November 10, 2009

More and More Alike

Posted in Life tagged , , , , , at 12:57 pm by lindaslongview

GayleLinda2009It has been a long, hard road, but my best friend, Gayle, last week exceeded one of her lifetime goals! One year post-bariatric surgery, she weighs 146 lbs. having shed more weight than one Linda, exceeding her goal weight of 150 lbs! She is no longer a superb athlete trapped in an obese person’s body, just a superb athlete. 🙂

We have been friends for eons (before kids), having met and nurtured our friendship at our mutual workplace. I was the new kid on the block and she was a veteran that took me under her wing, teaching me the ropes and providing me professional opportunity. As time passed, we continued to work side-by-side professionally and to share the joy and heartache of raising babies/kids/teens, the love of needlework, and a commitment to athletics non-professionally. Although our fitness levels differed, she was my usual lunchtime buddy to hit the pool, spin class, or step aerobics. There were so many things that we could do together that the fitness difference simply did not matter. Apparently we were similar enough (hair color, shoe size, demeanor, …), many of the regulars thought we were sisters!

Bike Transition 1998In 1996, eight weeks after her “big” birthday and six weeks after the birth of my youngest child, we accomplished her first sprint triathlon. It was a challenge for both of us since I was only cleared for the water (post-partum) on the day of the race, but I kept telling her that neither of us could be last, because Sally Edwards, the sweep athlete, always finishes last. We raced together in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2000.Danskin Finish 2000Post Finish 2000

We both departed our mutual workplace (Ray…) just prior to 2000 to new respective workplaces (…Logic), becoming the X-RayLogic Girls.  Although apart professionally and retired from triathlons, we were still committed to workout whenever we could get together. We sweated together in the gym and pool, caught-up, and got a small snack as often as our schedules would allow.

As time passed, it was clear that the mainstream strategies of diet and exercise just did not allow Gayle to move the needle against obesity. When her knees became too painful for her to continue to play her beloved softball, she decided it was time to try something radical – bariatric surgery.

Her long view advice: If something truly matters and mainstream strategies fail, try something radical!

A year ago, I was there with balloons and flowers at her bedside following her surgery, holding her gown closed as she did laps in the hospital hallway. Today I taught her the ropes as she made her first rock climb in her new body (conquering her fear of heights). With this latest success, we are now more and more alike. Our hair color is still the same even though it is different than before. I think she needs is a skort…IMG_0191

If Gayle can stare down obesity and then conquer her fear of heights, what can we do if we shift to a radical strategy for something important?!

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