I have struggled with obesity since elementary school. It was around 5th grade that I remember feeling sad about my weight. I was always that fat girl who felt self-conscious and was teased my entire life. I have dieted off and on since 6th grade, and I would be successful for a time but would always gain the weight back. It was a vicious cycle for me. I was so depressed because of my appearance so I would turn to food for comfort. Then, I would feel depressed for gaining weight because I would eat too much of the wrong things. It was a horrible self-loathing and self-hate cycle I would go through weekly. I was embarrassed and hated any kind of attention from anyone. The meanest compliment I have been told my entire life was that I had such a pretty face. That always made me feel horrible. It was a slap in the face because I didn’t feel good enough…I had a “pretty face”, but my fat body was disgusting and ugly. I know people meant well, but it hurt every time someone would tell me that.
As an adult, I would still turn to food for comfort. After a divorce and my brother dying from cancer, I was at my heaviest weight: 342 pounds! I was depressed and suicidal. I had zero hope and honestly felt the world was better off without me. I was honestly at my wits end. I would think about suicide daily…but felt selfish because my parents had already buried two children, and I was angry. I couldn’t put my family through that again. So, I was in a miserable state and could barely function because I was so depressed and felt trapped in a life that I hated.
I worked with a lady who I had noticed was losing weight and looking great. I asked her about it and she told me she had bariatric surgery, the sleeve gastrectomy. She told me all about it and it was the first time in YEARS that I felt any hope. I did some research and decided it was the best thing I could do for myself.
I started eating healthier and started losing weight before the actual surgery, so that I could qualify for my insurance to help pay for half of the surgery. I had the vertical sleeve gastrectomy on June 1, 2016 with Dr. McKinlay. It was the scariest and hardest decision I have ever made. I was 41 years old and had never been hospitalized. I am a nurse by profession…not a patient, and I liked it that way.
It has been a year since my surgery. It’s been the hardest, yet most rewarding thing I have ever done for myself. I have lost 137 lbs. from my highest weight and 127 lbs. since the day of surgery. I was wearing a size 24 and now I am fitting into size 12 and 14’s! I can buy clothes at regular stores!
I have never felt better in my entire life. I have more energy to do the things I love. I never thought I would ever say these words, but now I love hiking and being active. Whenever friends would want me to go hiking, I would dread it because I was so out of shape and embarrassed how short of breath any exertion would make me.
Now I look forward to being active and I can keep up with other people! I am the happiest I have ever been. I feel good about myself when I look in the mirror. I love making healthy choices because I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. I was so lucky I never had any obesity related problems before the surgery, but I knew it would have been just a matter of time before diabetes, heart disease or knee problems would hit me.
Has this journey been easy? Not at all. The surgery is just a tool and I still have to make healthy decisions every day. I still want to eat all the naughty things I used to, but I definitely make much better choices now because I want to continue feeling healthy. I don’t eat perfectly, but I try every day. I weight myself every morning and document every calorie using MyFitnessPal.
This has been the most rewarding journey I have ever been on. I am so thankful for RMAP for their life changing help. This has been the best thing I have ever done for myself. I am a new person who loves herself and can look in the mirror without feeling ashamed. I am so happy to be alive and I love my new life. I look forward to a lifetime of health and happiness.
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