Let’s jog our memory with a brief weight gain history. When I graduated high school in June 2000, I weighed 170 pounds (35 pounds overweight, but I was still active and happy). Some people gain a freshman 15, but I’m an over achiever. My freshman year of college I gained a whopping 40 pounds in about 6-8 months. I maintained at 210 pounds until I reached comfortable relationship status with my now husband in November of 2004, gaining 42 pounds weighing in at 252 pounds. We continued our life journey and decided babies were the next step. While pregnant with my daughter, I gained roughly 34 pounds delivering her at 286 pounds. In April 2012 I delivered my son weight almost 300 pounds. Four years later we reach my pre-surgery weight, a whipping 314.6 pounds. In carrying this excess weight, I had so many physical and emotional limitations that imposed on my daily life.
On December 28, 2016, I had Gastric Bypass surgery performed by Dr. Steven Simper, and my life has been forever changed! What better way to celebrate this accomplishment than to hike and participate in 5K’s? I completed my very first 5K on April 15th and I had so many supportive friends and family that joined me. In May 2017, my family and I went to Disneyland and I walked their little legs off! We were averaging over 20,000 steps a day while we were there, and not only was I keeping up, but I was outlasting everyone! My physical abilities have changed drastically as well as my physical appearance. I was on top of the world and decided it was time to rediscover it! I was using a hiking app and had rediscovered nature in the way I loved. The journey of life must continue, by June 2017 I had almost lost 100 pounds! The outdoors was mine for the taking and I was determined to live it up!
My husband had been trying to talk me into ATV’s the entire time we have been together. In June of last year, we went as a family and picked out two brand new Sportsman 570’s. Mine was indigo red and his is some weird camo. We picked up our new toys on June 15, 2017 and decided we needed to break them in immediately. New to this ATV world I had googled trails that would be great for our maiden voyage. We chose the Farmington Canyon ATV trail because it was deemed perfect for new riders getting to know their machine. My life was forever changed on that day and I had no idea my life was about to become very challenging!
We started the ride off slow and steady to get the new rides broken in. I was on top of the world enjoying the day and the powerful machine I was now able to comfortably ride. Well, our joyous time soon came to a sudden end. As a determined, yet inexperienced rider, I wanted to show my husband I can do anything he can do. I attempted to do a bank turn at too fast a velocity without the knowledge of how this machine worked. Needless to say, I went up and over that bank into the ten foot ravine on the other side of it. Moments later I woke up in the bottom of a river taking in very cold water and my body moving swiftly away from my overturned wheeler. Somehow my survival instincts kicked in and I was able to turn myself over and dig my heels into the bottom of the swift moving water before the entrance to a metal culvert. My husband was my knight in shining armor. When he looked down into the bottom of the ravine, all he saw was his wife face down in the water. He quickly rushed to the end of the culvert thinking he was going to be collecting a dead body. However, together can do some darn hard things! Once he realized I was secure and waiting for help, he came to the rescue. Tim exerted some amazing strength, both physical and emotional, that day. He was able to get me out of that ravine, onto a wheeler, as I was very scared to be left, and down the canyon until we had steady cell phone service and were able to stay on the line with a dispatcher. He saved my life that day, and I am forever grateful. Had I not already lost 95 pounds, I do not believe my rescue and recovery would have been as successful as it was.
My life’s journey became harder than I had ever expected it would be. However, I can do hard things! I had a laundry list of injuries, but I was determined to continue on my weight loss and overall healthy life journey. I was taken by ambulance to Davis County Hospital. After an MRI, it was determined I had many internal injuries. I was then Life-Flighted to the University of Utah where I remained in the ICU for a week, then the hospital for a week. After my stint there I was sent to a rehabilitation center for countless hours of physical therapy. I was released to my home where a nurse, an occupational therapist and physical therapist came to do home health. I had ruptured my spleen and had emergency surgery to remove it, I had two blood transfusions, I bruised my liver and my left kidney, I broke 12 ribs in multiple places (some up to 4 times), I punctured my left lung, I broke my left clavicle, my left scapula, my sternum, the head of my right humerus that required additional surgery, 5 vertebrae in my back, and numerous processes along my spine. 16 plus bones in all. I knew I could do hard things, I just didn’t realize how hard those things could be. I stuck to my 70/30 and was on the road to recovery. It has been less than a year since that accident and I have lost an additional 60 pounds.
While I was still in my back brace I went back into nature and took out my good hiking sticks and did mini adventures because I can do hard things. I was so determined to continue my weight loss journey they had to come shave off my brace three times to make it smaller. Finally they had to switch my brace entirely because the hard plastic one was just too big. I kept on keeping on and was not going to let this accident rule my life. I went hiking with my aunt in the new brace. On October 6, 2017 I was out of my brace and I was one dang happy girl! Even though people had seen me while I was still losing weight when I was out of that brace I looked like a whole new person. People, I was tiny! My own husband didn’t recognize me when I walked out of a store once while he was picking me up.
I have been shopping in my own closet for clothes I saved and can now wear. I am back to helping in my daughter’s third grade class and my son’s kindergarten class. This surgery has been not only life changing, but lifesaving. Literally, without this surgery I don’t know how my husband would have been able to save my life that day. I know I am still on the path of this amazing journey, but all the love and support from everyday life friends and family has shown me I CAN DO HARD THINGS! I had friends and family that were willing to come help my family, when my husband was at work, and when I could not care for myself or my kids.
This journey has not been easy, but it has been worth it. There have been some bumps along the way, but determination can be a huge motivator. Through adversity, I have managed to learn how to manage and maintain my new life. In November of 2017, I weighed in at exactly half of what I used to weigh. I have lost the equivalent weight of a whole person! My advice to all of you is NEVER EVER GIVE UP! We have been given the best tool that life can offer! Have I gone off track, you bet! Have I struggled, without a doubt! However, we can do hard things and don’t let anyone or anything tell you different! For once in my life I look forward to what the future holds for me and I have Dr. Simper, Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP), my husband and myself to thank for that feeling!
Surgery Date: December 28, 2016
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Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians
1160 East 3900 South, Suite 4100
SLC, UT 84124