Stepping Out of My Comfort Shell

First of all, let me say that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. And, I shouldn’t let fear interfere with that. My true friends will support my decisions and love me for me. Those that ridicule really aren’t friends.

I’m choosing to take another step out of my shell of comfort. My weight/weight loss has been a struggle for me since high school. Compared to what I am now, I certainly wasn’t fat in high school; however I was built a lot huskier than most girls so I was viewed as overweight and I was unhappy. I was shy and felt like I didn’t matter. Self-esteem; I had none. Those years were tough. Later, after having kids, the weight kept increasing. I’ll be honest, back then when I was a lot younger, I didn’t give weight loss a whole lot of thought. Now I’m not sure if that’s just because I was young, depressed or what. The weight kept coming on. I got to a high of about 403 lbs. That’s when my knees ached all the time; so much so that I went to a specialist. What was I told? We could do some shots, but surgery is out of the question until you lose some weight. I left there teary and upset. Reality was, I wasn’t surprised by what I was told, but I was still emotional about it. On the drive home, I stopped at a red light and was crying. At that moment I felt someone grab my shoulder and whisper the words “it’s okay”. It scared the crap out of me because I was alone in the car. I cried harder. Then I thought that perhaps it’s one of my guardian angels talking to me. At that moment I made the decision to seek out help in the form of weight loss surgery. This is something that I really don’t talk openly about except for on the video logs I’ve done.  I was always concerned what others might think. I feared they would think I took the easy way out. Trust me…surgery was my last resort. I hated the idea of it because I really wanted to lose the weight on my own. I figured that was only way my grandparents and other family and friends would be proud of me. Would they see me as a success if I got surgery? I put those thoughts aside and went to a weight loss surgery seminar and made an appointment with a surgeon.

I went through Grand Health Partners. My surgeon was Dr. Baker. He’s a wonderful doctor and I easily found faith in him. He was also my husband’s surgeon. He is a gifted pianist and also enjoys singing Southern gospel music. Knowing he plays piano gave me assurance that he has strong steady hands. Whether a person’s hands really are strong and steady from piano playing, I don’t really know. He also had a great bedside manner. We discussed the surgeries available and what might be best for me. I had gone in assuming I’d have the gastric bypass just like my husband. However, the doctor thought the gastric sleeve would be best for me. The seminar I attended was held in October and my surgery date was set for December 15, 2009. I was actually surprised by how quick it all came together.

Two weeks prior to the surgery, I had to start a liquid diet. Because of the way my body reacted to the sucralose in their products, I was able to have Carnation Instant Breakfast instead. I could also have broth if I wanted something warm. It was tough, but I did it. My day of surgery weight I believe was 356. I was scared and nervous going into surgery. My fear blocked any possible view of a future thinner and healthier me so I did not get excited like I’ve heard some people do.

The surgery went fine. I didn’t even need any drains which I was very grateful for. My stomach was reduced to the shape of a banana and thickness of a large highlighter. For two weeks following the surgery, I also had to do the liquid diet. I ended up getting Oral Thrush and was put on an antibiotic rinse. The surgeon’s office told me I could start on yogurt as that too would help with the thrush. Yogurt never tasted so good. And the first time I could have scrambled egg – heavenly. Best egg ever! I proceeded to lose weight and I started to feel better. I followed the rules of the tool. I had great loss for about 6 months and then it slowed. I also experienced hair loss during this time. That wasn’t so fun. I started a vitamin regimen of Biotin, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12 and a multi vitamin. I took them daily. After a while, I was able to get off my blood pressure meds as well as the Metformin I was on for insulin resistance. I was feeling good. I got down to a low of 253 lbs. And I felt great at that weight.

