A true transformation!
"Emotionally, I felt like a total failure because I had allowed myself to get so heavy".
"Even as a child I struggled with food addiction and being over weight. My mother continually tried to monitor my food intake ... thus the beginning of my food-sneaking career. I would get up in the night and binge eat. I gained literally hundreds of pounds by the refrigerator light. I was able to diet and lose weight but would just gain it all back plus ten or twenty pounds.
I finally just threw my arms in the air and gave up. From that point on it was a steady weight gain to my highest weight of 350 pounds. At this weight, I struggled to even walk and was consumed with back, hip, and knee and foot pain. It was all I could do to pull myself up from my chair in the evening to take care of my family. More and more of the household chores began to fall on my sons¹ shoulders. Getting up and down the stairs became too hard for me and they took over doing the laundry. Little by little, I lost much of my mobility and my ability to join in family outings disappeared.
I couldn¹t keep up with the kids or my husband. I couldn¹t do the things I used to enjoy doing. The humiliation of being two hundred pounds over weight was taking its toll in my life. I couldn¹t fit in a restaurant booth, I had to get off of an amusement park ride because the seat belt wouldn¹t fit around me, I had to stand during a meeting at the school because I couldn¹t fit in a desk, I broke two different chairs in front of a group of people.
Emotionally, I felt like a total failure because I had allowed myself to get so heavy. The more I worried about it, the more weight I gained. I just had no energy and I had become a grouchy old woman. I work in an elementary school and the children drove me crazy. Every movement I made caused me tremendous pain and it all showed in my attitude. My size had become an embarrassment not only to me but also to my husband and sons. And then there was toll my weight was taking on my health.
About four years ago, I went to my hometown doctor and was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I had a terrible time accepting the fact that I was diabetic and knew that I had reached my bottom. I had to do something about my weight and decided to have weight loss surgery. I knew a man who had gone to Dr. Johnell at North Colorado Medical Center, so I gave him a call. It has been all-uphill since I made that call. I had my gastric band surgery in May 2003 and would do it again in a New York second!
My ³Incredible Journey² began as the weight started coming off. My self-esteem is at an all time high and I am a changed woman! One of the new joys I am experiencing is the return of my mobility! I can walk, I can jog and I can run! My children used to say the only time they had ever seen their momma run was if a cow was chasing her!
I have gotten to live out a lifetime dream. I followed the National Pony Express reride each year for the last 20 years. Due to my obesity, I was not able to ride but I always went with my late father on the re ride. Two years ago, I rode my dad¹s old route, on my dad¹s old horse and I wore his shirt and his neckerchief. What a thrill for me! He would have been ever so proud of my weight loss and the fact that I rode his old route. I truly do not have adequate words to describe the changes physically and mentally that the weight loss has brought about in my life. I am just ecstatic to be able to run to get tools for my husband or to be able to keep up with him unloading and stacking hay bales. Activities that most people take for granted are now amazing feats for me.
Being able to climb up a corral fence, jumping off of a trailer, being in the saddle for eight hours, working cattle, mowing the yard, riding my trusty steed just for the joy of it, walking with my friend Cathy on her ranch, and spending time with my husband are just a few of the physical activities that I enjoy doing now. I was even able to go bear hunting with my brother and took some truly awesome photographs of the bear! It was like a miracle to be able to hike up and down the mountains without huffing and puffing and feeling like I was going to have a heart attack!
The physical changes are wonderful but I am most grateful for the emotional changes. I feel like I am a different woman! It is truly a joy today to be able to enjoy the school children doing the same things that used to make me so crazy. I now laugh from the bottom of my heart and enjoy them for who they are. My relationship with my husband has also changed for the better. I no longer feel like I am an embarrassment to him. We are equals now and treat each other with dignity and respect. I look forward to our years of retirement together. I am so thrilled to be half the woman I used to be!
Please don¹t get me wrong; the band is not a magical cure for my eating disorder! The gastric band is a wonderful tool that I use to keep my food addiction in check. I have an addictive personality and have bounced from one addiction to another. My husband and I got clean and sober on Sept. 12, 1982. Neither of us has taken a drink or used a drug since then. We regularly attend 12 Step meetings and carry the message to other suffering alcoholic/addicts. I quit smoking on Sept. 6, 2005 and Roy had his last cigarette on Feb. 2, 2007.
I look at both of us as miracles. Our Higher Power that we choose to call God has blessed us both and we have an attitude of gratitude for all the things he has given us.