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Monday, September 12, 2005

Six Years Ago Today

September 13, 1999

Do you remember where you were six years ago today?

I do. It was the day I underwent gastric bypass surgery – a day that changed my life forever.

I don’t recall much about that day. I remember feeling embarrassed lying on the preparation table, my enormous belly exposed to be cleansed antiseptically. I remember feeling frightened, but calm with a total acceptance that gastric bypass surgery was the best decision for me. I remember the anesthesiologist, a beautiful woman, not very old and not very big.

Then I went to sleep.

I woke up puking violently, an unpleasant reaction to anesthesia. I didn’t have my glasses so things were blurry, particularly the flowers from my husband. And I can remember a push-button device that helped me sleep. Later that night I realized I was not yet smaller. In fact my stomach was bloated and sore. In my drug induced vagueness I became convinced the surgeon had mistakenly done the wrong operation because I was getting bigger, not smaller.

The day after surgery my surgeon visited me, taught me to drink tiny sips of water, patted my hand and told me I was going to do just fine. I remember walking around the hospital hallway. I remember a female nurse bathing me. I remember a very good-looking male nurse – he didn’t bathe me. Rats! I remember drinking some nasty liquid chalk and getting an x-ray to confirm my stomach had been whacked, stapled and bypassed. I remember the super-sized wheel chair and being embarrassed that it fit just fine.

I remember being discharged from the hospital to spend the next several days in a hotel room because we had traveled a great distance for my “last resort” surgery. I watched “Mame” on TBS several times. The sofa at the hotel was scratchy. My husband and I went on “outings” each day, little drives around a strange town. He emptied my surgical drain for me. I thought it was disgusting.

One week after surgery we went to Sea World where I wept in profound disbelief at the great whales circling the pool and performing flawlessly for a bite of fish. Being from out-of-town, we sat in the “Splash Zone”. Turns out those warnings are for a reason. The great swimming mammal whacked his tail and we were drenched!

On Thursday of the second week Leslie, the darling nurse and counselor herself a WLS patient, removed my drain. We could go home. She asked me the four rules and I repeated them to her. She told me, “Take advantage of this window of opportunity. Learn everything you can. If you don’t learn early to follow the rules and take care of yourself you can regain this weight.”

Starry eyed and hopeful we packed ourselves in the car and headed for home. Almost 1,500 miles later we pulled into the driveway of home sweet home. My fabulous husband said to me, “Welcome to your new life – You Have Arrived.”


Kim said...

Oh, I'm so excited that I get to be the FIRST to wish you a happy re-birthday! Look who's six today! You are my "benchmark" and my good friend. Enjoy your day and make every minute as exciting as it can be.

Sara said...

Congratulations on the 6th anniversary of your arrival!

Just imagine all you've learned about self-care and survival!

Your sharing this new-found wisdom is such a generous gift

For pre and post-ops, new and old--it gives us all a lift.

It's only seven weeks since my big operation

And I appreciate all the advice and tips about my life alteration!



Anonymous said...


Congrats on your wonderful success.
It is hard to imagine myself 6 years from now. I hope I am an inspiration like you are.
I so enjoy this website and all you do. Keep up the good work.
Your friend,

Nanci said...


I'm a little late in saying this, but Happy Anniversary!! I love reading about how your life has changed since surgery. As someone who is still pre-op, I am inspired and encouraged by your journey.

Thanks for sharing this - and congratulations again on 6 years of a new, improved life!


Anonymous said...

congrats on doing so well, and sharing so i know what to expect. you are my shinning star.


Caroline Tigeress said...

I just had my surgery on the 6th and am reading with great curiosity. I love your works and follow them closely. I'm home now, 10 days postop and have dropped 16 lbs. Don't understand it all, but thanks to people like you, I know I don't have to go through it alone.

Kaye Bailey said...

Wow - thank you all for the congratulations and sweet words. I look forward to celebrating milestones with each and every one of you!

Big Hugs!

Diane; AL said...

My buddy, WTG!! The time has flown by I know. I echo the sentiments of others in wishing you well. I thank the day I found you and this wonderful site. We have formed a very tight knit community. There is not another place like this. I felt lost at other sites with all those newbies. This is a long journey for all of us. We need the support as much today as we did pre-op.