Where did we leave off? Oh yes, I was in despair and just dxed bipolar. At this point, I went into an outpatient program at Shoal Creek Mental Hospital in Austin. It was run by Penny Kruger. She’s a DBT master. DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It helps you control your impulses and be more mindful. DBT literally saved my life. I began working with her after the program was finished. Then, I went to support groups that she ran for several years.
I also found a good therapist, Laura McDowell, who I see to this day. My psychiatrist, J. Bernard Cordoba is there to help me as well. Alexa Sparkman, who runs support groups for Overcoming Mind Hunger, is a nutritional counselor who taught me how to actually learn what hunger and satiety were. As a bulimic, I never felt full. I needed and still need these professionals to help me navigate my life.
Yes, I got help. I need it.
The important thing is that I got help. I finally gave up trying to do it on my own. At this time, I lost some weight, but not a lot. I even had a lap band done in 2010. It was not a success. I mean I lost weight. Prior to surgery, I was about 400 lbs. My highest weight ever was 444. Yes, I had trouble typing that. It’s unacceptable to me. I am disgusted by it, but I own it.
The first time I walked into Alexa’s support group, I could only eat pudding and soft foods. If I tried anything more ‘intense’, I would get stuck and have to go back to the surgeon to un-fill my band. Three years of that and I had had enough. The new surgeon decided he wanted me to have the duodenal switch. One side effect was uncontrollable diarrhea. Thanks, but no thanks. I fired the doctor and left bariatric surgery behind.
Or so I thought.
Overcoming Obesity on my own was not easy or possible.
I tried over the next few years to lose weight on my own. It was difficult. I went gluten free, cutting out most carbs. I had a little success, but regained almost all the weight I had lost from the band. You know what – I felt like a real loser. I was down, but not out. Then, I busted my meniscus. This was on December 13, 2016. All I did was step down on it.
The weight I was carrying on my legs had finally harmed them. I was a little surprised that it took that long. The orthopedist would not help me. He said I was too fat. I hired a new orthopedist who said she wanted to help me but could not do surgery until I got down to a 40 BMI. At that point, I made an appointment with a surgeon and began the process to have the sleeve.
Sleeve Surgery – My rebirth day
My sleeve operation was on 6/6/17. I like to think of it as my re-birth-day. I don’t look at food the same way. You know what – I don’t eat food the same way. I have lost over 130 lbs. I am not morbidly obese anymore. As of this writing, I am just obese and heading towards overweight. I can shop in department stores.
I can fit in restaurant booths, bathroom stalls, plane seats and more. I go to concerts. My husband and I even climbed Mt. Bonell, the tallest point in Austin. I don’t need knee surgery anymore. No, I don’t. I’ve taken enough stress off my joint to manage the pain with shots.
My orthopedist was proud, but I was prouder. I knew how hard I worked to get there.
Where I am today
I am proud of my accomplishments, but I know I am not done. The sleeve is a tool that helped me get my life back. Things aren’t perfect. I may need my gall bladder out. I may have a GI disease which caused a lot of my problems with the lap band and makes eating certain foods an impossibility right now.
I don’t care what challenges life throws at me, anymore. I have honestly overcome so much in my life. This is nothing. I love my new life and I am grateful to the professionals and friends I have rooting me on.
If you doubt doing this surgery, that’s understandable. If you can find another way, do it. I encourage you no matter what. Weight loss is not easy. Please don’t go on a diet. Change your life. You have to want it and you have to be willing to change, but it’s so worth it. I can help you. I can support you. I have been you. I hope you know that now because of my story.
Now, I get to write the next chapters and they will be happier than the last ones. I know this to be true.
Missed part one? Read it now.