life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

worried for a friend/life lessons

I've known her for about 5-6 years now.  She's a delightful woman, in her early 60's, well-traveled, smart, a bit flamboyant.  Passionate about the arts.  .  She's been known to literally squeal with joy at the thought of another Disney World vacation.  She lives for her daughter and her music

This larger-than-life personality is housed, unfortunately, in a larger-than-normal body.  She is not embarrassed to tell you she weighs more than 320 pounds.  She has mobility issues, she can walk for only a short time before she must sit down.  Her health has suffered.  She is a diabetic. 

You can see where this is leading.

A week ago she posted on Facebook that she was in the ER and would be admitted to the hospital.  Diabetics, unfortunately, are prone to serious foot problems, and she had developed a foot ulcer that required surgery. 

Of course I reached out to her, to see how she's doing.  She had the surgery, but she's still in the hospital.  Eventually she will be transferred to a rehab center.  The earliest she can expect to return to some degree of normal is the middle of May.  That's six weeks after her initial ER visit.

I am so worried about her.   I am hoping she gets through this, that she heals completely and is able to return to the activities she loves. 

But there is also a life lesson here.  Seeing what my friend is going though has clarified things for me.

A year ago I was starting down the path that my friend has followed.  Nothing terribly serious, but a lot of minor health issues.  Problems that were starting to interfere with the activities I wanted to enjoy.  Small things that would ultimately lead to larger things. 

It was a crossroad.  Do I accept these small problems, do I learn to live with health issues and physical limitations? 

Or do I make changes to my life?  Changes that wouldn't be easy, but changes that would make things so much better.

There are consequences for staying where I was.  There would be different consequences if I made a change.  My friend is living with the consequences of her decisions, of the choices she made. I can't wave a magic wand and fix this for her, but I can be supportive as she deals with this crisis. 

But I can change my direction.

I made the choice to change direction.  There are no guarantees, of course.  You can live a healthy lifestyle and still get sick.  You could get hit by a bus.  But you can make changes that minimize your risks.

I've been overweight most of my adult life.  Overweight?  No, let's be honest.   Clinically obese.    I've tried, on and off, to lose the weight, with limited success.  Ten years ago I lost about 70 pounds, and promptly gained it all back again. 

So why is this time different?

Losing weight is as much about what goes on in your head as it is about what goes onto your plate.

All the things that were happening to me in 2015, all the doctor visits, all the medical tests, were churning up unpleasant memories.

2005 was my year from hell.  In January of that year, I was diagnosed with cancer.  I endured surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.  I endured, I fought through it, I'm a survivor.

I'm not going back to that, not if I can help it. 

In March 2015 I walked out of yet another doctor's office.  I rejoined Weight Watchers and I bought a Fitbit. 

As of today, I have lost 54 pounds.  I feel so much better.  My doctor is pleased with my progress.    I've got a lot more to lose, but I'm on track to lose it.

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