Well I have always been larger then most. Growing up, I wouldn't say I was fat, but as a child I was always chubbier then most kids my own age. In high school, I was in with the "in crowd", but again I was chubbier then my girlfriends....they were all wearing a 9/10 and I was wearing a 13/14.
Upon graduating from high school, I decdied to join the military....was dream was to join the Marine Corps (as both my parents had been Marines), but I was 17 pounds overweight, and too anxious to take the time to work and lose the weight to get in. So I joined the US Navy, where I was also 17 pounds overweight, but they also tracked your bodyfat %, and I was only 2% over......they knew I would drop that in bootcamp. They were completely right!! Not only did I get under their required body fat limit....I also dropped 32 pounds in 8 weeks. I went from a size 13 to a size 9. I ate 3 meals a day, something I never did proir to joining the Navy, but I also ate anything and everything they would give me through the chow line. This was an eye opening experience for me......hmmm, I could eat healthy and not starve myself, aslong as I had a rigorous exercise routine in place!!! My entire 3 years in the Navy, I stayed very trim, I didnt always exercise like I should have, but none the less I was very happy with myself and the direction my life was going. I had a great job, lived on my own, felt great, looked even better, and just felt as if nothing could stop me.
I met my husband while I was on active duty in San Diego. He was stationed on board an aircraft carrier, and I in a helicopter squadron. I have never been one to believe in love at first sight or in destiny. Well I swear the night I met Scott, I just knew he was the one......just an odd feeling of complete and utter excitement and companionship. I soon moved out of the barrracks and into an apartment with my old roommate. Within a week Scott moved in, and thinsg were great! Where I began slipping in my healthy way of life is that I no longer ate at the Navy chow halls....where healthy (now I didn't say it always tasted good) food was prepared for us; but now I had to cook for myself and Scott. We would always cook big savory meals on the weekends, and try to save some for the week. We never paid much attention to fat intake, sugars, carbs, or even how we cooked. We just knew we were very in love, and wanted to enjoy life and each other in any and every way possible.
Within a year I was pregnant, and had decided to get out of the Navy, so I could raise our son, Derek and be with Scott. We got married in Dec 1991, and we both got out of the Navy between Jan and Feb 1992. During my pregnancy, I gained a tremendous amount of weight...78 huge pounds...I went from weighing 165 to 243. Upon having him, I went back down to 220 within weeks. I was just very lax, didnt eat properly or workout at all. I was totally overwhelmed with my new life.....the new baby and a terrible feeling of being unable to help provide for our family. Leaving the Navy and having a new baby all within 6 months was almost to much for me to bear...I felt as if I had no direction in my life other then to be a mom (which wasnt a bad thing, but I wanted to be an active part in the livelihood of our family) and a wife. We struggled financially for 5 years - the stress and depression took its toll, I balloned back up to 245. I worked off and on during those years, but I usually always quit, due to sitter problems or just plain having no self confidence (Which I had lost 50-60 pounds ago). I always felt people were looking at me weird, talking about me, or laughing at me. I much preferred to stay at home in my house....which only lead to a deeper financial struggle, a deeper depression, and eating way more then I need to!!!
After 5 years of being out of the Navy, my husband re-joined. It took a lot of talking, and begging and pleading on my part......Scott has never "liked" the Navy, it has always been something he has needed to do, as it still is this very day. His first set of orders sent us to a Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy. It was fabulous, awesome, exciting, beautiful...all the above and more!! Of course so wasnt the food. I was still very overweight and very much lacking in the self esteem/confidence department. So over our 3 years of being there I ballooned, yet again...this time to around 260 or so. While in Sicily I gave birth to our daughter Danielle in Jan 1998. During my pregnancy I only gained 23 pounds, which was great, lord knows I didnt need to be gaining any more!! Well, then during our last year of the 3 we were ordered there, my then 7 y/o son was injured badly. He was poked in the eye my a piece of barbed wire that had been cut while under tension. He said it felt as tho it had just touched his eye when he was hit by the wire. The Navy and Italian doctors treated him and moved us to San Diego (that is where Balboa Hospital is, it is one of the Navy's best Medical facilities) as soon as they could. Through the graces of god and the abilites and expertise of the many doctors my son saw, they were able to save his eye. He did lose his natural lens which was crushed by the barbed wire and left him with no sight in tha eye, but the Navy doctors in San Diego were able to implant an artificial lens successfully, and today he still has 20/30 vision.
