Today I began the first day of a two-week pre-op eating plan to reduce the fatty deposits on my liver. “Eating” plan is a misnomer. It’s more like a not-eating plan. It feels to a person who is accustomed to eating whatever she wants whenever she wants in any amount she wants like systematic torture. However, I submit to this because I want to safe-guard against complications that an excessively fatty liver might cause during what is otherwise a relatively routine procedure called sleeve gastrectomy. That’s right: bariatric surgery; gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lapband, you know the names. I’m doing it. So with these two weeks in the otherwise completely benign month of February, I mark the beginning of a new life that I have, for the first time ever, carefully and deliberately designed: a life of transformation.
On February 29, 2016, the “un-day” of this year that occurs only once in every four, I choose to start a new life free of medication, fat, and over-eating, but most importantly: FEAR.
You might recall that earlier in this year of transformation (you can read that post here), I vowed to let my whole family grow in the ways they need to grow. I gave up the fear of losing my daughter to anger, depression, and anxiety, and I took a leap in letting go and letting her. This decision represents another leap in the process of freeing my family of fear. The truth is that we need to take better care of ourselves. All of us. And for once, I have put myself on the top of the list. This time, I get to go first. I need to go first.
When, if not now, will I finally transform those health issues that are still holding me back? Recently having turned 50, I’ve taken stock of my many life accomplishments. Most friends and family members applaud me for all of the things I’ve managed to do, create, juggle, and transcend while raising two kids completely on my own. They’re not wrong, but THIS: this is the one thing that has plagued me my whole life, the one fear I have never fully and completely dealt with, faced head-on, and conquered. If I can do this, I might be less afraid to agree that I’ve done some pretty amazing things.
You see, a decade and a half ago, I found out while pregnant with my first child, that I have diabetes. But contrary to what many might think about the chronic disease, diabetes never made me sick enough for me to take it very seriously. I believed that because I felt good, I had control over it. But the truth is, it was and is controlling me. I have neglected my body and it is NOT happy with me. I am sick. I am unhealthy. I am fat. Yes, I said it: fat fat fat fat fat fat fat fat. I am fat. And fat is what diabetes LOOOVVVEESSS. Diabetes kisses, holds, and hugs that sh**. Diabetes creates heaps of that crap. Diabetes exists to manufacture that garbage. Diabetes WILL kill me with fat unless I get over my fear and transform this death sentence into a life of health and vigor. It’s just simply time: Time to wrest control of this fat body’s endocrine system and do the work I need to do to achieve the physical and mental fitness required of someone who wants to continue living and accomplishing amazing things.
Now before you start goin’ all bat-crazy on me, telling me I need to just have willpower, resolve to eat better, “just do” the hard work, etc., rest assured: I’ve said all of that to myself already for decades. I have done and tried all those things and more at least once, and sometimes those things have helped for a period of time. I do have a Ph.D., you know, so I know how to and I have done my research; I’m not lazy or stupid. I’ve weighed all of the options on a scale of knowledge right alongside my wide white butt. And the truth is this: this surgery has a better and faster success rate in controlling diabetes than any other method whatsoever, and it doesn’t leave me dependent on insulin and other pharmaceuticals for the rest of my life. It’s the best option for me. I do fear it, but not as much as I fear what will become of me if I let diabetes win.
So next month, when I write my blog post, I hope to write an update on how things are going for me. I hope to write that because I know there are lots of moms out there like me. Moms like me who have spent years upon years putting everyone else first, neglecting ourselves, neglecting our hearts, neglecting our bodies, and in doing so, essentially neglecting the families that we profess to put above all else. I believe now, finally, at 50, I understand these two old adages: “you can’t love others until you love yourself.” So beginning February 29, 2016: I will. And, “the only thing to fear is fear itself.” So on February 29, 2016: I won’t.