I have been overweight all of my life. I was an overweight child, teenager and adult. I taught myself the “do’s” and “don’ts” of living a healthy lifestyle over many years. It wasn’t until I gave birth to my youngest son in 2001 that I noticed just how large I was. I topped out at 268 pounds in a 5’4” body. That was when I knew something needed to be done. I began exercising and watching what I ate and the pounds began dropping. I ended up getting down to 192 pounds at the age of 29. But with raising two sons and having a husband deploy every year for 6 months at a time, the weight eventually came back on. I experienced the aches and pains of moving again. Even walking became a chore. Every time I got up on my feet, my back hurt. I got progressively worse and worse with every French fry and cheeseburger I consumed.
Then I 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer…and I was told that I had BRCA 1 gene mutation, which meant I had no choice but to not only lose one breast, I had to lose both of them and I also had to have a complete hysterectomy as a prophylactic measure because of my gene mutation. So at the age of 34, I had to rearrange my life and decide to either get busy living or get busy dying. I choose to live and to live hard. To capture the moments with my then two young boys, to create memories with my husband, to not have to make my parents bury their child. I survived my breast cancer, my chemotherapy and my multiple surgeries but I was left in a hollow body that kept gaining weight. By this time, I was maxed out at 240 pounds. I still felt the aches and pains in my body whenever I wanted it to move, but I was stubborn and I kept moving and moving no matter how bad it was. I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Because of my hysterectomy, I was fast forwarded into going through full blown menopause at the age of 35. I had the hot flashes, short temper and even more weight gain.
I could not control my weight gain with anything. Exercise did not work, and neither did my diet. I counted everything that went into my mouth and I counted every calorie that I burned and I never lost a pound, not even any ounces! I was so discouraged but I kept keeping on and I studied and studied and studied every article, magazine and book out there for anything that I hadn’t tried yet to be able to see if I could do it and make the scale move to the left instead of right, but it didn’t budge. So at the age of 39, my weight had crept up to 250 pounds. I guess that was the “magic” number for me because within a 3 month time span, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, had to be on oxygen at night with my CPAP, osteoporosis, GERD, had to be on multiple inhalers because of shortness of breath, and finally, diabetes. But I still preserved with my diet and exercise because nothing would stop me.
I did boot camp, dropped all carbs, put more protein in my diet and I exercised 6 days a week. Something had to click, my body had to respond to the amount of changes (healthy changes) that I was putting it through. There HAD to be a loss in weight, right? Nope. I had always wanted to do gastric bypass surgery, but was told multiple times in the last 10 years of my life that I couldn’t do it because my insurance would not pay for it and I simply didn’t have any money to pay for it myself. Then it happened, that one moment that everyone receives and/or wishes for, that conversation that provides the light at the end of the tunnel. I was told by my diabetes manager that I would be eligible for gastric bypass surgery, because of my recent health troubles and my BMI. I took that news and ran with it! I felt like a heavy loaded train moving up the mountain and I kept telling myself, “I think I can, I think I can.” And I pushed any and all pessimistic opinions and doubts out of my mind.
I was determine that I was going to MAKE gastric bypass surgery happen! And I did! My insurance came back approved, so I went in and met with Dr. Sherman Smith at Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) and found out that I was a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery. I came back home and awaited my surgery date and I began to exercise more and eat like I was training for a marathon. Every piece of unhealthy foods, cans of soda and carbohydrates were tossed out. I saw my green light from a mile away and I had to push myself to get through that green light with little withdrawal as possible. It was my turn to get what I have taught, trained and learned and prepared myself for 10 years for. I am prepped and ready to go.
My gastric bypass surgery went very well with no complications at all. Within hours of my surgery, I was up walking around and the nurses kept telling me how good I was doing and how strong I was (little did they know that I had literally trained my mind and body for this moment for a decade). I kept seeing that green light of mine getting closer and closer and I knew that having gastric bypass surgery gave me the directions to get to that green light and for the first time, there wasn’t any red lights in my path at all.
I walked out of that hospital like a new and improved woman, wife, mother and daughter. I knew that my optimism and positivity of my journey would lead me to become a winner in my own life and I needed to inspire and motivate anyone I could with everything I had. Life isn’t filled with constant sadness and despair, it is filled with joys, possibilities and most important, HOPE.
I am now 4 months post gastric bypass, and I am a completely different person. I have gone from 256 pounds, down to 161 pounds (a total of 95 pounds so far), have gone down 8 sizes in my clothes and what I am most proud of, I am not on ANY medicines at all! I am only taking nutritional supplements but I have been able to take out 10 different kinds of medicine from my daily routine and I have not used any of my inhalers since I walked out of the hospital. I can move and flow without any pain whatsoever and I am gaining back my confidence in myself every single day.
Life became brighter for me. You can’t expect life to change if you don’t change. Embrace it, learn it and fall in love with it. Your day is here and now. What is stopping you?
— Stacey C.
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Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians
1160 East 3900 South, Suite 4100
SLC, UT 84124