Happy 14th birthday to me!!! Picture this for a moment. You are sitting with a world renowned surgical doctor and he just told you that you at best have a 50 / 50 chance of surviving an operation you are choosing to have. As you stare at the floor with tears forming on the bottom of your quivering eye you slowly look up and say to him “That’s better odds than if I don’t have the surgery….I’m 100% dead if I do nothing”. That conversation happened with me and Dr. Michael Grace at the London Health Sciences Centre on May 8th, 2003.
It was fourteen years ago today (May 8th) that I was given the gift of having a gastric bypass surgical procedure that was a tool that led to saving my life. At the time I was well over 600 pounds and just 35 years old. Imagine the head space you would be in to risk your life with 50 / 50 odds of surviving the surgery. There were many challenges with the procedure. Most notably, the amount of anesthetic they’d need to keep me under during the procedure. I was at the high end of super morbidly obese patients that they’d operated on and they hadn’t had good success with consistency on the anesthetic. It was an educated scientific ‘guess’. Not enough and I’d wake up…too much and my heart would stop.
Fourteen years later, hear I stand. I’m confident that in 2003, based on the trajectory and speed in which I was continuing to gain weight and becoming less and less mobile that I would not have lived much longer than a couple more years. As I write this, my heart is filled with so much gratitude that I have trouble focusing my thoughts. As a result of this tool given to me it allowed me to experience so much more life and touch so many lives.
Along the way I learned a great deal and celebrated many great successes. I’d be lying though if I said I didn’t make some huge mistakes, misjudgements and had given in to temptation while letting old habits creep back in. I guess that’s what makes one human right?
Lately, I’m really struggling but every day I treat like it is my first day again. I get to wake up and take another swing at it. I still have a lot of questions about what happened to me in my early life. Look, you don’t just overeat a little bit and get to be over 600 pounds. That’s just not normal. Consequently, I’ve been trying to search for the answers over the years. I don’t have them all yet but someday I hope my memory will stop trying to protect me and reveal the truth. Today though, I simply keep working at staying healthy.
I’m so friggin’ grateful that I am alive. Really, I can’t express how it feels to know that you had a death sentence and then you were granted a second chance. I’M ALIVE!
When I started to lose the weight and people’s perception of me changed, so did things around me. Relationships changed and some ended. Some of the people I thought were going to be in my life forever are no longer on the radar. It took me a long time to come to terms with that but I’m very ok with it now. I recognize that some people are only meant to be in your life for a little while and when those reasons are completed then your move on and continue on your journey. It’s really that simple.
I’m an empath and I milk in the energy around me. We each have those things that we leverage to get us through or motivate us. For me, one of the biggest motivating tools I use is music. There has been one song for me that has motivated me, made me angry, happy, humble, sad and aggressive. It was at the beginning of my journey, the middle and still today as I stand here. Regardless of where you are in your journey, there will be many hurdles in your path. Don’t let the bastards bring you down. Battle through, rage on and celebrate the wins. Because “It’s a Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Rock n Roll”.