All my life I have been on the heavier side. From the time I was a young girl, I would turn to food to deal with my emotions. I would turn to food when I was happy or sad or angry. Food was my comfort and quickly turned into my demon. Over the years, I knew my weight was getting out of control, but I was terrified to face the scale—so I didn’t. Until one night when my curiosity set in. I stepped on the scale, and the number I saw had me in disbelief—500 pounds!
Total Weight Loss: 260 pounds
Surgery Type: Duodenal Switch
Surgery Date: 2/20/2017
Surgeon: Dr. Michael Blaney
Why I Decided to Have Weight Loss Surgery
I will never forget that night. The night I realized I had a problem that needed to be addressed head on. Stepping on the scale had me shocked. I remember falling to my knees in sadness and pure disbelief. How could I let my eating get so out of control that I was slowly killing myself? I was so disappointed in where I had let myself get.
Aside from my weight skyrocketing to a level I never thought imaginable, my health was declining fast. At the age of 41, I had to face my reality—that if I continued on this path of unhealthy living I was going to die. Due to my weight, I was a type 2 diabetic, I had high blood pressure, and edema. I also experienced severe joint pain, to the point where walking more than a few yards was painful. What was a short distance to most people had me sweating and out of breath.
I knew I couldn’t continue my current way of living nor could I do it alone—so I sought help.
Starting my Journey at Live Healthy MD
I started my journey by first researching my options. When I realized that surgery was really the onlyoption for me to gain my life back, I was terrified. Like any person, I didn’t want to have to go under the knife but I knew it was the only way for me to lose this weight and ultimately keep it off.
Originally, I had set up a consultation with a surgeon in Macon, Georgia but due to the severity of my weight and the complications that may have followed, he didn’t feel comfortable performing my operation. At the time I was very upset and felt quite defeated. But that put me on the right path to find Live Healthy MD.
At the consultation, Dr. Blaney spoke with me about the duodenal switch. He said it was the least commonly performed procedure—which explained why I had never heard about it—but he also said it had the best results. After talking it through, we decided this was the best option for me to lose this weight and regain my health. And 5 months later, I was scheduled for surgery!
My Surgery Experience
After 2 weeks of liquid dieting and many, many prayers, my surgery day finally rolled around. I know not going to lie, I was scared to death. (But not as scared as I was if I continued to live like I had been).
Within a few hours, I was out of the operating room. My surgery went amazing! I didn’t have any complications or pain. This was the beginning of the new me and I was so ready to begin this journey!
Life After Surgery
A few weeks after surgery was when it all set in for me. I realized that having the surgery and starting to see the weight loss wasn’t the cure-all to my problems. It soon became evident that my emotions were not caused solely by my weight but by my mind as well.
I remember crying because I couldn’t eat what I wanted and feeling like a failure for having to have that surgery. I was an emotional wreck for a good 6 weeks after surgery.
But I finally looked myself in the mirror one day and told myself to “grow up”. I was a big girl and I needed to handle this like an adult. In the past, I ignored my problems by eating. I suppressed my feelings and my emotions with food. And that is what led me to weigh 500 pounds.
I knew if I wanted to be successful with my weight loss and if I wanted to be healthier, I had to drop those old habits and create new ones—ones that involved facing my demons instead of hiding behind food. The following months were a rollercoaster for me but those months were critical in my growth. Today I can say I am much stronger than I was years ago.
My Non-Scale Victories
There were many wonderful things that came from me having the duodenal switch surgery and losing this weight. But I would say the best is me becoming more independent.
I was in my forties when I began this journey. I was a woman who thought I was grown, yet I had nothing to compare it to. It wasn’t until I lost my weight that I was able to begin doing things by myself. Little things like tying my shoes or putting lotion on my legs—these are my non-scale victories.
Also, as a result of losing my weight, I no longer have joint pain and walking is not as much of a burden as it used to be!
My Advice to Future Patients
During my weight loss journey, I had to remind myself that this was my journey and no one else’s. It can be easy to get caught up in self-loathing behavior because you are losing weight slower than others or you have more loose skin than others. It is important to not compare your journey to any one else’s. We are all so different.
I also want to remind everyone to keep their faith. The road can get bumpy and there will be some sharp curves, but it is important to remember that the end is so worth it—a view you won’t want to miss!
I am eternally grateful for Live Healthy MD, Dr. Blaney and the entire staff for giving me my life back. I couldn’t have made it this far without my tool. This is my second chance at life and I'm enjoying it to the fullest!