“My journey isn’t over yet. I still have a small ways to go to reach my goal weight, but I know without hesitation that I will get there.”
I started my weight loss journey on Aug. 14, 2018, the day I left my doctor’s office after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Just one more health issue and more pills to take amongst the myriad of other pharmaceuticals sitting on my nightstand.
On this day, two weeks before my 51st birthday, I weighed in at 291 pounds. I was 5-foot-3-inches tall with a BMI of over 51. This is considered “morbidly obese,” and I knew without a doubt that unless I made a change and committed to it, I was headed for an early death.
I suffered from Type 2 diabetes, high LDL cholesterol, sleep apnea, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), joint pain in my hips, knees, and ankles, pulmonary hypertension, anxiety, and depression. Plus, because of a previous pulmonary embolism — in part due to my immobility related to my weight — lifetime anti-coagulation.
Oregon Weight Loss Surgery
I heard about Oregon Weight Loss Surgery from a former co-worker and thought to myself, “I’m done!” I had tried every weight loss program out there, all with marginal to no success in the long term. Each time, I failed, I grew bigger and bigger.
I took the biggest leap of my life and applied to become a patient at OWLS. I immediately began making changes to my diet and moving more.
On Oct. 7, 2018 I had my first appointment with Dr. Emma Patterson. Weighing in at 277 (already 14 pounds down), I was excited to hear that my insurance would cover a part of the surgery and my out of pocket would be something I could manage. My insurance required a six-month documented weight loss plan with a 10% weight loss threshold — to show my commitment.
By the time I reached my 6 months and had completed monthly check-ins with the OWLS team, I had lost much greater than the 10% and was more committed than ever to lifelong change. I had nobody to blame but myself for where I was, but I was also in charge and had the ultimate power to change where I wanted to be.
On April 1, 2019, weighing in that morning at 247 pounds, Dr. Avishai Meyer performed my vertical sleeve gastrectomy.
I’m not going to lie and say it’s been an easy weight loss journey. There is a lot of adjustment and a bit of a learning curve following surgery as you adjust to your new norms.
And everyone’s journey is unique. But I can honestly and without hesitation say it is all worth it! I am now (Oct. 1, 2019) exactly six months post-surgery and so proud of how far I’ve come. Today, I am down a total of 119 pounds since starting this journey and down 75 pounds since surgery.
My journey isn’t over yet. I still have a small ways to go to reach my goal weight, but I know without hesitation that I will get there. My BMI today is 30.1, but soon I will be under 30 and no longer considered “obese.” My ultimate goal, of course, is “normal” with a BMI of 25.
As for all my ailments, I no longer need my CPAP machine, no more prescriptions for diabetes, high LDL, anxiety, depression, or GERD. I no longer have pain in my hips, knee, and ankles when I walk, and I can actually breathe without the extra 100-plus pounds I was carrying on my back every day. The only pills I take now are my daily vitamins and my anticoagulation medicine (lifelong).
I will be forever grateful to the team at OWLS and specifically Dr. Meyer. The support provided and ongoing encouragement as I move through this journey has been more than I could have ever asked for.
I am today the incredible shrinking woman. Down from a size 22 to a current-day 8/10. I am half the woman I used to be and twice as dynamically amazing.