog that I wrote on my last anniversary of my gastric bypass.  It covers quite a bit so I thought it would be a great place to start from.

On April 12, 2014 I hit my 7 year anniversary of my gastric bypass. I took my comparison photos and felt like I wanted to wait until I had solid numbers from my bodpod reading so I could post everything together. It’s interesting what your mind goes through when learning about your body. For those of you that have followed my journey this far, you know one of the turning points that actually prompted me was going into the ER with heart palpitations and having the ER tech stamp MORBIDLY OBESE in big red letters on my chart before they even asked me my name. It was THAT moment that made me change the way I looked at myself. I knew then, how the world saw me and to a certain extent I had just accepted it up until then. In those few moments it didn’t matter what my own mindset was, no matter how “loud & proud” I was of being a big, beautiful woman, I was always going to be confined by those 13 big red letters. I searched out alternatives, changed careers and got my surgery on 04/12/2007. I was 40 years old.

In doing so I literally saved my life. Had I waited even 2 years longer, I would not be here today. No one knew, not even my doctors, that I had Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) Syndrome. What they found during surgery was a liver that was three times bigger than it ever should have been. There was severe inflammation of my liver, I did with fat, what alcoholics do with alcohol. I weighed over 450 pounds, had type 2 diabetes, PCOS syndrome, and sleep apnea so bad nothing could be done to regulate me. If I had waited to have surgery, in two years I would have needed a liver transplant and would never have been able to lose enough weight on my own to even be considered an applicant for the wait list. Thus, I would have died. So I know full well the choices I made saved my life. There is never any question of that within my soul.

The past 7 years have been amazing but they have also been hard. Your body goes through changes you can never expect, you have to adjust to being treated differently from everyone, strangers, family, friends, lovers. Nothing stays the same. I lost so much hair in the first year I thought I would go bald. I looked older than I was because my skin was not keeping up with my weight loss. My nutrients were up and down. Physically, mentally, spiritually, my world changed. It had to. Yet inside, the old me was still there too. Sometimes it felt like I had a split personality. Friends that were my size saw me as a threat, as someone they didn’t want to trust again, because I gave in to “vanity” and I didn’t believe in the “fat girl” creedo any longer. The new friends never knew me as a big girl, and yet I was still considered “fat” by normal society standards. So I wasn’t “fat” yet I wasn’t “skinny”, I was without a comfort space. And that can take its toll on you mentally.

Being “inbetween” was frustrating. I have always walked to the beat of a different drummer, I was not typical in any sense of the word. But finding a niche helps you feel like you are a part of something greater and I wanted that again. I started fighting in SCA again, it gave me a way to learn how to use my new body. I found old friends, made new ones and have enjoyed my time in medieval re-creation more than ever. But it never quite fit until I found the Armored Combat League (ACL). Fighting with steel weapons, full contact combat is what I was missing. The combat, the comradery, the adrenaline, everything about it is what I crave, with every fiber of my being. It’s indescribable to those that have never felt it, but it’s almost like touching the sun.

Everything I experience keeps getting better and better, and I know that I am doing what I was born to do. This is my opus. My one true thing. Why I was put on this planet. I don’t know how, or why, I just know. Deep within my soul, the warrior burns true. Time & century matter not…for this is the gift I bare to the world.

I go into all of this because I want you to know where I am coming from and why I feel the way I do. I never want anyone to think that I am not happy with who I am or ungrateful for anything I have been given. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have been blessed. My life is wonderful, and everything I have been though in my past, both good and bad, has led me to this moment in time. I will never regret anything because it has made me the woman I am now. I spent the first 40 years of my life waiting: waiting till I lost weight, waiting till I was the right size, waiting till I could fit into a specific pair of pants. Waiting for everything…and nothing. When my life changed that day in the hospital, so did my outlook. I decided then and there I would live the rest of my life celebrating. Never waiting for anything ever again, never missing out on a chance to experience something new.

Celebration. Always.

So, in that respect, I am happy that my results are great. That nothing went up, that I am healthier than I have ever been in my entire life. Stronger than ever, more fit than I could have imagined. I am an athlete.

Let me type that again. I AM AN ATHLETE.

Even now it feels crazy that I could ever be given that label. But its what I am. I am not a perfect athlete by any means. But I am an athlete. I am a warrior. I am a woman. I am fit. And…for the first time in my life that I can remember, I am proud of myself. There are many of you out there that never say that to yourself, and you know exactly how emotional I am right at this moment typing that. Because we were never told it was ok to be proud of yourself, that in doing so you were vain and you were wrong and …and…and. Finally I have had enough of those and’s. I am proud of who I am, of what I have done. I did this. And I will never again let someone make me feel bad for saying it out loud.

Ok…I know, I have spun myself off into multiple directions in this post lol. Here are the results. From when I started getting BodPod readings to now.

Date % Body Fat Fat Free Weight (lbs) Body Weight (lbs)
01/10/2012 35.3% 144.163 222.977
02/14/2013 36.0% 143.884 224.958
07/08/2013 34.0% 148.298 224.806
10/10/2013 30.8% 149.602 216.144
04/21/2014 30.8% 143.905 207.600

So as you can see my body fat percentage stayed the same from October until now. However, part of the 8.544 pounds that I have lost was muscle, which means that I am not feeding my body correctly with the increase in training. This is something that is a HUGE challenge for bariathletes (bariatric patients that have lost extreme amounts of weight that are now competing in endurance sports). I have a 2oz stomach pouch that does not function like a normal stomach. I have to feed my body differently; I do not gain nutrients from my food. I have to supplement my vitamin & nutrient intake every day or I suffer. I knew when I started training in June of 2013 that this would eventually become an issue and today it’s very evident.

I know my body is stronger, more muscular, and trimmed down but I also know there are pockets of fat that have been forgotten by my body and will never go away unless surgically removed. I also know that feeding my body during training is much harder than I ever anticipated and I need to focus on that much more than I have already. Many of you will look at my results and see nothing but great news, I am down to 207 pounds and that truly is a great high point for me. The struggle I am having is that I have lost muscle as well. I still have work to do.

When I first left my appointment I was in tears. I was crushed. Honestly, I looked at it like it was a step backwards, even though everything was positive. I wanted to hit something, everything that I am working towards seemed like it was for nothing, all because I didn’t hit a specific number. I do not do well with disappointment, obviously. But after looking at it from a better perspective, and a clearer mind, I feel more confident, more in tune with my body & mind.

Setbacks happen. Failure happens. It is part of life. Determination and fortitude are what have gotten me this far. So it didn’t change. It didn’t get worse, so I will quit my bitching, suck it up and deal. I will make the next round better and be stronger for it. All of this I absolutely know. The “numbers” game played with my head once again. It’s a never ending cycle and something I will always have to work through. Thanks for bearing with me while I did.

Life will always have its challenges, and from MY perspective this was one of mine. From someone else’s perspective, its trivial. Because I choose to keep myself & my journey open and because so many people have told me how my challenges have inspired them, I blogged it all, good or bad, it is what it is.

So thank you for reading this far if you’ve made it.

And thank you for giving me the inspiration to contiue doing this…

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