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26 November 2018 @ 12:48 pm
COUNTDOWN TO 60: Intro  
Turning 60 on December 2nd is important to me because I was told by my cardiac surgeon that I wouldn't make it to age 50 unless I reached a "normal weight." (Likewise making it to 50 was important.) I can't over emphasize the impact of having a cardiac surgeon say such a thing in the first conversation you have with him following open heart surgery. It cast a shadow over my relatively young marriage of 3+ years. Keep in mind that even on starvation diets as an active teen I could only reach 150 lbs (down from 183). I'm sure weight loss surgery comes to mind--but I was already firmly opposed to gastric bypass.

I'm not making light of the effect of extra weight on my heart or the rest of the body. Part of the reason I stopped dieting was that I was made aware of obesity research--reflecting my own experience--that dieting could drive weight up over time. With each diet I had the initial loss, a period of maintaining that loss, and then gradually the weight would come back plus extra pounds. I'm convinced that my weight would be much higher now if I'd continued dieting. I've written elsewhere about what I did to recover from dieting and normalize my eating.

That said, it IS possible to live longer than my surgeon indicated if you attend to OTHER risk factors as best you can. No one should make a fat person feel like that is impossible. It could so easily have become a self-fulfilling prophecy if I allowed myself to fixate on it and remain mired in depression and hopelessness. Doctors who think terrorizing their patients is motivational should think again. It is a tactic that can easily backfire. (And then the resulting early death is used as another data point against us.)

Now that I've explained why it's a special birthday, above and beyond the usual excitement about entering a new decade of one's life, let me explain how I plan to celebrate.

For the next week I will write about each decade of my life. I got this idea out of frustration that the vision I had for years about what I would do turned out to be too much for my current health and state of mind. I had to scale back my in-person plans but that made me realize that most of my social interactions take place online and have ever since I moved away in the mid-2000s. Why shouldn't the major portion of my celebrating take place online also?

So, migraine permitting, I hope to post each day about one decade of my life. If migraines interfere it will simply take a bit longer. I'm not going to make this a source of stress for myself.

Locally I am having a simple birthday dinner with family and a few friends. That reminds me that I need to get to a party store sometime soon. I'm delaying the gathering for a week after my birthday, though, because my birthday falls in what I've come to think of as a black-out period for social engagements. It's the time of month that I (still) have hormonal fluctuations during what would have been my period. I no longer have a uterus but I kept my ovaries so I have all the other symptoms. This means a sharp rise in all types of chronic pain, lower energy, more migraines and general discomfort. Not the best time for enjoying a gathering where I want to be alert and high-functioning.