Hello, awesome readers.
It’s been awhile. Again. How are you? Things going well in your world, I hope?
On July 24th I put in a good workout and was feeling great. How is it that July 24th feels like yesterday and yet here we are, 6 weeks later? Workouts haven’t happened and I don’t recognize the passion I had in my last post. You have no idea how much that frustrates me.
Here is an ironic thing though. You know how most of us gain weight while on vacation? We went to Maine for 9 days and I lost 7 pounds. I’ve been back for a week and a half and have maintained that weight loss (and lost a little more), so I know it is pretty solid loss. When others indulged in the bread basket, I passed. When others had ice cream, I sipped a diet coke. I enjoyed lobster and other delicious foods, I just refrained from (most) junk. I ate the protein bars and nuts and protein drink mixes I brought and did the best I could given whatever environment I was in.
What’s interesting about this is that I was less worried about gaining and more worried about getting sick on the trip. Us post-opers have fickle bellies and while something may not bother us one day – it gives us horrid stomach pains or bathroom issues the next. At home I’m more likely to push those boundaries, knowing my bed/bath isn’t far away (reminiscent of binge eating behaviors, but I’ll save that for another post). I didn’t want to risk any gut or bathroom issues. And given that I know which foods typically cause those issues, I chose well.
I didn’t anticipate this loss or really strive for it. It was just the result of doing the best I could given the environment I was in. Boy is there a lesson in that, eh?
For part of our vacation we camped on an ocean island. Ever the adventuresome bunch, T and his girls brought us to The Rocks – a huge array of large rocks along some of the island perimeter. When tide is low they feel mountainous and when tide rises, you risk being stuck in the ocean if you don’t get inland fast enough. They are uneven and craggly and at least to me… TERRIFYING. The photo here is of the surface where we were at, but it doesn’t reflect the large gaps, hops from one side to the other, nearly vertical spots, etc.
What I’ve learned since surgery is that at minimum, I need to try the things that scare me (kayaking anyone?). Not a fan of heights, a poor swimmer, a weakened right leg due to blood clots in 2005, a hearing impairment that makes me easily dizzy, and general klutziness that has sent me tumbling down many flights of stairs, I must say – I was not looking forward to this. But, the young girls who have done this in years past talked about how fun it was and I felt I owed it to the entire family.
Two of the three girls climbed rocks like dancers – their grasshopper-like legs had them pirouetting over them effortlessly, pausing briefly to examine tide pools or to gaze out at the ocean. One of the girls, strong and stocky, climbed with olympic confidence. I watched them in amazement. T held my hand and gave his very best effort at helping me to feel comfortable.
It was three quarters of the way through the hike when they came in… full on ugly cry fashion – big fat crocodile tears. Every single step reminded me of how it felt to be 380 pounds. Unstable. Unsure. Convinced of falling. With every foot slip I remembered situations years ago where I was terrified of the risk of my own weight causing me to break bones after a fall. I remembered the pain of learning how to use my right leg again after circulation had been compromised for so long and what physical therapy was like at that weight (crutches were impossible – I was too big – I had to use a walker). While I wasn’t actually carrying all of those pounds on the rocks that day, the pounds were still there – ghost pounds haunting me with memories of a certain prison.
While I wish I could say I forged ahead and I have a photo of myself at the end with a big grin, that’s not how it ended. I encouraged T to take the girls to the end. Two of the three opted to stay with me as I waited, despite my assurances that they go forward… a nice gesture of loyalty as it was clear I was scared out of my mind. Eventually we all worked our way back to camp and I breathed normally again.
I have a few take aways from that morning: Pride that I tried. Grateful that when I knew I couldn’t bear anymore (and didn’t need to prove anything to anyone), I gave myself permission to stop. A reminder of how far I have come (no way would I have even tried that hike at my highest). And a deep respect for the wounds that still exist as a result of being super morbidly obese (oh how I hate that term). Even when I’m busy working my way through life, those wounds are still there and still profoundly impact me. Rather than let those wounds drive the car of my life, I am trying to drive my own life with an awareness that they are sitting in the back seat. That I can assure them that all will be well and… “I got this, yo.” I don’t expect them to disappear… nor do I need them to. Fears only have the power that I choose to give them.
K begins her last year of middle school tomorrow and is nearly as tall as I am now. I have no words for the blend of heartache and pleasure/pride I feel about her growing up.
In parting, I leave you with just a few more vacation pics. No promises to write in X amount of time or make certain choices. Just living my life and learning as it unfolds right now.