It scares me to think how quickly time has passed. Four times the short time span becomes an entire year. At my age, I wish for longer time spans, less fleeting memories. But, in that time, I became an eye-witness to my life as it changed for what I hope, will be forever more. I didn't cry, but I did fess up to "this" being the hardest thing I had yet done, in those early hours after being "sleeved". I had a moment of intense fear and quite possibly, agonizing guilt for what I had done to my poor body. How could I, how dare I, consciously and willingly make an irreversible change to what had been a body that had honored me with years of perfect health and strength? Was I reversing my good fortune? If I could not drink an ounce of Instant Breakfast, how could I ever have a normal meal again? Would any of my life return to normality? Again, I held back tears. I did what I should have done many years before.....I decided then and there to take one day at a time, one meal at a time, one sip at a time. A promise I was to forget over the next few weeks as I doubted myself and felt that I had become a "statistic", one who failed to see results following the loss of 80% of a stomach. I returned to that state of mind, and trusted my brain and body once more, drawing upon my deepest religious convictions and all of my self-preservation skills and I soldiered forward to where I am now, at the three month mark. My blood work came back. I passed with flying colors. I have had no side-effects other than changes in food preferences.
Now, I can't think for one moment that anyone would be led to believe that I take any of this for granted. When I first started writing about my "journey", I told my writing mentor, June, that I was going to knock it off. I feared that my words would bore readers, that they would feel that enough was quite enough already. I was afraid of being billed as "self-absorbed". June's response was "no, don't stop!" She encouraged me and kept me on track by suggesting that perhaps I might be of assistance to someone who was considering weight loss surgery, that my words might be just what they needed to hear. So, I chose to continue. It has been said that it is when we write we discover much about ourselves and when I write, I am amazed.
Every journey begins with one step and all great journeys are made in faith. Mine began with friends who buoyed and supported me, step by step. My best coach ever, my husband Joe, who remembers all the things I forget and forgets all the things I remember and my amazing, amazing, mind-blowing friends who have kept me going with patience, understanding and generosity. I am grateful every day and thank God for this abundant gift, this beautiful array of loving people who encourage me, trust me and live my life with me. They are so courageous! Friends who have taken walks, accompanied me on visits to the Surgical Center, making each one a fun trip rather than an annoying ride over the bridge when they could be elsewhere. The friends who say "let's do lunch" or "how about dinner?" and don't avoid me because they think I don't eat. And, my best friend of all, my daughter, my "second-shooter" who I was reluctant to tell of my plans lest I would worry her. Instead of taking on the burden of worry or trying to discourage me, she made it her business to do the homework. She researched and learned what would lie before me with the same fortitude that she has shown in making her own successful life choices. When I was discouraged, she listened with empathy and made suggestions. When I was encouraged, she celebrated with me and when I hadn't noticed signs of progress, she quickly brought them to my attention. If I did this entire thing for no one else, I did it for her and her daughters and somehow, I think she totally understood that.
There will be more grunts and groans, of that I am sure. Life won't always be this peachy-keen. I didn't buy an insurance policy that guarantees me perfect, lasting health and happiness. I simply took a leap in faith and for now, it's paying off. One day at a time and prayers for those who don't have choices, who have to go on journeys to far worse places.