Long Term Success After Lap Band Surgery – Reflecting On The Years As My Birthday Approaches

by sandi on September 9, 2015

Reflecting On The Years As My Birthday Approaches
Reflecting On The Years As My Birthday Approaches

Every year since I had weight loss surgery in 2004, I look back over the past years as my birthday approaches.  Well, it’s that time again.  On Tuesday I turn 67 years young.  Wow, that is certainly a lot of years under my belt!

I remember being 8 years old, getting ready to begin 3rd grade after the summer was over and “working” on my school wardrobe.  I was a chubby child for sure.  My mom found a seamstress to make me some skirts that would fit me properly since nothing off the rack, even in the “chubbies” fit me “just so”.  That was embarrassing especially when the kids at school asked me where I got the clothes.

Then I remember being 13 years old, ready to start 9th grade in the fall (I was precocious and skipped a few grades) and again worrying about what I would wear to school and where I could buy it so it would fit and I wouldn’t be uncomfortable.  No, wait, all clothes were uncomfortable because Mom had begun helping me pick out undergarments that would hold in the fat and help keep it from jiggling.  Breathing was barely an option in some of them.

Then comes the year I was 15 in my memory.  That was a great summer.  I had lost weight by starving myself, living on hard-boiled egg, lettuce, and Diet Coke.  I weighed 132 pounds, I was going to have an awesome Sweet Sixteen Party and all was right with the world.  I wore a size 8 or 10 (7 or 9 in juniors), could buy clothes off the rack, and feel good in them.  That lasted until winter when the weight started piling up again.

Off to college (well, off to the local 4 year college – CUNY- Brooklyn College) at barely16 ½, and not ready for all the socialization and self-imposed peer pressure that college meant.  Fell in love, fell out of love, cut my waist length hair to super short just to “spite him”, all my insecurities were showing on the outside and my weight was slowly creeping up.  Fell in love again, made some wonderful friends, and spent my 17th and part of my 18th year (1965 and 1966) in somewhat of a “Purple Haze”.  Ran out of money and places to stay in NY, and then let life “force” me to move to California in June of 1967 to join my parents.  My destiny awaited me here but I didn’t know it at the time.

Reflecting On The Years As My Birthday Approaches

In March of 1968 a friend I had made in my psych class introduced to my soul mate, and so began a new chapter in my life.  My parents (Mom more than Dad) were constantly harping on me to lose weight, and we all know how well that works.  I choose to be with someone who accepted me, loved me and supported me just as I was, and 2 ½ weeks later we drove to Tijuana Mexico at about 10 PM and were married at about 6 AM on April 4th 1968.

My weight went up and down.  I liked eating, lots!  In 1969 I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl, and life continued.  By 1972 we had left Los Angeles for my husband to return to school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  We both worked as many hours as possible, and were voluntarily poor college students with a young child who required day care.  Which, of course, took a big bite out of our income.  That left us making poor food choices and I packed on the pounds, topping 200 for the first time.  I took it off and got down to 175 by following Diet Watcher’s program without attending meetings because I couldn’t afford to.

It was a diet and didn’t last for long.  Later it was Weight Watcher’s (without attending the meetings) and I took off 100 pounds, and put it and more back on again.

Reflecting On The Years As My Birthday Approaches
Reflecting On The Years As My Birthday Approaches
Reflecting On The Years As My Birthday Approaches
Reflecting On The Years As My Birthday Approaches

The years went by; I was living in Cincinnati Ohio, and my weight was now up to around 300.  I don’t know because I refused to step on a scale.  Dad got sick, I was running back and forth to LA and stuffing all of those feelings.  In 1996 I moved back to CA, and we settled at the beach in Oxnard where I still live.  I would walk for about ½ hour every day, but with my food choices I wasn’t making any dents in my weight.

Then Mom had a couple of falls in her apartment which sent her into a nursing home.   After putting in 12 hour work days, we were driving back and forth 100 miles most nights.  A lot of dashboard dining, and feeding the physical and emotional exhaustion high carb crap (I can’t call it food because it isn’t), and by the time we buried my Mom, and my Mother In Law I was up over 400 pounds.

After a life threatening high blood pressure scare in 2004 in my doc’s office I sought out help and decided to have Lap Band Surgery.

The rest is history.  For the past 11 years I have been creating a life I NEVER dreamed possible.  I work out daily.  I eat nothing but delicious food.  I weigh 154 pounds – and I KNOW how to stay there.  I am confident in my choices and my actions.  I trip and fall and know that I will just get right back up again.  I work daily on being the BEST ME that I can be.  IT FEELS GOOD to be me.  I am no longer trapped in a body that can’t move feeding my frustrations instead of feeling my emotions, acknowledging them and moving through them.  I can face my own fears and work right through them.  I can hike at 10,000 plus feet elevation, I can dive at 80 feet below the surface of the ocean, I can lift weights, I can do a 5k in 40 minutes, I can do yoga poses and stretch myself in ways I never knew the human body would go.  I can plan trips, enjoy them, find foods that meet my needs in most any restaurant in the world, or ask for them to be prepared my way. 

I am still married to my “destiny changer”, my soul mate, and the love of my life, and after 47 years together we can honestly say we love each other through fat and thin… it doesn’t matter… what matters is the person inside.  I have found her, and at 67 I am living the life she chooses.  I don’t live in the past, I look at it and reflect on how much has happened, the changes I have made, the life I choose to live today and I am Happy and at Peace with myself.  I have stripped off the burden of unhappiness with each pound that I lost…  Don’t get me wrong – it was NOT losing the weight that made me happy, it was losing the weight AND looking at each pound as unwrapping a precious gift and discovering what LIFE truly is.

Happy Birthday to me.  May you all find the peace and joy that I have discovered hidden under all of those layers of fat and uncertainty and fear of feeling an emotion.

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