Tuesday, December 06, 2016

5 Years Post Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

I gained it back.


The hardest 4 words to write.


I wanted to be honest and come here and spill the beans.  I wanted a true reflection of my journey, but admitting it has almost killed me.   For reals.  I tried to pretend that every extra pound, every extra 5 lbs, every extra 10 lbs that crept its way back on to the scale.... there was a valid reason.  It was a temporary set back to a long term goal.  I was just moments away from the big comeback and *poof*, I would be mini me again.

Nope.  Not even close.

To be fair - I haven't gained it ALL back - but I am certainly closer to the original weight than to the lowest weight, so I can no longer pretend the weight is just a temporary set back.  It seems every January,  I am 10-15 lbs heavier than the January before.

So ... what the f*#k happened?

Good question.

What didn't I do?  Well.... there are a lot of reasons and a lot of excuses.  When I really think hard - I think the bottom line was balance.  I had no balance.

In the beginning, I made the decision that this needed to be ME time.  I needed to focus on me.  I had managed to shove myself so far into the background of my life that I didn't even exist anymore.  I had to take the time to make myself the priority.  I had to set goals and I would not let ANYTHING get in the way.  And I did.  I made progress.  I had the surgery.  I started losing the weight.  I started exercising and making big goals. Exercise 5 times per week.  Do something outside of your comfort zone.  Sign up for a 5k...a 10K... a HALF MARATHON.  Do it!  Don't let anything stop you!  Don't let you stop you!

Three weeks after my first 1/2 marathon - I dislocated my knee in body combat class, one of those "out of my comfort zone" things.  Slow, long recovery.  But it was the first time I slowed down in 3 years.  And slowed to an almost stop.  No... NO!!!  Sign up for another 1/2 marathon - don't let the devil on the left shoulder win.  YOU HAVE TO BE BETTER THAN THAT.   And I did it.  It was a long, boring, cold, wet, lonely winter training for that 1/2 marathon, but I did it.  And then there was anarchy.  I told myself never again.  I did it because I "had" to do it, not because I wanted to do it.  I stuck the big middle finger up to myself and said - nope.  And I sat criss cross apple sauce in defiance of myself.

Wait - crap - I know this position.  I remember this hole.  It looks a whole lot like the rabbit hole I have been in before.  The one that I dive head first into and sit in the darkness staring up at the dim rays above wishing a rock would roll over it to block out what little light tried to make its way in.

I wasn't happy.  I wasn't happy when I was 300+ lbs.  I wasn't happy when I made it down to 176 lbs. I am not happy.

I lost the weight, but I did not lose the monkey on my back.  I lost the weight and gained the muscle strength to run with that gorilla pounding my head to go faster, but I didn't deal with the gorilla.  And to be honest with you, I have no clue what the damn gorilla is - but I know it has never left my side.  I never found life to be better as skinny me.  I certainly looked better, but in the mirror - nothing had changed.  I was still as repulsive as I was 100+ pounds ago.  I can remember very vividly throwing a temper tantrum in a dressing room because even at my smallest size, I still couldn't fit into something that I thought would help me fit into the world around me.

A year ago around this time, it got ugly.  I was so rooted in that rabbit hole, nothing around me was recognizable.  I remember putting up Christmas decorations and thinking - who the hell am I putting this up for?  I wanted to divorce my husband.  I wanted to run away.  I wanted to do whatever it took to get the hell out of this repulsive skin.  I was a complete and utter failure.  I had no value.  I had no self worth.  I was once again - nothing.

I circled in this madness for about 2 months before I realized, I either had to start building a ladder or grab the shovel and dig deeper into the rabbit hole forever, because it was painful - physically painful - to be in the condition I was living.

I have no idea where it came from, but I found the courage to make an appointment with a new doctor.  I pretended it was because I had not been to a doctor in several years and I needed a check up.  We made it through the entire appointment and then.... I sobbed.  I cried so hard I became mute.  It was like my body could not form the words to scream for help.  My doctor grabbed my hands and took deep breaths with me.  I managed to spit out the words "I am not handling things very well" in between desperate attempts to take air into my lungs.  She calmed me down and said - "Well, let's fix it together, okay?" I started medication.  I acknowledged that I have (and probably have always had) unmanaged chronic depression.

And so began the building of the ladder.

Have I lost the weight again - no.  Sorry.  That cannot be the focus right now. I have to focus on the weight inside, not the weight outside.  Nine months into medication and I think I am just-now-gaining some perspective.  I have just now started to realize that I am not sitting in the rabbit hole.  I am missing working out.  Not because I lost weight, but because I felt better and slept better when I sweat it out. I don't want to over eat, not because it'll show up on the scale tomorrow, but because it sucks to feel full.  

So there.... I said it.


Just another 1,000 baby steps in the journey.

The good news is that I am still walking.

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