In April of 2015, I went to a Boston Bruins game with my family. While we were there, staying at my mother’s house, I looked through her photo gallery and was so sad to find that out of five years of photos, I could not find a single one of myself that I liked. It made me think about where I was going in this life and in this body. Truthfully, I did not like it at all.
Shortly after getting back from Boston, I spent a lot of time talking with my family about my weight. I knew I did not feel good about myself, that I wasn’t happy in my body, and that I really needed to make a change so that I could start living.
We evaluated all the dieting options out there, a majority of which I had already tried. I knew that I could lose weight, but my problem was keeping it off and sticking to a plan. In the past I would lose upwards of 50 pounds then get tired of dieting or denying myself.
I had spent many years abusing my body with yo-yo dieting, eating disorders, and laziness. At 36, I had had two babies and watched my body completely change. I was at a point where nothing was really working long term.
I knew I needed long term change, so I started exploring weight loss surgery as a viable option. This would be a totally dramatic change for me and I was very cautious about it. I knew that some people viewed bariatric surgery as controversial, but I also knew that I was at a breaking point for myself.
I had to make a big change in order to be a healthy, contributing member of society again. After much thought, I made my first appointment with the Surgical Weight Loss team at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine.
There were many steps before surgery. It was a long process filled with ups and downs, including monthly meetings and appointments with my own doctor, along with trips to see a psychologist, dietitian, and the surgeon. I held my breath the day my insurance company told me that I had been approved for surgery!
My surgeon, Michelle Toder, MD, recommended that I get the Vertical Gastric Sleeve because she felt that it fit better with my lifestyle. Basically the surgical team removed a portion of your stomach, creating a sleeve about the length and size of a banana. There is no re-routing of your stomach or intestine like the more popular gastric bypass surgery.
Having the surgery is a major key to my success and weight loss; however, it is NOT the only key. For those of you thinking that I have taken the easy way out – I understand. But I have put in so much work to get to where I am today!
Since having surgery, I have exercised daily – running, taking fitness classes, and hopping on the treadmill. I have stuck to a low carb diet and sworn off soda and fried foods. Some days are more successful than others. Some days I make better choices than others.
This incredible journey has made me realize that I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to. This is not a journey about weight loss surgery. It is a journey about taking a weight loss tool and using it to better my life. It is a journey about realizing my potential and not minimizing it because I was trapped and uncomfortable in my own body for years.
On the morning of December 15, 2016, shortly after my sleeve procedure, I told my husband, who has been tremendously supportive of my journey, “Today I changed my life forever.” That statement has proven to be so very true.
Since the start of EMMC Weight Loss Surgery program, I have lost 119 pounds. I am moving every day, keeping up with my kids, and happy when I get dressed in the morning. I am still figuring out my limits and understanding my capabilities, continuing to push myself and exceeding my own expectations.
For all that I have lost – I have gained so much: confidence, grace, patience, and the knowledge that I am finally really living my life after all these years!