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Almost a Year Out: Having to Take the Heifer by the Horns (Part 1)

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I am almost one year out (August 17, 2009) from having surgery. I had tried almost everything to lose weight. Nothing was working to help me. In essence, I was well on my way to having a heart attack, diabetes, stroke, and/or dying. Over the years, I had procrastinated about losing weight and even had a strong family history for cardiac problems as well as diabetes. New Years Resolutions were made and broken; diet attempts were made to no avail. Several years ago, I had a family member ask me, “Do you have to special order your blue jeans?” That question was devastating enough; it should have been my “wake up call” but still the pounds mounted. Finally two years ago, a little voice whispered in my ear: “Do something now, before it’s too late.” I wanted to live, I had things to do, people to see, I couldn’t just die. I quit smoking September 2008, so I made the most drastic decision I had ever made in my life—to have surgery.

At age forty-nine, I attended two seminars a year apart. The programs offered several resolutions. With help from my husband, I made the painful decision to have surgery. Of course, I had questions, was scared, and knew that there were risks to having the procedure. It soon came to me as a realization: “I was going to die” if I didn’t go through with it. So, I did all my pre-op papers, general blood work (yes, a baseline Arterial Blood Gas ABG, EKG and a Colonscopy, Upper and Lower GI (yuck!))Yes, that too as the surgeon needs to know if you have any underlying problems. The program required me to have a psychological evaluation. It’s only to see your if your “head” is in the right mental state to take on this type of surgery, because what I was doing was not to be taken lightly. Some people choose surgery for different reasons.

The morning of August 17, 2009 loomed in front of me. A month before, I was required to lose ten pounds. At my heaviest, I weighed almost three hundred pounds. Now, I was down to two hundred and eighty-three. I was checked in, my pre-op protocols were started (IV, BP, Blood work) It was a waiting game, one where I would come out on the other side … a different person. (You got that right.) The surgery went fine; I had several complications at first, but they were corrected within a couple of days. Being sore was part of the game, not as bad as being totally opened up, I was grateful for the medication available.

After the first day, I crawled painfully out of the bed to the restroom, then gradually began walking in the hallway, so I wouldn’t develop post-op complications with my lungs. My hospital stay was from a Monday until Saturday. Going home was good; I wanted to start my new life. Days have been up and down. It was like taking a step forward and two steps back—sometimes they were good and bad. Gradually things smoothed out, days into weeks, weeks into months. There for a while, I had a Vitamin D deficiency and needed mega doses to correct that. The weight was dropping off me and my husband began to call me “Droopy Drawers.” Throwing up occasionally was a part of my routine; I finally got it under control with a few months.

Months rolled by with my clothes starting to hang. A friend and I would go to secondhand shops to get clothes to fit our shrinking bodies. There was no sense in buying nice clothes as you drop weight; you just wind up giving them up. Now, it is June and I have come down by one hundred and seven pounds, I have dropped eight dress sizes and wearing a size sixteen. I haven’t worn a size sixteen since I was in high school! You have to understand I have been obese most of my adult life. Even when I was nineteen, I was heavy.

Today, I speak to you as a changed woman. I finally roped “that heifer” and got her under control. She fights with me everyday, snorting and cutting up, so I just have to pull her back in line. Each day is a learning experience. The best thing about changing is being able to sit comfortably, wear clothes that look nice, look forward to new camouflage wear, write my blogs, books, do my photography, go camping and hunting without shortness of breath. Life is good; it shows every time when my husband compliments me. I have my self-esteem and confidence back.

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