The Journey . . . so far on March 21, 2009 4:08 am
My story is so much like many others. I was of normal weight through grade school and middle school. I matured faster than other girls and was self-conscious. In 5th grade I was 5'6" and wore a size 8. I felt huge compared to girls who had not reached their full height, but in reality I was fully grown. I wanted to run track, and was pretty good, but my parents refused because I was a girl and girls don't run--I am sure you can see where this is headed. Without an outlet for exercise, my weight increased in high school. I fought to remain at a 12, but the battle was raging.
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When I went to college, I chose the dorm farthest from campus and walked back and forth at every opportunity. I managed to stay between a 10 and 12 in college due to all the walking I build into my schedule, but I was watching every bite that entered my mouth. I was constantly battling the bulge.
After college I joined an inner city ministry in Chicago. This changed my exercise routine greatly. I also was very busy with teaching full-time and adding many other activities to my evenings and weekends, my weight started blossoming--size 14, size 16, size 18...I joined the Y and began exercising and weight training. My weight came back down to a size 12. Then I decided to move to another community, there was no Y; I no longer had roommates. The weight came back on--by the time I married later that year, I was back up to a size 16.
After marriage, my husband desperately wanted me to lose weight, but he did not want to pay for a place for me to exercise, so the weight continued to increase--size 18, size 20. We wanted to have children, but could not. The Dr. suggested that some weight loss might be helpful, but it was not a guarantee. DH decided that although he would not pay for a health club, he would pay for Weight Watchers. I lost a minimum amount of weight, but we did conceive.
Since were now much older--I was 32 and my husband was 39, we decided that we would have our family as quickly as possible. Our daughter was born in April 1998, a son in July 1999, a son in January 2001 and a final son in April 2002. My body did not have an opportunity to lose between--by the time our youngest was born I weighed 280 lbs and wore a size 22. We moved to a smaller town. I was home with our children now, and could exercise daily. I pushed our triplet stroller all over town. I gardened and triple dug my own gardens, painted our house, and supervised the house's roof. I was very active, but the weight would not move. I joined Weight Watchers. I lost 15 to 20 lbs. No matter how active I was, the weight did not come off.
Meanwhile my husband went through a mid-life crisis--the great depression. He lost his job, decided to stay home with our children--a job I hadn't decided to give up and just parked himself at home. After several months of using our savings to pay for our cobra insurance, and managing our finances with no money coming in, I finally decided to get a teaching job, if one could be found. Gratefully, in January of 2003 I was able to start teaching at a Charter school in the town where we lived. I didn't make much, but I had a job and insurance for my family.
I went from being cared for by an overbearing husband who tried to control me, to having a husband who didn't care what happened. It was a very stressful time for me. I had to learn how to become the bread winner in our family. My husband went from making all decisions--obviously some not in my best interest, to making none, but still without interest in me.
Fortunately, I had been an inner city special education teacher. I knew how to support myself. I knew how to make tough decisions, and I kicked it in gear. I decided to sell our home, and buy a less expensive home in a small town to the north. My husband during all of this time was completely self-involved and all too unhappy to remain at home. I noticed that my children were not fairing well at home with their depressed daddy so, I decide to remove them from his care and place them in daycare during the day—a costly but necessary decision. Meanwhile, as I am caring for everyone else, my weight stays up--250-270 lbs. I walk some; I work at Weight Watchers, but I don't seem to lose weight no matter what I do, but quite frankly I don’t have the time I had in the past to work out.
One year after moving I change jobs and begin working at our local high school. What a blessing! The staff, the students, the pay--everything has been so awesome! It came at a time that our family needed it. But the weight did not move.
Finally, something gives with my husband. His father passes away, which is devastating to him. But it finally breaks the dam. He decides that he needs to do something--I am desperate for him to do something. He checks into a treatment center for 3 months. We see him on weekends. When he gets out, he gets a good job, and has been working ever since. Things are much better, although the depression will be with us always.
I still have my weight to contend with-- I walk 3-4 miles daily and just remain a fit , fat looking woman. I lose hope and stop exercising. Of course, the weight doesn't move. Finally, in 2008, I decide to begin looking at weight surgeries. I had just heard about the lap band. I knew the RNY would not be a good fit for me. I did some research on-line and had decided on the MMPC practice with Kemmeter, Foote, and Baker because of their excellent ratings and surgery outcomes. I made an appointment for my informational meeting and met Dr. Kemmeter. I liked him already--I read 3 of 4 research articles he co-wrote with others. After the presentation, I was convinced me that he would be my surgeon and that after more research it was very likely that I would pursue the duodenal switch. That appointment was in March or April of 2008. By July 24th I had jumped through all the necessary hoops, and had the surgery which changed my weight forever.
Some discuss that their life changed forever when they had weight loss surgery. Mine has not--I still have four children; I work full time. My life is crazy with all of my responsibilities. My husband still struggles with depression and ADD. Two of my four children have ADD, though it is not a struggle, we just work strategies to assist them. They are very good students. My weight has changed. I have more energy. I am healthier. My faith is still what sustains me in difficult times. Having the duodenal switch has been a good decision, but I did not get a life transplant because of it. I did not want a life transplant either, which may be why it doesn't seem that way to me. Life is full of problems and situations where I may not get exactly what I want. I hope that my focus is on making the best of each situation with a view of pursuing what's best for everyone in my family, and not just myself.