Today is the fifth anniversary of my Lapband weight loss surgery.
I spent some time over the past weeks contemplating what I would blog about on this significant day. As I read my past blog posts, I found a common thread weaving through five years of my thoughts. Change is the thread that tied my journey together.
As I prepared for my surgery in 2008, I realized that I needed to change my life significantly. Three years earlier, I had a heart attack and triple cardiac bypass. I pledged then that I would lead a healthier life. Slowly, that pledge fell into the back recesses of my mind. The weight returned and inactivity quickly became the norm in my life.
That failure to change lingered in my mind and haunted me as I approached surgery in early 2008. In early June, I walked onto my treadmill and committed to be an active, healthy person. My devotion to the treadmill and walking set me on the right path. My bicycle quickly replaced the treadmill and ignited a passion for life.
We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone… and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something. — Sandra Day O’Connor
I love the above quote from retired United States Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She talks about change that comes from threads woven in our lives. Some threads are woven through my whole weight loss journey. Others are shorter; assuring the direction and stability of my tapestry. I would like to share four threads woven through my weight loss journey.
- Change is the backbone of my journey. This thread started with my commitment to change my life five years ago. Change drove me forward. I have grown to accept that my life is ever changing. Where I am today is certain to change tomorrow. I welcome that challenge and use it to be a healthier person. Never underestimate the power of harnessing and embracing change.
- Success was not what I first expected. Early on, I let the scale define and limit my success. As the numbers fell, I proudly tracked and touted the pounds lost. Cycling came into my life. The scale took a back seat. I found a new life on my bike. It lead me hiking, snowshoeing and running. Success suddenly became my love of the outdoors and an active life. I ride that thread of activity today; enjoying every change it brings to me.
- Vigilance is the thread I struggle to cling to every day. I could not bury those voices urging me to eat poorly and be inactive. I consciously battle them. Obesity is a disease and not just a person being a gluttonous couch potato. My commitment to eat healthy and be active keeps my obesity at bay. Bariatric surgery is not the magic cure for obesity. It is the tool that helps you live with it. As with any tool, success is how well you use it.
- Support is the social thread that runs though my journey. Change is easier when you join with others sharing a common bond. I rely heavily on my bariatric support communities. I have shared joys and bad times with people who I now count as friends. I have seen fellow bariatric post-ops grow and change in my social circle. I share my story and experiences through this blog. I need it to move forward. I hope that others see it as something that moves them forward.
Today I find myself at a place I never expected five years ago. I did truly change. I never envisioned myself being active. I could have never imagined cycling being the integral part to my life that it is. I now see life in a different light; much more positive and more fluid.
At the same time, I find myself in a very unexpected place in terms of bariatric surgery. Nine months ago, I began experiencing problems with my Lapband. For four years, I relied on it as my best friend in keeping me healthy. After a long series of tests, I needed to choose a resolution to my Lapband issues.
I have chosen to revise my Lapband bariatric surgery to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. It was a difficult decision for me to give up my Lapband. The ultimate decision was based on being very honest with myself on what would guarantee me a better life.
Change brought me to many unexpected places over the past five years. Bariatric surgery is woven deeply through this tapestry of memories. Five years later, I acknowledge its importance in my life. Where will I be in five years? I cannot answer that question. I can say that the past five years have prepared me for a journey to a happier healthier life.