My story? It will probably sound pretty familiar to a lot of you. I've been overweight for as long as I can remember. I think around age 6-7 is when I started putting on extra pounds. I noticed but my mom said to not worry, I would grow out of it. So I went on with my life as a happy child until the 5th grade, which would have been about age 11. I remember one particular incident like it was yesterday because it marked the beginning of how I defined myself up to this very day. I was at school at recess one day and some kids talked me into getting into this rope jungle gym thing that I had never been on before. I got in ok, you had to go through a hole in the very bottom and then climb up the sides. Everything was fine until the bell rang, and I couldn't get out of it. Some of the kids just flipped over the sides, well I knew I couldn't do that plus I was scared to. So I had to go back through the hole in the bottom. One problem, I didn't fit. All the kids were laughing while I tried desperately to squeeze myself through that little hole. Before I knew it the playground was empty except for me and one other girl, her name was Katie (bless her soul, she stayed with me). I finally managed to get through the hole and we ran inside just in time before the second bell rang. But everyone in my class was laughing and pointing at me because by then I was bright red and sweaty from the exertion of trying to get out of that thing. That was the first day I can remember telling myself "you're fat, you're ugly, you're different" and that is how I was defined, by myself and others, for many many years.
Junior high was an absolute nightmare. But I had one really good friend and we kind of stuck together and endured the endless whispering and snickering of the "popular" crowd. We didn't have a lot of money so needless to say I couldn't wear the lastest "trend" and I was hard to fit so I had to wear whatever I could find that fit me, yet another reason to be made fun of. And to add insult to injury when I was a child I was given tetracycline (medication) and it caused a permanent brown stain on my front teeth, you can just imagine the hey day the other kids had with that. And then my best friend moved away to a remote island (they were missionaries) at the end of our 8th grade year. I was devastated and 9th grade was almost unbearable. By the end of that year, I had been diagnosed with clinical depression and put on prozac...but my mom didn't give it to me because she was scared of the side effects. And to make matters even worse, we were moving to another state which meant walking into a new school where everybody knows the new kid is always scrutinized. So here I am, 15 yrs. old, noticibly overweight with this brown stain on my front teeth walking into a brand new school where I discovered very quickly all they care about is sports and cheerleading. If you weren't a jock or cheerleader then you didn't exist. Once in my English class I took a zero on a project because I just couldn't bear getting up in front of the class, which consisted of THE most popular kids in school, and doing an oral report. But thankfully I was a band geek and this school had a very reputable band and I made some good friends there, so it wasn't a complete nightmare. In the 11th grade I finally got porcelain bonding on my front teeth to cover the stain, so I gained some confidence after that. My senior year we moved back to our hometown and I got to graduate with my original class. I was shocked when I started school and saw how much everyone had changed and also that I just didn't care what or who they talked about. By that time I had become comfortable with who I was. I was maintaining my weight, still overweight but no longer gaining. I had my first real boyfriend at the age of 17, he was 23. I broke it off after only about 3 months because I just wasn't ready for THAT kind of relationship. Looking back, he really was a good and decent person that truly cared about me, I was just too immature to see it. Anyway, after high school I received a scholarship to attend UCA (University of Central Arkansas) so I moved on campus there and began classes. It didn't take long for those old feelings of inferiority and insecurity to come back to haunt me. I hid out in my room when I wasn't in class. I lasted 2 months before quitting and coming home. I went to work and enrolled in our local University the following semester.
I found God my second semester of college. I attended a revival with a friend and was saved and I began to build my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Pretty much throughout my first 3 yrs. of college all I did was work and go to class. I didn't party, I didn't blow my money, I worked full time and went to school full time, that didn't leave much time for anything else. I met the man who is now my husband of 8 yrs. during my final semester of college. It was an instant connection, there was no doubt that we were meant to be together. He was active duty Army and so when he was sent to another post, I followed him there and we got married. Exactly one year later, on our first anniversary, we had our first daughter. One year after that we were sent to Hawaii where we lived for nearly 3 yrs. I had our second daughter while there. We decided to retire about halfway through that pregnancy. Iraq was heating up, he knew his unit had already been tasked to deploy there. He wanted to go with his soldiers, they were his, he had trained them...but he didn't want to leave me a widow with two young children. He had 23 yrs. at that point and he decided it was time to devote his time to his family. The Army was good to him, to us, and we sincerely miss it. He is now a police officer with our local department and loving it.
During a long deployment in Hawaii, I started putting on weight again. I gained over 30 lbs. in a 7 month time frame. After my second daughter, I continued to gain. Now, I am roughly 60 lbs. heavier than I was when I got married. I know it is just a matter of time before all those weight related conditions catch up to me. As it is, I'm out of breath and sweating just from trying to squeeze myself into my clothes. No amount of dieting is going to work for me. So I've decided to make a life style change by having WLS. I have two beautiful children who need their mother and they deserve a happy, healthy mother. My husband supports me 100%, even though he says he loves me no matter what. I love him for that. But I need to do this for me, to take some control and responsibility for my life and for those lives that I'm responsible for. My children love me no matter what, but I don't want to be the fat mommy anymore. I just want to be me, the me I've always wanted to be but was too afraid to be. I will no longer allow food and my weight to control my life. So my journey begins and now you know My Story.