Yesterday, April 12, 2017 was my 10 year post-op anniversary of my Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass surgery.
Had that surgery not occurred, I would not be here today. I was told within minutes after coming out of anesthesia that I was lucky I had my surgery when I did. In two years max, I would have needed a liver transplant and at that time, I was so fat, I could not have even been considered for the wait list. I would have died before I could have lost enough weight on my own to even qualify to be put on a list…much less get a donor liver.
Yesterday, after going back over ALL my previous year’s blogs, looking at old photos, and remembering each year I took my comparison pictures, I felt thankful. I felt alive. I felt grateful.
But for the first time, in almost my entire life, I also felt “normal”.
I know I have expressed hate for this word, because I always felt like it put me into a category where I couldn’t be myself. I couldn’t stand out or feel like what I did mattered. Being “normal” always felt off to me. Hell I can barely type the damn word without using “quotation” marks to make it stand out lol.
Last night while Greg and I were celebrating, we discussed the past 10 years and the changes we have made. Interestingly enough it was funny we were celebrating at our favorite BBQ place, having wings for dinner. I told him how odd it was to think back at the days after my surgery and knowing deep down in my heart I would never be able to enjoy a meal again, yet here we were, eating a “normal” meal like everyone else around us. We both got an order of 12 wings and we went home with half of them left. So technically, we couldn’t even eat a “normal” (see I can’t stop) portion between us!
I never have to worry about not fitting into a booth any more. Or if a chair will support me, or if I am too big to fit through a doorway, or to be able to pee in a regular bathroom stall. Trips that involve flying don’t terrify me any longer because I don’t have to ask for a seat belt extender and pray that it fits.
Most of all I don’t have to worry about what people think about the food sitting in front of me, or if I order a dessert, because I look “normal”.
To many of you, any or all of these worries probably seem insane, or at the very least silly, why would someone worry about going to the bathroom and fitting into a stall?!? Yet fat people worry about it ALL THE FUCKING TIME! If we don’t do it consciously, it happens subconsciously, trust me. You would be surprised the things I never thought I had to think about…until it stopped.
I can remember suddenly realizing I didn’t have to think about where to sit, or what to sit on, or be bothered with how far away I parked, or if someone would see me sitting in my car eating a hamburger. Because now I could pass for “normal”.
Pass for Normal…
Think about that for a moment.
Even when I have lost over half my body weight, even after I have spent the last 4 years of my life working my ASS off training, putting my body through hell to train for a sport that I love, I STILL worried that I had to ‘pass for normal’.
Last night was the first time I actually admitted to feeling normal out loud. That I could enjoy my meal, eat what I wanted and feel good about it. Thinking back to how I felt that first year, I wasn’t sure I would ever get to last night. But I am there. I still have panic that some day I will wake up and be 450 pounds again, literally overnight, but those moments are few and far between.
Have I lost/gained pounds over the past 10 years? Sure. You can see it even looking back the last 6 months. My face always shows when I am gaining or losing. Right now, I am more muscle than I have been in the past but I also have additional weight too. I am the heaviest I have been since my surgery. I am at 230 pounds. A lot of that IS muscle, but I am also 50 years old. I have some work to do to get back down to my 200-210 range but I am no longer willing to put my body through the adrenal fatigue, the excessive training and the obsessive worrying about my weight that I have done over the past 10 years.
I struggled this year, with learning how to train my body the correct way and not put myself through the trauma I have in the past. Its difficult when you are competing with 25 year old’s, and knowing that their bodies react so much differently than yours. But with age comes knowledge and I have to learn how my body needs to be trained and not over train because I feel the need to beat every 25 year old into submission.
Trust me. Its a daily struggle.
I also had a lot of stress this past 6 months. I’ve had to deal with an office reorganization on top of learning how to go from being the only woman on the team to leading 9 women on our own team.
Its been a rough ride. Its been well worth it, but believe me, my ulcer and hormones have needed a break for awhile now. And my weight shows it.
But when yesterday came and went, there wasn’t any guilt. There wasn’t any shame. There wasn’t any regret. There was just happy, joyful, “NORMAL” me.
I kept waiting for it all to sink in and throw me into the pit of despair I had always fought when I would gain or lose weight or when my numbers weren’t as good as I thought they would be…
but it never happened.
I’m alive. That’s pretty fucking amazing.
I’m an athlete. We go through plateaus and barriers and we figure it out.
All of this is…
For the lack of a better word…I am normal.
And while it still rubs me the wrong way when I say it…its ok.
Just this once 😛