An Anniversary Journey
I forgot my anniversary.
No, not that one – although I wouldn’t be surprised if I did forget my wedding anniversary one year. My husband is much better at remembering those types of dates than I am. (He always remembers it’s our dating anniversary before I do.)
All day yesterday I was thinking, “3/9. 3/9. Why does that sound so significant? What’s March 9th?” Finally, around 5pm as I headed into class I remembered – it’s my surgiversary.
Surgi-wah? Surgiversary – the anniversary of my gastric bypass surgery. Aren’t we WLS (weight loss surgery) people funny? Usually I hate made up/combined words like that (like recessionista or shoppurtunistic) but surgiversary has stuck with me.
I had my gastric bypass on March 9, 2004 – so this year was my 6th anniversary – and I suppose the reason it slipped my mind is that 1 – I am not a post-surgery success so I don’t count those milestones anymore and 2 – it’s really not the same daily part of my life that it was before. I can pretty much eat 90% of foods with only minor repercussions for some of them (and I’ve found that while pregnant, I actually have increased food tolerance – must be some biological directive for that).
Ordinarily, a WLS patient posts something that looks like this: 350/250/150. 350 being their pre-surgery weight, 250 being current, and 150 being goal (those are just made-up numbers, by the way). I hate discussing weight in terms of numbers, though. Visual representations always seem to be much better.
This is me, 5 1/2 months pre-surgery:
That’s me and my dad at my sister’s wedding in September 2003. I was my sister’s maid of honor; her bridesmaids were three of the thinnest girls I’ve ever known (they were all a size 2-4) and I spent my sister’s entire engagement and wedding day feeling bad about myself in comparison to them. Her wedding was a beautiful, joyous day, but a tough one. I pretty much felt bad about myself the entire day.
This is me at my thinnest, Fall 2005, post plastic surgery. I’m posting this picture even though the style of it is controversial:
Even though most of us are used to the “look how big I used to be because my pants were huge!” photos, they’re really frowned upon because it’s very judgmental of the people who wear that size currently. For me, though, it really represented what I had lost. I actually fit in one leg of those shorts. By the pounds, I wasn’t half my size – but by the size on my pants, I was actually less than that.
Those shorts are the one piece of “fat” clothing I held onto as a reminder of my largest size. They’re still in my pants drawer, whether that’s healthy or not.
This is me six months later, attending a friend’s wedding (February 2006):
The dress is a size 14 (I think). Even though I can no longer fit into it, I still have it. I’m not usually one to save clothing, thinking, “One day…” but that dress is the exception. At that point I had gained about 10-15 lbs from my lowest weight. I felt remarkably self-conscious about it, sure everyone would be able to tell I was failing at my weight loss. Obviously, I looked great and should have felt great.
This is me the following summer (July 2006):
I hated this picture when I first saw it because I looked huge compared to how I had looked just a year prior. Now? Now I wish those capris fit. Again, I should have felt good but I didn’t.
This is me this past October:
Am I happy with that? No. (See a pattern?) In that photo, I am about 60 lbs heavier than I am in the black and white lace dress photo above. I’m pregnant in this photo, but only about two months, so I hadn’t gained any pregnancy weight yet.
It’s not really a weight loss journey I’m on. For a long time I thought it was, but it’s not. It’s a body journey, a self journey – and it’s never going to end. There’s this baby and maybe (hopefully?) there’ll be another in a few years. There’s pregnancy recovery, aging… all sorts of life factors. I don’t plan on having any further surgical procedures to alter my body, but I guess I can’t really know about that now. If money is no object, perhaps I would have some nipping and tucking done post-kids. Who knows.
Right now I’m working on owning this journey – and it’s not easy. It’s not easy for me to look at these photos, much less post them. But it’s a part of the process. I can’t hide what I’ve looked like, what I’ve done and not done – least of all from myself. I’d like to think I won’t ever inhabit either one of the extremes posted in the photos above. I hope not to ever reach my heaviest weight again, but I’m also fairly certain I won’t ever reach my lowest again – and I’m not saying that with any sense of disappointment. I’m okay with somewhere in the middle. If my journey ends up just middle-of-the-road, I’ll happily rest there as long as I feel healthy and fit.