MY LIFE AS I HAD ALWAYS IMAGINED
A guest article by Carolyn Almy…. an amazing inspiration to us all!
I guess you can say that I never gave up on losing weight. I had been overweight since I was eight years old. I became morbidly obese in my 20’s. At the age of 55, I weighed 285 pounds. I was a wreck. I was on medications for high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, acid reflux and high cholesterol. I was pre-diabetic and had several trips to the ER for chest pains. I guess at 55, with my youngest child graduating from high school, I had had enough. I decided that it was my time to take my life under control. That is when I made the decision to have Gastric Bypass surgery. The best decision that I have ever made. The decision that helped me change my life.
I had missed out on years of opportunities to participate in activities with my friends, husband and children. Opportunities to ride all the rides at an amusement park because I was too large to fit in the ride itself. Opportunities to hike our beautiful glens, gorges and waterfalls that our area has so many to offer. Opportunities to just get outside and enjoy the day because the weather was too hot, and I would sweat like crazy from obesity. Not to mention, all the times I did attend events and felt so ashamed of who I was, because I was the fattest person in the room. Being obese was a job in itself. The mental part of it is so consuming. Constantly thinking about losing weight, which diet I should try this week, what people think/say about me and worst of all, what I thought of me!
I had always imagined that one day, I would be beautiful, intelligent, kind, and thin. The problem being, that I was all of those things except that I was fat. I had to accept the fact that I was who I wanted to be in all aspects except one. I could not accept my body and decided to change that. I wanted to reinvent myself physically in order to accept the entire package. That is when, after much research, I found the best bariatric program in my area. I found confidence through that bariatric program. I finally asked for the help that I needed, and got that help from friends, family and my bariatric support family. lt took so much courage (I had never considered myself courageous) to ask for help, and even more courage to admit to myself that I was, and always will be, a food addict.
July 8, 2013, was the first day of my reinvention. That was my first visit to the UHS Bariatric program. I had my intake with our wonderful psychologist Mickey (although she is strict beyond words, she has become my rock and my friend). I promised myself that when I walked through the doors of her office, that I would NEVER look back again. I would only look forward to my new self. I went through 3 months of losing the much dreaded 5% required for the surgery (I was required to lose 14 pounds and actually lost 42), meeting with the nutritionist (who, like Mickey is so strict, but has also become my rock), countless support group meetings and meetings with my surgeon. As grueling as it sounds, I actually enjoyed all of this. It made me feel great about changing. I already felt like a new person. It helped me deal with the people who doubted that this was the right choice for me. That is when I decided right then and there that I would do this MY WAY, and didn’t owe ANYONE an explanation as to why I was opting to have weight loss surgery. This was MY time to shine…..My choice!
I had my surgery on September 12, 2013. I can’t say that it was smooth sailing. I did have a complication. One that can happen with ANY surgery. I was bleeding out and had to have a second emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. Please don’t let this discourage you from having this surgery. It can happen in any surgery at any time. There is always a warning on every surgical form that I have ever signed pre-surgery. It just happened to me. My recovery was a couple weeks longer than the usual, but I recovered well. It was tough going for the first couple of weeks. Like most bariatric surgical patients, you get those days when you wonder…what the heck did I do. That passes, and you get into your routine.
So, here I am, writing about my journey in June of 2015. I can’t tell you how much my life has change. I can find, not one negative aspect to having this surgery. NOT ONE! I am truly living my life as I had always imagined. I have achieved that one thing that I was lacking…I am thin. Actually I am 156 pounds thinner. I have gone from 282 lbs (July 8 2013) to 126 pounds. I wear a size 4/6, and am off all of my medications. I am healthier, happier and more active than I have ever been in my life.
Since my weight loss I have gone to Universal Studios and Disneyworld. I have ridden EVERY ride in those parks and have lots of room to spare in the seats. I have hiked trails that have been more challenging that I ever thought that I could possibly handle. I walk into events, stores and meetings with confidence knowing that I am the person that I have always imagined that I could be. I can also say that I am a runner (who would have thought). I am being kind and true to myself first. I am a better wife, mother and friend because I take care of me. I don’t have those nagging fat girl conversations in my head that I had for so many wasted years. I am not invincible, but I know that I have done everything that I could do to try to prevent the diseases that I was headed for at an early age. I still may die of one of those diseases (something’s gonna get ya in the end anyway), but I know that I’ve done my part to try to prevent them for as long as I can, AND live a better quality of life while I’m still young enough.
I hope that you find inspiration in my story. I love to share my journey and hope that this helps you make the decision to become the healthiest person that you could possibly be. I thank my friend Tonya for giving me the opportunity to share my story. She is truly an inspiration, and has so much to offer you with her website. Please don’t let your weight get in the way of living the life you have always imagined that you could live.