Whilemin San Diego a good friend of mine and I started researching WLS. We read all we could find back then (early 2001) on the internet, and attended a few local support group meeting where we made some very good friends who had already gone through the operation. After a few months or meetings and reading all we could find, we attened an information seminar at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. We both felt at that time that WLS was definately a tool that we would benefit from. So we started the long process....all the filing of medical records and pre-op tesing and classes. Well right in the middle of all the pre-op stuff, my husband had gotten new orders.......this time we were headed to northern Japan, to Misawa Air Force base. We had only 4 months to prepare and leave. So my WLS was now a dream, that would long carry with me!!!
My entire time in Japan, I played with my weight. I say that because I so loved the food there yakisoba,yakiniku, ramen, qyoza, and especially SUSHI!!!!!!!!!! I would stick to Atkins for a month or so and lose 20+ pounds, and then fall off the wagon again, and again. At one point I even got a personal trainer, who was awesome and very motivating! Well, my addictaion to food won, once again.
We came back to the USA in Nov 2004, and we moved here to Virginia in Jan 2005. I became, once again very serious about my health, my weight and my strong desire to lose weight around March 2005. I once again plunged head strong into Atkins......and did very well with it. I was woking a this point, and was able to stick to the plan for 3 months, in which time I lost 36 pounds. Not only did I feel great, and felt proud, but for once people were actually starting to see the difference....which that in itself as Im sure most of you know was totally motivating!! Well with me feeling so good all the time both physically and mentally, we started going out...I mean ALOT! Well the drinking and late nights totally caught up with me........I found more and more that I was making terrible food choices. Til one day I was no longer following a low carb lifestyle. Since then I have gained the weight back and then some. Thus pushing me once again back into my destiny of WLS.
I started my WLS journey this time around, in late 2005. Only to find that Portsmouth Naval Hospital had a very long wait list. So I shied away from it again. Not just becuase of the long wait time, but also because my husband wasnt totally on board with the idea. I then met my good friend Ginia, who happens to be an OR nurse at a local hospital here in Norfolk. I was telling her that I was looking into WLS again, but was trying to determine the best way about it for myself. She suggested I meet with Dr Mark Fontana. She said she had worked with him for the past year, give or take. That she assisted him on a regular basis in the OR as he performed his weight loss procedures. She had said she highly recommended any of the doctors from Norfolk Surgical Group, but that is she herself was having it done she would definately choose Dr Fontana. So with her recommendation and once again lots of soul searching, I headed over to Norfolk Surgical Group and began my WLS journey once again.
I met with Dr Fontana on Oct 23, 2006. Was given my list of pre-op appointments and classes. Completed most all by Nov 9th.
On the afternoon of Nov 9th (after having jus completed my psych eval, literally minutes prior) I recieved a call from the nurse at NSG (Norfolk Surgically Group). She said my preop ultrasound showed I had large abdominal mass, that they believed was GYN related. This was a total shocker...I had no pain or any symptoms of any kind!!!!! I was scared and mad all in the same breath! How could this be happening to me, no, when I was just feeling as if I was taking charge of my life for once in many years! One week to the day later, I get a call again from NSG, this time I am informed that my EKG found that I had a slight arrhythmia! Wonderful, now I am freaking!!! So I set up my appointments with the GYN and a cardiologist.
The cardiologist found nothing at all wrong.....she said that if you hiccup or inhale to long during an EKG that it can show an arrhythmia. She gave my heart a 100% clean bill of health!! YEAH!!!
The Gyn on the other hand was not so easily completed. I saw my GYN and he determined through ultrasound that it was a cyst and not a solid mass. Whewwww, the chances of a cyst being cancerous are tremendously lower then a solid mass. Well because the cyst was so large (the ultrasound estimated it to be the size of a football and have at least a gallon of fluid in it) he refused to treat me and referred me to a GYN Oncologist, just to be safe, in case my cyst did turn out to be cancerous. Well with it being holiday time I could not get an operation date until Jan 2nd 2007.
Things went as planned during the operation. The cyst was attached my ovary, he was able to save my ovary and fully remove the cyst which turned oyt to be non-cancerous!!! He said he moved about 1.5 cups more then a gallon of fluid from the cyst, and that he had never seen a cyst that large!!! He said I would need 6 weeks before he could release me for surgery with NSG.
So here I am today......I finally got my letter from the Oncologist office (only took 2.5 damn weeks). So as of 2/27/07 my paperwork has been filed with Tricare standard......hopefully I should hear back within a week and then can turn it over to scheduling to hopefully get me a surgery date in early May. ****Fingers Crossed*****