It was Thanksgiving 2013 and I was reflecting on my life. Perhaps it was because I had family in town and was thinking about all of the things I was grateful for, or maybe it was because I was tired of stuffing my face on all of the turkey and pies. Either way, I was thinking about my life and the way I had been living. I was killing myself. Earlier that year, I had been diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebri, which is a really fancy way of saying that I was so obese my body was producing way too much cerebral spinal fluid. That extra spinal fluid was pushing against my optic nerves, which could have eventually made me go blind. I was taking medication and would eventually have to get a shunt if it did not improve. This was all at the age of 25, weighing in at 360 pounds. I had always been overweight, just not this severe.
High school was hard for me. I was bullied really bad. I hated my life and at times I can’t believe I made it out alive. When I started putting on weight, I didn’t even notice. I was always the “big girl” so when I started gaining, I just assumed I was still that “big girl.” I gained 100 pounds in less than a year! My life was spiraling out of control and I was so young I didn’t even know who I was yet.
I was tired of living this life. I knew something had to change, but I didn’t know how. When you go so long being morbidly obese, your goals just start slipping farther and farther away. I had always told myself that I would never have bariatric surgery. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because I was scared. Bariatric surgery has such a negative stigma to it and to be honest, I didn’t know much about it. However, something changed that Thanksgiving and I decided to start doing research. I think I was at a point in my life where I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger. I wanted to start a family. I needed to get healthy for myself, for my husband, and for my future baby. I decided right then and there that I was going to have bariatric surgery.
The pre-op journey was nerve wracking, but exciting. For the first time in my life, I was confident that I was going to lose weight. When my surgery date arrived, I was ready. It was smoother than I thought it would be and I bounced back relatively fast. I was excited and couldn’t wait for my new life. The weight loss happened quick at first. I was on fire and felt unstoppable. My confidence improved every month and it was amazing to see how I was transforming, both physically and mentally. Every month I started feeling more like me. I started coming out of my shell, out of my depression, and I started living for the first time. At one year post op I found out I was pregnant with my now very healthy, happy two year old baby boy and it was a dream come true to finally be able to start my family.
The addiction to food was still there though, and I struggled some. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I realized I had a calling to help other people realize this before they failed. I now have a YouTube channel where I share both my successes and failures from this surgery. It has not been an easy journey, and that is something I don’t think I was quite mentally prepared for. My hope is that I can share my story to help those around the world who are searching for themselves and trying to take control of their life, just as I was trying to do 4 years ago.
I have come really far, with a total weight loss of 160 pounds. I am now in remission with Pseudotumor Cerebri and have not had issues in years. I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life. My current weight is 200 and I still have about 40 pounds to go until my goal weight. The next step on my journey will be to have skin removal surgeries. I strive every day to be a better version of myself and I am determined to finish what I started. I found myself on this journey and for the first time in my life, I feel like I can see clearly. Life is so beautiful and I am so grateful that I was given a second chance to live healthy and inspire those around me. NEVER, EVER GIVE UP! <3
“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”