Total Pounds Lost: 60
Procedure Received: VSG
This time last year I was grieving the loss of my mother after a two and half month battle with Covid. I was lost. I was numb and feeling like my life was out of control, and being the in-control person that I'm usually known as, it was something I didn't know how to change or fix. Over the course of several years, my weight had begun to creep up, pound by pound after quitting my full time desk job for a full-time job at home as a photographer. I thought surely, without the constant birthday cookies and cupcakes from all my coworkers supplied that I'd be able to maintain my weight. Sitting at 178 lbs in May 2018, I felt pretty good about where I was. I had been working out religiously for three years and felt strong and confident. But once I quit my job, I also quit working out and the weight slowly piled on. In early 2020, when Covid first hit, I was sitting at 191 lbs. I didn't look big in the mirror. I wore size 12-14 clothes, which I had worn most of my adult life. But the stress of Covid hit hard. I had two businesses that took a major hit with the shut downs of Covid. Keeping up trying to make ends meet caused me to stress and binge eat. The extra weight didn't seem like much at first, my face getting more round and clothes beginning to fit a little tighter. But by summer 2021, I was busy again with my business and the financial stress had eased a bit, which you'd think meant I'd have less binge eating. But it was the opposite. My days were consumed by fast food day and night. It was easier to grab a quick meal on the way home then take the time to cook when I got home. Before we realized it, our family was eating out at least four days a week. The days we didn't get fast food, were filled with fast-cook, throw in the oven pizzas, chicken nuggets and anything that didn't require me to actually cook. Then, in late August both my parents got sick with Covid. It seemed my dad was far worse than my mom, but within a week they were both so sick that they were taken by ambulance to the hospital. I was by my mom's side for a few seconds to bring her a few things from home and tell her through a mask that I loved her and that she'd be ok. It was the last time I ever heard my mom's voice again. For two and half months, I went into a depression so deep, I didn't know if I'd come out the other side. I ate when I felt alone and wanted to hear her voice. I ate when I got bad news from the doctors about her condition. I ate just to pass the time from day to day never knowing if or when I'd get the news I dreaded the most. When I finally got the call that she had lost her battle, the numbing feelings that took over me stayed for months. My mom was my rock. The one I told everything and now she was gone. In February 2022, a few days after her birthday, I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize who I had become. I stepped on the scale and was 206 lbs. The heaviest I'd ever been in my entire life, even outside of pregnancy. I had let myself go. It was at that point that I decided to do something about it. I didn't want my kids to go through the pain of losing me should something happen because my weight had been a factor. The biggest factor my mom had against her in her battle with Covid was her weight. She was 5'4'' and 285 lbs. She had been overweight my whole life. I never saw my mom thin except for one time she actually dropped 80 lbs. But within months, she put it back on. My dad was obese as well. In fact, my whole family struggled with weight. Even my husband was overweight. I was surrounded by food, bad choices, and genes working against me. So I decided to make a change. I had saved up exactly enough money to get my surgery. By April 2022, I had put my deposit down and made all the arrangements before telling my husband what I had done. I knew if I told him before, he'd talk me out of it. I'm an insanely independent person. I don't like being told what to do and this was no exception. There were only a handful of people I told. I didn't need the judgment or the questions I knew I'd get. I wasn't hugely overweight. I would get the "can't you lose weight by changing your diet?" "Just workout." "Try this diet, it worked for me." I largely ignored all my naysayers and the judgmental grievances. I was determined to do this no matter what. I had spent my life doing yo-yo diets, and working out till I bled with no results. It was frustrating beyond belief and I was tired of disappointment. I had dealt with disappointment with every pound I gained. This was for me and no one else. I boarded that plane to San Diego with confidence knowing that my life was going to change. Along the way, I met two of the best people in the world, my sleeve sisters, that stood over me as I cried in utter pain following surgery. They constantly checked on me and kept me going the whole time we were together. Even though we all live in different parts of the country, East, Central and West, we chat almost daily, encouraging each other, holding each other accountable, giving advice, crying, laughing, and being the kind of support for each other that only someone who has gone through this can understand. Without them, this would've been a very different kind of experience. Now, we've all passed the six month mark. We all still celebrate our weight loss, no matter how little or how much. We get excited about new clothes, new found energy, and the new found feeling we have about loving ourselves again. I can't speak for them, but I know that I owe so much to OCC and Dr. Ortiz. I got my life back. My mom might not be here with me, but I damn sure know she'll be proud of me. I finally feel good in my own skin. It's made me aware of so much about myself, what I'm capable of, how determined I am, that I'm a fighter and that I don't give up. Every day since my surgery has been one step towards growing to loving myself again and taking care of me because I'm worth it.