My issues with eating began at an early age. I am the middle child of three girls. At the age of 4, my mother walked out of my life. It wouldn’t be until years later that we began visiting her every other weekend. Of course, I was young, but what I remember was a competition. My mom wanted to “buy” our love and give us everything we wanted that my father couldn’t or didn’t. Clothes, games, toys, and all the junk food and candy we could desire! When I would go back home, I craved those things, probably because I craved my mother and those things were symbolic of her. I think this clearly fit the bill of you always want what you can’t have.
Growing into my teens I was never the popular kid. I lacked self-confidence because my entire life I felt like “if my own mom didn’t want me, who would”. I was always ready for the next person to leave me. My guard was always up, which essentially pushed people away. Early adult years came and I could now get those snacks and things I craved for comfort on my own. No one was there to tell me no. That’s when the weight started to come on, slowly but surely. I married at the age of 20 because I desired a complete family of my own. I married for the wrong reasons. I became pregnant and with my first child and gained nearly 70 pounds with that pregnancy. I was placed on blood pressure medication at the age of 21, weight induced. I wound up divorced, which was the hardest thing for me. I swore I would never put my kids through what I went through.
I began struggling again with feelings of low self-esteem, not being good enough, rejection and failure and comforted myself again with the foods and snacks. In 1997, I married the love of my life. He took my son in as his own. We’ve added two daughters to our family. My second daughter was born prematurely at 30 weeks, due to my blood pressure and health issues. Still having those feelings that were harboring in inside me, I blamed myself for her being so tiny and sick. I felt like I failed as a mother. This sparked some deep feelings I had been trying to forget and hide. Again, I went back to my old faithful snacks. Keep in mind, I have a husband at this time, who loves me unconditionally, yet I was too convinced that no one could possibly love me completely. He never gave up on me. My family is now complete. I start trying every diet plan known to man. I would take 25 pounds off to gain 30 as soon as I’d stop whatever plan I was on. I hit a wall at 41 when I went to get my blood pressure medication refilled and was told I needed more medications because my blood pressure was still high on the current medications. In addition, my A1C was elevated. I was tired all the time, ashamed of my body, had no self-confidence and wondered every day why my husband was still with me. I had a consult and opted for the gastric sleeve in June 2015. Hands down it was life changing. I learned to eat to live and not live to eat!!! The weight came off slowly, but surely. My confidence grew. I noticed my husband looking at me in a way I’ve never seen or noticed before. I was living. I had energy. Everyone was telling me how proud they were of me.
However, I was being held back. I had this “scar” of extra skin and stretch marks, the single sign of the abuse I did to my own body for 40 years. With my husband in full support of my decision, whichever it would be, we made a consult with Dr. Sands to discuss a tummy tuck. He immediately made me feel comfortable and his honesty and excitement for what he could do had me ready to commit. I reached my goal weight with my sleeve and scheduled the tummy tuck. I am now 7 months post op from my tummy tuck. I still look in the mirror and can’t believe it’s me. I’m closer than ever with my husband, not because he loves me more, but because I love me and I know I’m deserving and worth it. I have a renewed confidence in myself. I have energy. I’m healthy. I feel like life has begun! Most importantly, I share the truth about my weight loss and tummy tuck. I am proud of where I am and if my speaking out helps someone else find their inner happiness, I’m more than willing to help. It’s been a difficult road, but a beautiful destination! Thank you, Dr. Sands for completing this journey for me.