Morbidly Obese. Morbid. The first time I realized that my Body Mass Index (BMI) of near 50 qualified me as Morbidly Obese, I was morbidly horrified. I had always been fat, or at least is seemed like it. I knew I was obese, but to put my height and weight into an online calculator and have the words MORBIDLY OBESE pop up stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a significant shock.
My life has been greatly impacted by my obesity. It affected every facet, including my family life, self-esteem, work and daily activities. Because of my weight I had a long list of CAN’TS:
- Can’t ride a bike
- Can’t walk or hike
- Can’t sit in a movie theatre seat—and don’t even get me started with airplane rides or booths at a restaurant
- Can’t go to the gym
- Can’t go on rides at the amusement park
- Can’t control my eating
- Can’t shop for clothes in the store—even the plus size section was too small
- Can’t go for a ride in the ambulance—the most humiliating event of my life was when I needed to be transported for an emergency surgery from one hospital to another and the EMT’s could not lift me. I was in excruciating pain and they could not move me.
- Can’t carry a healthy pregnancy. I have PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. In my case, PCOS is caused by Insulin Resistance, my body can’t utilize the insulin it makes and so it produces more, setting off a chain reaction of other hormonal imbalances. I have not been able to carry a successful pregnancy. In 16 years of trying to conceive, from hormone shots, to fertility drugs and more, I have conceived 3 times, all of which have ended in miscarriage, devastating losses to me and my husband. My weight is directly correlated to my PCOS. It is caused by the PCOS and the PCOS is made worse by the excess weight—a vicious cycle or imbalanced hormones. My last miscarriage was September 15, 2013. Heartbroken, I finally decided…
It’s time. Time to change my body, my attitude, my esteem. It’s time I take charge.
After my last miscarriage in September of 2013, I made my consultation appointment at Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) and signed up for the free Risks and Benefits seminar. I had researched weight loss surgery before, even attended the same information seminar at RMAP two years prior, but fear and a justification of “I can’t afford the co-pay” kept me away. This time was different. I knew then that I couldn’t afford NOT to have weight loss surgery. My primary insurance denied me but my husband’s insurance approved me. I went in for Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass on January 6, 2014. A new year and a new start on life.
The journey has not been easy. I had struggles with fatigue, strictures, 2 additional scopes to re-open the strictures, and food made me sick. I was terrified to move from one stage of food to the next fearing that awful feeling of pain and nausea. Food scared me. I cried the first time I walked into a movie theater and realized I couldn’t eat the popcorn that I love so much. I grieved for my old life, my old comfort, my old way of dealing with stress or emotions. I have heard scoffs from people who think I took the “easy way” out or “cheated” the system. If they only knew…
But the weight came off. I started exercising and the weight came off. As time passed, I became friends with food again. I learned to savor the flavors and enjoy what I was eating. Each time I tried a new food it became like I was eating it for the very first time, a whole new experience. But this time, I’m in charge. Now I have a new list of CANS:
- I CAN cook healthy, delicious food
- I CAN enjoy time out with my friends and eat my cheese while they eat their ice cream—and they love me just the same
- I CAN exercise—I AM STRONG
- I CAN go to the gym
- I CAN ride a bike—the first time in over 20 years I got on a bike and I rode around the black with my son and tears of happiness ran as fast as I could pedal
- I CAN hike, swim, dance
- I CAN buy clothes that I feel good in
- I CAN control my food
- I CAN LIVE
So while my journey is not over, I am amazed at how far I’ve come and excited about where I am going next. At 9 months after my gastric bypass surgery, I have lost 98% of my excess weight. I have gone from a BMI of 50 to a BMI of 26. I still have another 20 pounds before I get to that “healthy BMI” but I’m trying hard not to focus on a number and more on my overall feeling of health and happiness. I have lost 150 pounds, but more importantly I have found myself.
Amanda shares her story with KSL news. She how having weight loss surgery has impact not only her life but her family’s life as well. Watch “Weight Loss Dream Becomes A Reality.”
Read more patient stories here.
Interested in learning more about weight loss surgery? Learn more information here.
If you would like to share your weight loss surgery story with others and on Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) other social media outlets, contact Jessica at Jessica@rmapinc.com.