Five years ago this Tuesday (9/12/12) I had surgery to repair a thoracic aortic aneurysm. My journey is well documented here. As I reflect back on that time, it was a much more stressful period in my life.
I was a manager of somewhere around 18 employees in a busy clinic working for a horrible boss.
I was more scared of dying than I let on to anyone.
I had not acknowledged and embraced my obsessive compulsive tendencies and their impact on my weight.
And I was still an in the closet bisexual.
The surgery impacted me in so many ways. It taught me how strong I am. It taught me that scars only prove what a badass woman I am. They do not detract from my appearance.
I no longer supervise anyone. In fact, in a small way, I helped the company get rid of that horrible boss. Now, I work for the employees’ labor union. I help employees on a daily basis. I protect employees’ rights and am looking toward retirement in less than a year and a half.
While death does not excite me, my fear of dying is less. We recently had to cope with the death of our beloved Maltese (Bella – 12 1/2 years old) and her passing was made easier by my own changes. This was the last photo I took of her (during laser therapy) the week before she died.
I continue to learn about my anxiety and how it shows up in my life. Bella’s passing has allowed me to further explore that. It turns out, she was more of a support dog than I realized – so of course, my anxiety is a bit higher than usual. We have selected a female Maltese puppy – Brigitte – and I am looking into her serving as a service or emotional support dog for me.
Have I won the battle with weight, food, exercise, and my tendency to obsess? Nope. I am above a healthy weight and don’t exercise as often as I should. However, I am learning a bunch of new vegetarian recipes, I have found a few dancing DVDs that I think I can get into, and I continue to work on loving myself at any size.
Also, in the past year (last November), I married my partner after 16 years together. We married on the beach in Puerto Rico. It was such a wonderful experience to commit to this man who has put up with me through thick and thin (literally), through sickness, surgeries, and health, and who gets me even when I don’t.
As for the closet…pretty much still in there – other than the handful of folks I’ve told and you, dear reader. For those who are interested – while I am bisexual, I am heteroromantic. There is no chance I am leaving this guy!
So, there you have it. Five years later, I am the same and I am different. And, most importantly, I am alive.