Being heavy all my life, I can’t say that any single event prompted me to seek help. In 2005, I met a woman who had undergone weight loss surgery. I was intrigued by her story, so started looking into bariatric surgery as an option. I spent the next three years researching, soul searching, counseling with a life coach and seeking medical advice for reasons why losing weight was so difficult for me. I enlisted the help of a medical/holistic doctor as well as an endocrinologist. Meeting with my endocrinologist was a pivotal moment in my life.
I had been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) in 1998 and was told that if I’d just lose weight everything would be fine. At the time I didn’t understand that having cysts on my ovaries affected a lot more than just my reproductive system. I had started growing facial hair on my chin and neck, and I was putting weight on in my belly area. I was developing dark areas of skin on my legs, neck and torso. On top of all of this, my emotions were a disaster; I was a mess. Blood work revealed all sorts of problems with cholesterol, hormone and insulin levels. The endocrinologist helped me realize that what was wrong with me wasn’t just in my head. I was validated by this doctor and the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders. I had insulin-resistance, which is caused by the lack of function in my ovaries, which is caused by PCOS. I had renewed faith in myself and my health and how I would attack obesity.
My reasons for seeking weight loss surgery were simple really. I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired all the time. I wanted to “feel” good in my mind and body. I was working hard on my mind to discover self-love and had made great strides. Now it was time for my body to follow. I wanted my loving, beautiful parents and siblings to see their daughter and sister healthy and happy. These people loved me, supported me and cheered me on, and I wanted to make them proud by being the best me I could be. But I also realized that I needed a tool to help me lose the weight.
On Dec. 23, 2008, I met with Dr. Raymond Drew. I was finally ready and at 291 pounds it was high time! I had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery in March 2009. The past two years of this journey have been incredible. With the help of Dr. Drew, bariatric program support, my support network and my new tool, I’ve become a very healthy person. I am no longer insulin-resistant, which in turn has made all of the other symptoms improve or completely go away.
I’ve also decided to conquer fears that were present because of my weight. I went skydiving, have been on several motorcycle rides and started to love taking pictures. I have lost 131 pounds and am maintaining this loss—but I have gained so much more than I ever thought possible.
Being able to admit that I needed help was my first miracle. Giving the gift of gastric bypass to myself was my second. Finding Dr. Drew and a great program was my third, and the miracles that have happened since are endless.