‘What sort of a title is that?’ you ask. Well, I am glad to be able to reassure you that I am still whole and have not lost any part of myself – except for one small organ: my gallbladder. This was extracted by Mr Cooper on 19th November, 2012.
My ‘gallstones attacks’ began over the Diamond Jubilee weekend. I will not describe the excruciating pain – that is for another day. Suffice it to say that on the Doctor’s advice I reduced all the fat in my diet to a bare minimum and by the time of the operation I had already lost 3 stone in weight.
Yes, I had been heavy! In April 2012 I weighed myself for the first time in years, for the purpose of a pension annuity declaration. The scales climbed to 13 stone 7 lbs. I was size 20. Chubby and tubby.
The weight fell off, dramatically at first, then slowly and surely. One year after the operation it had stabilised at 9 stone, which is where I am still: size 10/12. Skinny!
Over Christmas, a cousin who I never see asked me whether I have got used to this, and I realised that it has definitely changed me. It is not just the extraordinary (and costly) wardrobe replacement, which dropped from 20 to 16 (where did 18 go?) then on down through 14 to 12, finally stopping between 10 and 12. Nor is it the fact that all of my treasured rings, including my beloved wedding ring, are far too big; my teeth feel strange and some shoes are loose. My other half has had to get used to me too – a hug from him now envelopes me completely!
It is lovely to look at myself in the mirror and see this slender person staring back, but is it really me? I don’t think so. Not yet. I need to get used to this stranger who now has cheekbones and a neck. A huge bonus health-wise has been the suppressing of my hiatus hernia and the almost complete lack of heartburn, as well as – of course – the lack of pain. I can walk up hills again, easily, and getting myself out of the bath (which I no longer squeeze into) is a doddle. These are all wonderful surprises, but they still feel very strange.
I wish I could have told my 40-year-old self what to do to stay thin, but I fear that it would have changed the last 21 years of my life. You have less energy and lower stamina on this ‘diet’/way-of-life. Of course this might be because I am older now, but I wonder how I would have reacted then?
You cannot change the past; only warn and advise from experience. It may take a long time before I am completely comfortable with being two thirds myself, but I know one thing for certain: I am healthier and happier in my day to day life than I have been for a very long time. And that has to be a 1/3 bonus!