I’M REAL!

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I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign LORD. I will tell everyone that you alone are just. Psalm 71:16 NLT

I had always felt – as a pre-op – that when I hit the 5 years post-op mark that I’d be “real” – or at least a little bit “grown-up” as a post-op. But honestly, if you think about it, I’m only a kindergartener! LOL!

So today, July 2, 2007, I am 5 years post-op. I can’t believe it. On one hand it feels like it was just the other day. On the other – it seems like aeons ago.

Of course, I was just as sick as they came back then. I’m still amazed that Dr. Baltasar would take a risk on me. What an honor to have him as my surgeon – and now five years later – a dear, treasured friend.

I remember saying about a year or so after surgery that I’d never be able to forget how badly I hurt, how difficult it was to live, how hard it was to get through even the simplest tasks – living my life as a super, super morbidly obese woman with a BMI of 64, and pretty much every co-morbidity in the book.

Here I am five years later, and I can say that it – the remembering how hard it was, how bad it hurt, how difficult it was to live – all of it – remembering it – is a little hard. I can see someone who is struggling to make it under the weight of morbid obesity and my heart just literally aches for them. But do I remember the acute pain? Do I remember clearly what it was like?

To be honest, I think it’s fading. I think the crisis of the day to day living is becoming a more faint memory. And in a way, that sort of makes me sad. Not that I would want to go back there and relive it. But it makes me want to be careful to NEVER take this amazing gift I’ve been given for granted.

And that’s what I firmly believe my DS is to this day. It’s a gift. I feel honored and privileged to have been given this amazing opportunity to be given my life back. I am still in awe over the generosity of that amazing (still anonymous) faithful follower of God who went to my bank that morning of April 22, 2002 and deposited $15,000 into my surgery account so that I could have a chance. I’m still moved to tears that God would value me so – even though in my head I know He holds me precious in His sight.

I still wonder – Why me, Lord? Why did you choose to bless me so incredibly? How can I ever say thank you enough? How can I ever give back enough to begin to show my gratitude for you faithfulness and amazing mercy and grace – for me, someone who totally just doesn’t deserve it?

But God…

My favorite phrase. Just when it all should have been over, it wasn’t, simply because God chose to step in and willed a miracle to happen. I guess I could ponder it forever, and I likely will, but I’ve learned some over the past five years just when I feel overwhelmed by it all, to stop, to be still and know that HE is God, and to simply thank and praise Him.

So five years later. Had the bounce. Bounced back to the place I stayed FOREVER before I hit my all time low. I’m not so stressed about the number on the scale, as I am about the excess skin that I would SO happily say goodbye to! But in the scope of the real world, it’s not that important. There are far more important things that need to be dealt with in the world.

I still have an incredible quality of life – the likes of which I had no HOPE or ability to fathom I could ever have as a post-op.

My labs are pretty darn good.

My marriage is the most amazing and precious thing ever.

My children are a blessing to my heart.

And God continues to bless me – even in the midst of personal storms and heartaches. My Mom is dying. There are other difficulties in my extended family that I can’t go into at the moment. When hard times hit I am amazed anew at the fact that God brought healing to my life when he did – and that I’m able to do so many things I couldn’t have ever dreamed of doing now five years ago.

I’m still just awed over the fact that just a little over five years ago I’d never even dreamed of going to Spain – once – and here I am five years later, having made the trip nine times! LOL! Who would have thunk I’d be a world traveler some day? Or that I’d have the incredible privilege to be able to accompany thirteen other patients to Spain as their support person for their surgery? Or that I’d get to scrub in and observe – pretty up close and personal – four DS surgeries (one open, three lap).

Wow. I’m so thankful. I’m so awed. And I’m so humbled that God would bless me so.

Here’s to the next five years!

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