The summer of 2014 was probably the worst summer of my life, not that anyone knew it at the time--you know those lovely masks were firmly in place! I have struggled my whole life, on and off diets. Starving myself, binge eating and purging. radical diets and pills. You name it, I tried it and after short term success, failed at every one. This was my last resort, closing in on 40 years old and knowing I could not keep this way of living up. I could not walk through a store without pain in my legs and back. I could barely climb the stairs in our house and did so as few times a day as possible. I rarely went anywhere unless I knew exactly what would be there--how much walking, stairs, chairs with arms. booths etc. I really just hated myself and knew that if something did not change I was not going to be a good mom or wife for much longer.
On August 18,2014 I went in for surgery. I was really scared, but I had a wonderful support system. My husband and my mom were there and I knew my dad was thinking of me as well. I had great friends taking care of my boys and lots of prayer coming my way. The first success I can claim is that when I got up out of bed after surgery my knees did not hurt. At first I thought it was the morphine, but even after I got home they still did not hurt. To this day, they have only hurt for a while on random occasions.I started losing weight quickly, which kept me motivated to stay on program.
I think the one thing that really hurt was when some one accused me of taking the easy way out by having surgery. Ha! This was anything but easy! It did give me a jump start and allowed me to exercise without severe pain. I have had to stuff protein down--even when I did not want to eat--because my levels were so low. I have watched my hair fall out because of low protein levels. I have jumped up from the table many times to throw up because for a second I forgot about the surgery and ate too fast or too much. I watch everyone else eat and know that even if I gave myself a cheat day I still could not eat what they do. I have sat through meals apologizing because I could not stop burping when something did not agree with me. I had to have gallbladder surgery after several severe attacks. No, it has not been easy, but it's been oh, so worth it!
Doesn't sound that way, does it? It will, once I share some successes. I can now go to any restaurant or doctor's office and not worry about the chairs having arms on them. I can go on amusement park rides with my boys. I can wear my husband's clothes. I had my first pedicure because I wasn't worried about fitting in the chairs. I can walk through the gate in my kitchen without turning sideways. I can swing on the swings in the backyard. I can use a seatbelt in my car and anyone else's car. I can go to a "regular" clothing store and buy a top--I'm still working on the bottom, LOL! I bought my first pair of high heeled, calf boots. I can walk upstairs without being out of breath and walk through a whole lot of stores without hurting- much to my husband's chagrin. Nothing like having a wife that suddenly needs and wants to buy lots of clothes! But he was even supportive on that front, even if it hurt the wallet a little! I feel stronger, more confident, and healthier. My face has even cleared up. I now find joy in so many things that people take for granted everyday.
The best part of this experience has not been physical, but mental and spiritual. I have been removing all those masks and finding myself underneath. I have realized that I am worthy of God's love. I am worthy of the love of my family and friends. I know that I do not have to earn their love by being who I think they want me to be. I used to base my worth on my weight, and I felt the sting of failure with every pound I put on. Now I know that my worth has nothing to do with the pounds, but has everything to do with how I see myself. I have found out who my true friends are. I know who loves me for me, and not for what I can do for them, or who they think I am. I have also found an amazing community of women out there who are struggling and succeeding in being healthy and strong.
This is not the finish line for me; instead it's a mile marker in a marathon. I plan to continue to run this race and hopefully inspire others to come along side me and run. I cannot wait to see what the next stage in my journey is, but I know that whether I gain a pound or lose a pound I have grown so much more that any scale could ever show.