My last meal was bruschetta, little toasted pieces of baguette, rubbed with garlic, laden with chopped tomatoes and basil. I thought maybe I would never be able to eat them again, I mourned a little that it had come to this, I was excited to have hope again, I was already bookmarking favorites in online shopping, filling the imaginary shopping cart with pretty items in never before dreamt of sizes.
Two years ago today I woke very early, 6 perhaps, amazing how some things get forgotten ... I had drunk the horrific milk of magnesia the night before and had my final water at the same time and now was nervous and thirsty, the adrenaline making both sensations all the more acute. My Mother and I were at a hotel around the corner from the hospital and we drove there, or did we take the shuttle? I was in my pyjamas, having just showered with the special cleanser they gave me. I was private pay from one of the best surgical teams for VSG in the world, Laparascopic Associates of San Francisco, so I got a pretty 5 star treatment, private changing room, garment bag for my things, robes etc. with the LASF logo stitched on. I must have been nervous but my adrenaline kept me from really feeling much. My Mom and I waited in a private room, I laid on a bed in my gowns. One last trip to the bathroom and it was off to the OR to meet the kindest anesthesiologist ever, I think she had all sorts of dogs printed on her surgical cap, that's all I remember ...
Next thing, I was waking up in my room with a view of the City, in and out of consciousness ... there were popsicles ... there was walking ... there was feeling like I was going to barf but nothing happening ... I didn't pee when they wanted me to and a few other things so I spent an extra day in the hospital ...
The following few days are mostly a blur, 2 years later my Mother tells me the timeline of events during those days and it's all news to me. I spent 3 weeks recovering in the country, in a little cottage up the coast a few hours from SF. That first night I stayed on the couch in a sitting position and the following 3 nights I slept in bed but only on my side as sleeping on my back gave me terrible sensations. My body was a foreign landscape that first week and for the first month I felt as close to vampiric as one can, I had no human bodily functions - no need to pee or poop, no interest in human food, in fact a revulsion of nearly every food or beverage.
Before I walked into the OR they weighed me one last time, 294. 2 weeks later I came back for a check up and they weighed me, 274. 20 pounds! Those first 20 pounds were more stunning than the following 100. After all the research, all the thinking, all the talking to sleevers, it still had never genuinely sunk in that this was real and that it really does work. I sat in my Dr's office, stunned!
There are plenty of people here on VST who tell delightful tales of reaching and exceeding their goals within 6 months, how they are now under goal, wear a size 0, and chirp chirp chirp, tweet tweet tweet. Well, good for them, wish I was one. That has never been my VSG story however. It was a full year before I joined the century club and 2 years out I am still shy of surgeon's goal by approx. 25 lbs and personal by approx. 50.
Two years out I sometimes still reflexively tense up when I sit in a chair with arms, genuinely expecting to not be able to fit into it. I still stiffen up when in crowds, thinking people are staring and staring for negative reasons. I still FEEL fat often, I still feel frustrated that after so much time and effort I still probably look like a pudgy lazy bones to the average lay person, but I would rather be at this stage of the game rather than having never begun and still at square one!
I've learned that losing weight and becoming physically active and strong does solve a lot of problems and does bring a lot of simple joy but that losing weight or becoming a specific size doesn't automatically confer happiness and that fat or thin life can just suck sometimes. Weight loss is NOT a fairy tale prince come to swoop me onto a horse and ride me off into a happily ever after sunset, a fact that honestly, I am still trying to come to terms with.
One final thought, I think I might not have made the decision or had the success I have had or a lot of positive things if it weren't for this forum and the support I've found here. Fellow sleevers from around the world have supported me, advised me, commiserated with me and have just been indispensable on this journey. I hope I have been able to give some of that back. Here's to the continued adventures, the continued seeking of and eventual attainment of goals, for me and for us all,