My Coffee Cup is almost empty and the two hours that I allow myself in the morning to wake up, browse the internet and figure out what I want to write about for the day is almost over and as usual I’ve been influenced by a few things. But the pressing thought on my mind this morning is…

The changes in my overall health after losing 250 lbs…

I spent a lot of time in hospitals in my twenties. I can recall being hospitalized for breathing problems that they labeled asthma before I was even twenty-one. Before twenty-three I was diabetic, taking insulin, Glucophage and Avandia and was hospitalized for high blood sugar several times. Then there was the bronchitis turned pneumonia that landed me in the Intensive Care Unit at twenty-four. That was fun; I ended up on oxygen for months. There were sleep studies and sleep apnea and c-pap machines. And that was all before I had even met Jason and moved to Oregon at twenty-six.

I was such a sickly person. There was always SOMETHING wrong with me. I hadn’t even lived in Oregon for an entire year when my plumbing decided to start doing me really wrong and I spent the next year finding a OBGYN that would actually check me for Endometriosis at twenty-six and NOT just tell me that I was too young to have it or to consider a hysterectomy.

After that I had a couple of years where I was relatively healthy except for a migraine here and there, Jason and I were living a pretty active and healthy life, eating a low carb (Atkins) diet, and doing a lot of hiking as we participated in an outdoor hobby called Letter-boxing  I’d lost a bunch of weight on Atkins, and when I say a bunch I’m talking over 200 lbs. I’d gone from 410 lbs to 225 lbs and then put it all right back on. But as soon as I started putting my weight back on all my health problems started right back up again.

Pretty soon I was full-blown diabetic again, taking shots three times a day and feeling like a human pin cushion. Then there were the water pills for the edema and high blood pressure medication too. I took muscle relaxers and pain killers daily for lower back pain. I was on antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills. I went from a C-Pap to a Bi-Pap because I just kept gaining more weight and exacerbating my already profound sleep apnea.

I was constantly getting sick. Sore throats, stuffy noses, runny noses, colds, flu, if you were sick and came around me I got sick. Next I started getting photo-sensitivity rashes on my face if I was in the sun for too long. Discoid Lupus, Lupus on the skin is what they called it. Strangely enough it too has improved greatly with my weight loss.

And then there were the rashes and bumps and boils that we never want to admit to having when we are overweight. It’s so embarrassing, and if you are really big, like I was, it gets even worse because it gets to a point you can’t take care of them on your own and you have to ask someone else to do it for you or go to the doctor. Heck I ended up in the operating room once because a small little infected hair follicle turned into an abscess the size of cantaloupe on my labia. Yeah I told myself when that happened that it could have happened to anyone, had nothing to do with the fact that I weighed nearly four hundred pounds. Strangely enough, post weight loss and skin removal I’ve had no such skin problems.

I could go on all day long about much healthier I am. I’m no longer diabetic; I don’t take medication for anything anymore. The only pills I take on a regular basis now are vitamins and Tylenol for sore muscles after a workout. But the biggest health change I see in me is in my mental health. I’m not depressed and sad anymore. I don’t turn to food for comfort. I don’t settle for unhealthy relationships. I don’t depend on someone else to motivate me. I don’t dislike myself and most importantly I don’t feel like a victim anymore and as such I don’t allow myself to be victimized anymore.

That is an amazing statement coming from someone who has battled a life of Mental Illness and Obesity.

People ask me what motivates me a lot. This motivates me. Looking in the mirror seeing a healthy and happy woman motivates me. I finally feel like I can say that I took my life back.

It’s sort of ironic as Halloween approaches, but I think when I was morbidly obese it was like I was wearing a costume every day. Most people who knew me then wouldn’t even recognize me today. I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror sometimes. It’s like I was a zombie, just so emotionally decayed by things that had traumatized me that I shuffled along with only one purpose… to eat.  That’s all changed for me now though, and really that change hit me very hard after my last skin removal surgery. Once I really started to see the girl underneath the sagging skin that made me feel like an obese eighty-year-old my whole world shifted. Suddenly I’m more confident, and suddenly I’m ready to put myself out there in front of the world and LIVE the life I always dreamed of instead of walking through it like a zombie because some people hurt me when I was growing up.

I finally feel like I took back control and like I’m no longer letting the horrible things other people did define who I am or limit who I can be.

When I look in the mirror I see a strong woman determined to make sure that others can benefit from her experiences as much as she has instead of a scared little girl crying for help.

When I look in the mirror I see a healthy, active, fit woman who continues to try to strive to take care of and improve herself instead of a morbidly obese woman hiding her emotions and pain behind walls of fat cells.

When I look in the mirror I see a Bariatric Beauty Queen, I see the product of my hard work and though my body is not perfect and will likely never be perfect, I am happy with it and feel that it justly represents me instead of seeing the aftermath of my abuse. ( OH! I think I just gave a clue as to what my Halloween Costume  for the OAC Convention is! If you catch it and post your guess on my Surgiversary Giveaway page in the next three days I’ll give you an extra +1 entry! )

I look in the mirror a lot eh? It’s how I justify all those mirror shots that we take post Gastric Bypass 🙂

And that is really what it all comes down to for me. For me, my journey needed to bring me to a point that I no longer looked in the mirror and saw something different from who I wanted to be because as long as I did, I felt like a product of my abuse rather than myself.

This is what motivates me. It’s what has driven me to do the excess skin removal surgeries. It’s what I feel has driven me to want to become a Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Life Coach, the empowerment that I feel having accomplished this, truly feeling like I am ME, and LIVING for the first time in my life. It’s just amazing.

Incidentally, I just paused to answer my cell phone when I saw my plastic surgeons office was calling and got the news that the insurance approval has come through and we are all clear to go on the next skin removal surgery. I’ll be discussing my skin removal surgeries on the next episode of Desperately Seeking Slender which should be out sometime this week! Right now I’ve got to go celebrate. Seriously my insurance has now approved EVERY SINGLE ONE of my skin removal surgeries.