Thirteen Years

Thirteen years of what?  Marriage?  No, that’s almost 25 years. Waiting for back surgery again? Nope, that’s only a couple months so far.  Living in St. George?  No, 6 years and a bit more. Since retirement?  That’s seven and a half. So what is it?

Thirteen years ago today I had lapband surgery in Tijuana with Dr. Ariel Ortiz and his excellent crew.  For those who don’t know, the lapband is a device designed to help an obese person lose weight.  It is one of the three common surgical methods that can help someone reduce the amount of food they eat.  The surgery, combined with behavioral changes, can produce significant weight loss in a relatively short time.  I lost over a hundred pounds in a year, and maintained that loss for eight years.  I ran half marathons and was in pretty good shape.

After retiring and moving I was home more and have had less disciplined eating. We also traveled more with all of the temptations of eating out and taking less time for working out.  I peaked at 40 pounds over my long term maintenance weight, but still 100 pounds below my pre-surgery weight. For two years I have been at thirty pounds over, neither gaining nor losing.  Back surgery and coronary bypass surgery both put me out of commission for a while.  I did all the physical therapy after each surgery, maintained, but couldn’t lose more.  I think I was pleased enough to be maintaining more than a hundred pound loss from my pre-surgery weight.  I was comfortable.

In the last two months I had another big change in my life.  Despite an extensive back surgery last year, pain came back after I broke another vertebra without a fall or any other proximate cause.  It turns out I have osteoporosis, plus other spine problems that will require some of the forthcoming surgery on my spine to be from the front, through my lower abdomen.  They will have a much better chance of success if I lose more weight, as there will be less fat in the way. So, I’ve gotten refocused on what’s important, taking off more weight not only to improve the chances of surgical success on my back, but also to improve my life in general.

Since my back pain is constant, despite heavy drugs, I’m not very mobile.  I’m pretty much limited to my recliner, my bed, and a few trips to doctors. No trips to the gym or pool or anywhere to get significant exercise.  Despite that, I’ve started losing weight again and expect to continue to do so.  The band still limits what I can eat and I just have to make good choices.  So I will continue onward, trying to shrink, to heal, and to have a successful surgery.  The lapband always works.