And then…some tough times started and sent me on a huge emotional rollercoaster. First, I found out my dad had lung cancer that metastasized to his brain. I found this out in October of 2011. I’m not sure how long he battled lung cancer without most of us knowing about it. He passed away on November 10, 2011. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how I’d take his death because we really weren’t all that close. There were some choices he made in life that were quite disappointing to me. I don’t like to say I hold grudges, but I was unhappy about it for a long time. I ended up taking his death quite hard. That’s because I felt an extreme amount of guilt. I should’ve made better effort while he was alive to visit, etc. I had questions for him that I was always too afraid to ask and now they’d forever be unanswered. It was a tough few months. I did gain some weight back.

Forward to March 2012; I received word that one of my best friends (who I thought of as a sister) had gone missing. This was March 6 to be exact. I was exercising to a Jillian Michaels DVD when I got the news. Jillian Michaels just happened to be one of her favorite celebrities. My husband went out to help search. I stayed home and was a nervous wreck and in tears. I kept praying that everything was okay. The next day I went to work. Later in the day, I was notified that her body was found in a nearby pond. She was gone. I cried and cried. Her death hit me particularly hard. She was my best female friend. I could converse with her about anything. The day they found her was also my daughter’s birthday. That made for a bittersweet day.  I have not, to this day, exercised to a Jillian Michaels DVD again.

Now it’s June 18, 2012. I go for a bike ride and while I’m out my husband calls to tell me our dog Chyna isn’t doing well and that we should take her to emergency. He comes to get me and we head to the emergency Vet. I had no idea that our night would end with her having to be put to sleep and having to bury her in our backyard. Our pets are like kids to us. So this was very tough as well. I cried several more tears.

I experienced quite a bit of loss over the course of 6 months. My depression got worse. I gained some more weight. After a while I was able to get back to exercising and I tried so hard by recording everything I ate in MyFitnessPal. I did a lot of bike riding and had worked up to being able to do 12 miles. That was a lot for me and I was proud of that. I ended up getting so obsessed with all of it. I entered some contests through YouTube, etc. My obsession got so bad that it caused stress. And I wasn’t losing any weight. I was gaining. I chose to back off on some of that stuff to reduce the stress. I wasn’t enjoying myself at all. And, with the scale going up, that just made things worse and my depression seemed to get worse and on top of that…anxiety.

I had my first anxiety/panic attack in the summer of 2012. It scared me because I had no idea what it was. I was shaking so bad, while my husband held me and tried to comfort me. I went on to have a few more attacks. The worst was in December of 2013. That landed me in the psych hospital. I’ll talk more about that adventure later.

I want to share the success story of mine that is on the Grand Health Partners website (link is below). I was proud that it made it on the site. However, now…I’m no longer 255 lbs. I’m actually around 306. I can’t help but feel like I’ve failed the surgery. However, I remind myself that despite all these hurdles and weight gain, I’m still not where I once was. I’m still down a good 100 lbs. I’d like to lose another 100. It’s not going to be easy. I’ve come to have a strong addiction to soda pop and chocolate.

My Success Story

I’ve written a lot here and if you’ve read it all, thank you! Bless you. I’m going to end with this…no matter which method you choose for weight loss, it’s a lot of damn work. Surgery is not an easy way out. I’m proof that if you don’t work it 100% and you’re not with it mentally/emotionally, it’s just not going to happen. You have to put effort in and be in the right frame of mind and emotionally healthy to achieve the greatest success with weight loss. And that’s what I’ve been working on for the last six months…healing my mind and getting my emotions under control.

I feel like I’m close.  Here’s to getting myself over these hurdles that life has thrown at me.

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3 Responses to Stepping Out of My Comfort Shell

  1. Cathy says:

    Excellent Dottie and I read every single word! You’ve been though a lot, but it will make you stronger! You are a strong woman…you just need to realize that! Hugs and prayers~ You can do this!!! ♥ Cathy

  2. Shea Carson says:

    You are SUCH a beautiful woman! You have overcome so much throughout these last few years, you should be very proud of yourself. Just take everything, one day at a time. xo

  3. ❤ you Dottie! You can do it! We're in this together 🙂

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