Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Destiny from the blog Totally Bookalicious is going to share her story today. 
Big thanks to Destiny!


I don’t have your typical “bully” story. Not once was I ever physically bullied, but emotionally, I was. Even by myself – and when you hear my story, you’ll see how sometimes we can be our own worst bully.

Growing up, I was always overweight kid in elementary school. And let me tell you – kids can be cruel. Despite having the latest trend clothing or the newest toys, none of that got past my weight. Kids focused on that and that alone. Name calling was brutal. 

I had a huge self-esteem problem by the time I was in 3rd grade and when it was time to weigh in at school, there were literally times I faked sick to go home. Lunch time was always spent with my one or two friends I had, but then, if they were ever absent or on a field trip my class didn’t go on…it was torture. No kid wants to eat lunch alone. Or be pointed and snickered at. Not to mention P.E. I couldn’t run or play like the other kids and it was the PRIME time for kids to make fun of me.


By the start of middle school, I had completed Weight Watchers and was at a normal weight. I loved having friends, cute clothes, and the attention of boys. It was intoxicating. Addicting even. I sailed through middle school. High school was slightly more difficult because I noticed I was gaining weight again. Some days I would literally starve myself seeing if I could get a few pounds off. Other days I would consider going to the bathroom to purge. Every day was a fear I would be the “fat girl” again. This terrified me because this was high school – I was supposed to be having the time of my life. I made it through high school – a little heavier than I would have liked, but still a healthy weight.


When college rolled around, I was stressed and tired and really started gaining weight again. Fast. I would do the crash diets and have success, but I always gained that weight (and more) back. Eventually, I lost all my self-esteem and just stopped caring. I let myself go. Even though I hated myself, it seemed easier than fighting. I ended up dating guys that were bad for me because it was a confidence boost to just have the attention. I went by for years like this. The problem, never out of mind, but pushed back far enough, I was in denial. I would “deal with it one day”. Even my doctors knew better than to ask for me to weigh at an appointment – I would automatically tell them “No, thank you, not this time” every time I went. I honestly had no clue what my weight actually was! I didn’t want to know.


“One day” finally came when I was 24. I was on the phone with my mom and we had a heart-to-heart and decided I was seriously unhealthy and in danger. I agreed to meet with a bariatric surgeon and have vertical banded gastroplasty. This is a stomach banding procedure where you get a band around the top portion of your stomach and then the rest is stapled off. Unlike the Lap-Band, this is permanent, but does not re-route the intestines like the gastric bypass. I  am able to eat only 2 oz. of food at any time and that is it. If I eat too much or too fast, my body will reject it and it won’t stay down.
 

This sounds like the easy way out. Most people say diet, exercise, change your lifestyle. How do you exercise when you can hardly walk? How do you portion control when you are so hungry you feel like your stomach is eating itself? Then people asking, “How did you let this happen?” I had to do something. So I agreed to the surgery.






Keep in mind I am 5’11” tall – but I weighed in at 384 lbs!! How did I get here from the 170 lbs I was at the last time I weighed?! The surgery was scheduled and I can tell you this was NOT the easy way out. I have never been so sick in my life. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital, had pneumonia, blood clots, 2 blood transfusions, had an NG tube (a tube that goes down the nose straight to the stomach to keep it empty and dry). Almost every day I asked my mom if I was dying. And most every day she couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me I wasn't. I was that close to dying.



Once I got out of the hospital, my body had to re-learn everything. When you only eat 2 oz, your body goes into shock. The weight starts to come off fast, but there are side effects. I have never been so cold in my life and my hair fell out by the handful. I was afraid to eat out for nearly a year until I learned my new body because I was terrified I might get sick in public. Even today, I hate being asked by waiters if the food isn’t good because I barely touched it. I’ve gotten used to the questions by now and to overhearing people talk that I am secretly bulimic because food doesn’t always stay down. It is still worth it.


This all began in May of 2008. My surgeon set a goal weight of 200 lbs for me. I hit that weight in February of 2010. Almost 200 lbs lost. My body was a mess. I hated the way clothes fit because I had so much loose skin. I went under the knife again in February and had an upper and lower tummy tuck. This dropped me down to 190 lbs. I told my surgeon I had a personal goal of 180 lbs, but he said it was unlikely, but if I reached it, great. If not, 190-200 lbs was very healthy considering my height.


I continued to lose weight and I beat my own goal weight by almost 20 lbs. I weigh about 160 lbs now and I feel better than I ever have. I can look in the mirror and see that I am pretty. I can look at clothes and know they look good. But there is still a part of me that thinks I could lose a few more pounds. Just another dress size. I will probably be that way the rest of my life. As a result, I am on strict doctor’s orders to not lose more and I will watch it carefully.

There really isn't a book out there that fits my situation perfectly, but since SKINNY by Donna Cooner depicts a girl struggling with her weight and recovery, something I became very familiar with, I will be giving away one copy of this book.
**Photos:

1. Before (Weight unknown as I refused to weigh or take full body pictures)
2. Before/After Picture at the Surgeon’s Office (Before: 384 lbs, After: 190 lbs)
3. Now (160 lbs)

RULES:

Open to INT as long as The Book Depository ships 
Winner must respond within 48 hours*
*Please note, all giveaways will be shipped out at the end of the month.*


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