I got to see my best friend from elementary school this afternoon. It was wonderful to visit with her and to catch up. We talked for much longer than I had thought we might and it was only because I had to leave for dragon boating practice that our conversation had to end. It was just really lovely to reconnect with such a sweet individual!
Seeing her today made me remember the last time that I ran into her. It was sixteen months ago, at the very end of November of 2008, and I was quickly edging towards my highest weight. I was probably around 260 pounds at that time. I saw her when I was reporting for an echocardiogram at the hospital where I had just spent the night in emergency.
I have always had very minor heart palpitations – my doctors have run all the necessary tests, on a couple of different occasions, to ensure that it is nothing serious. Basically, it has always been attributed to stress and has been viewed as nothing to worry about. But when you are over 250 pounds and starting to have daily concerns about your own mortality, heart palpitations become a lot more.
By that point, because of my severe lack of fitness and high level of obesity, I was convinced that I would soon die. There were a lot of nights where I would curl up on my husband’s chest as I went to sleep, vaguely comforted by the thought that if I didn’t wake up that at least I would pass away in his arms. Any tiny palpitation I experienced turned into a major episode because I would immediately become scared that it was something life threatening, which in turn would make my heart beat even faster because of the fear. It was a vicious circle that left me miserable and emotionally exhausted.
Then, one night, I just couldn’t get the terrifying thoughts out of my head. My heart was beating for all it was worth and I could not get to sleep because I was certain I would never again rise. I asked my husband to drive me to the emergency room and we spent the next several hours within the confines of the hospital. I can recall that one of my reoccurring thoughts at the time was, “at least if I have a heart attack now there are lots of doctors around to try and revive me.”
Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing. It was that same circular fear rearing its head in a monumental manner. They ran many tests and had me wired into monitors to check everything and all the results came back normal. But they decided to send me for an echocardiogram just to be sure.
So I went back to the hospital a day or two later, ready to learn about whatever cardiovascular disease I was sure I would be diagnosed with. That’s when I ran into my friend. She worked there, in the department I was reporting to, and was probably as shocked to see me as I was to see her. I don’t embarrass easily, but that encounter easily ranks near the top of my life’s worst moments.
She wasn’t the one running my tests and we only had a moment to say hello. It was brief but something that I will never forget. The echocardiogram turned out fine. All was well. And I (inexplicably) returned to the lifestyle I had created for myself – albeit working slowly on the mental aspects of this journey – for another eight months until I began this blog.
So when I last saw this particular childhood chum, I was at one of my absolute lowest points. And I still wasn’t ready to dig myself out of the early grave I had been creating. Yet, this afternoon I showed up to see my friend carrying very little extra weight, no signs of being unfit, and a huge smile plastered across my face. We talked, caught up, reminisced, laughed, and discussed. We got along as only old girlfriends can. It really was great to see her.
It was even better to see myself.
FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 8 glasses of water
- 1 pan-fried banana and light peanut butter wrap on a soft tortilla shell
- 4 cups spinach salad with cubed cheese, croutons, dried cranberries, red pepper, mushrooms, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 1 mug toffee nut steamed skim milk
- 2 small Mandarin oranges
- 1/2 cranberry granola bar
- 6 pieces of a California sushi roll with soy sauce
- 5 pieces of a dynamite sushi roll with soy sauce
- 1 hour and 5 minutes of walking completed in 3 outings (15 minutes long, 15 minutes long, and 35 minutes long)
- 1 hour and 5 minutes of rowing a dragon boat