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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kate J Meyer, LPC

A Different Year

Yesterday, we all celebrated the start of another year. The turning of the page from 2020 to 2021 was embraced by most because of the hope of change that looms on the horizon. A new administration. A vaccine. More and more people waking up to the persistence of racism in this country and actually beginning to take steps to towards equity. There is a LONG way to go on all counts. It is a new year filled with opportunities for personal and corporate growth and change, and that is certainly worth celebrating.

But today, I celebrated a different year. Precisely one year ago, as in one year from the moment I'm typing, I was moaning and groaning in a hospital bed experiencing the worst pain of my life. It didn't cause me to question the decision I made, but it did give me pause to wonder if I could really do it. If I could truly live into the changes I'd signed up for. But then in the middle of the night, a wonderful nurse slipped into the room to administer a steroid through my IV. I grumbled my appreciation for the med and asked after the pain med. I don't remember if I was due or not, but she did promise me that the steroid would turn the tide of my recovery. I needed that hoped. They'd been asking me to get up and walk, yet simply trying to sit up was excruciating.

It turns out having the majority of one's stomach pulled from the body results in a sizable pain. Seems obvious, of course, but that was not something I considered when deciding to have the gastric sleeve surgery.

Anyway, the nurse left and I fell back asleep. And while I slept, the steroid did its job! When I woke, I managed to get myself to the bathroom, sit in a chair, and walk the floor. The nurse saw me walking the floor and, smiling, said something like "I told you that steroid would work." As she helped me back to bed, I supported her suggestion to the doctor's that they administer the steroid a bit earlier in recovery.

That change in my recovery was the start of a year I hoped would change my health and my body. And now, here I am, one year later, in awe of the changes I've experienced.

As of this morning, the official weight loss count is 92.5 pounds. There are days I still do not see it, days when I feel no different than I did on January 2, 2020. I have days when getting in a decent amount of food is a struggle. I miss diet Pepsi and diet Mountain Dew. A lot. I have stretches of acid reflux that can last days or weeks. And eating routinely produces an overabundance of saliva resulting in the need for an constant supply of Kleenex. You know what? Not one of those inconveniences lessens how sure I am of the decision I made or how good I feel.

I chose surgery because I was tired. Tired in general, yes, but also tired of playing the weight game. Every doctor I saw for whatever reason, at some point they would say, "you know, losing weight would fix this". Huh? Really? Well, if it's as simple as that, let me get right on it. I've done most diets, some of them multiple times. I've had several gym memberships and jumped on multiple fad exercise trains. IF one worked, it worked for about a month. Then progress stalled or regressed, despite my continued commitment. I fully admit that I did eventually give up. Trust me when I say it is difficult to remain motivated when defeat is the consistent pattern. Add to that the brain consumption (read about Ed here), and I was straight tired from every conceivable angle.

In June of 2018, my husband and I went to the introductory consultation/seminar put on by Spectrum Health Bariatrics-Zeeland (an absolutely incredible team!), and by the time I left, I was all-in and he was fully on board. For the first time in my life I had a doctor telling me my body functions differently and that I was not doing something wrong every time I tried and "failed". Finally I had a medical team giving me hope of lasting change. They have been honest all along that this is not an easy fix, that it requires many permanent changes for me, and by extension my husband, but that if I am willing to make those changes, good things will happen. And, finally, that is true.

This coming week I will get my one year labs drawn to make sure all continues to be well, and the following week I will have my one year post-op appointment. I no longer dread going to the doctor. I had a fall just over a month ago and I can't overstate how incredible it was to have a team focus on the injury to my knee, without spending time on how losing weight could have prevented it (which, by the way, would have been absolutely untrue).

I'm learning more about myself and I'm rediscovering parts left behind as the weight crept up, and it feels good. Yes, there are difficult days. Yes, there is much more on which to reflect that I'm sure will come out in future posts, especially after my next appointment, but for now I am choosing to celebrate. First, I celebrate that I chose to focus on myself for a year, to put my health first above anything else. Thanks to my husband, my family, and my friends who supported me along the way, I was able to do so and I am forever grateful. Second, I celebrate that because of this last year, I am certain that this next year will be a continuation of the same.

92.5 pounds. It's an incredible thing to see it written down, especially coming off of a stretch of Ed preventing me from seeing it, and so I'm taking time to celebrate it. I do not know what is in store for me this next year, yet I am confident that I will continue the efforts I started one year ago today.

One year. It might not seem like much, but, if you want it to, one year is enough to change your entire life one day at a time.

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