Being obese since I could eat baby food was my life prior to March 5, 2015. I had been on every imaginable diet and I even went to ‘fat’ camps throughout my life. I just accepted that I was supposed to be obese and I would die this way.
But at the end of January 2015, little did I know my life would be changing forever. It was a cold, winter night in January – Dad and I went to dinner together, which we were having regularly. But this dinner was different. It was early in the dinner and my Dad asked me if I would think about having bariatric surgery, in a fatherly way. I had not thought about having that surgery for years but within milliseconds I told him I would do it. He then said, “I can not imagine what it would be like to bury my daughter.” I got home that night and began researching what it would take to get this life-changing surgery.
I was approved to have the surgery very quickly and March 5, 2015 was my surgery with Dr. Michael Williams. Dr. Williams is not only a fantastic surgeon; he truly cares about his patients and has the warmest bedside manner. Dr. Williams is my hero and has provided me with a tool that gives me a ‘full switch’, which I never felt I had one before. The surgery is just that – a tool. It is important I stay on the entire program and surround myself with a team that holds me accountable to stay on track. The team includes a dietician, a therapist, my PCP and my surgeons (bariatric and plastic). It also includes living a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercising regularly, keeping my mind in the game, getting enough sleep, taking my vitamins daily, consuming the proper protein, staying hydrated, volunteering at Emory, mentoring bariatric patients and eating healthy. It is a full program that I have dedicated and committed my life to – this is extremely important for me to stay successful. I reached my goal weight July 2016 and lost 240 lbs.
I had 1 of 3 phases of plastic surgery to have the extra skin removed and I am scheduled to have surgery on November 29, 2016 for phase 2. Dr. Marisa Lawrence is my plastic surgeon and she has also changed my life forever. She is another surgeon that is extremely talented but also has an amazing, warm bedside manner. I feel like I am part of her family every time I visit her office. Both Drs. Williams and Lawrence have truly changed my life forever, which I am exceptionally grateful for.
This journey for me has been amazing yet so surreal. It has opened new doors for me that at one point in my life were unimaginable, including the ability to finish a 50K when I could not even walk a ¼ of a mile pre-bariatric surgery. I am loving life and enjoying the freedom of being healthy. I look forward to seeing what life has in store for me – the skies the limit!