Emily: Vertical Sleeve Success
“Here’s to starting my twenties out right!”
September marks my one year “surgiversary”. On September 19, 2011 Dr. Pinnar performed my vertical sleeve gastrectomy, and I am proud to say that thanks to my sleeve, a lot of dedication and hard work I have lost 126 lbs. I went from a size 24 at my highest to a size 4/6. I am able to comfortably lift weights at the gym, and I can keep up on the playground with my six year old sister. These were two things that just a year ago I craved to do. Now, I do them without hesitation.
I cannot say when my weight started to be a problem; it was just always there. I was always overweight, always on the chubby side as a kid and as a young teen. In high school, my weight simply was not on the forefront of my mind. There was the birth of my sister, and then not a year later when my mother was in the hospital for an extended time. I had other things to focus on.
I was not completely oblivious that I was overweight. I had tried various diets ever since middle school, but of course they never worked. It was my reflection that shocked me into realizing just how out of control my weight had become. At the mall one day, I noticed the reflection of a very large woman in the glass. I noticed her size compared to the others around her. Then she moved when I moved and I realized that it was me. I did not recognize myself, and that realization shocked me.
Being overweight had never really affected me before. I was the bookworm not the athlete. My weight didn’t stop me from reading. My weight didn’t stop me from learning. It didn’t stop me from hanging out with my friends or babysitting. It didn’t stop me from doing the things I loved. I just never grew to love the physical side of life. People’s opinions about the way I looked never mattered to me because my weight never stopped me. I didn’t really ever care. Not deeply at least.
My reflection though is what hurt me. I found myself caring. I found myself caring a lot. I am a smart person. I knew that it could not possibly be healthy to be that big. I knew that I was only doing damage to myself. I started asking myself questions. “How can I be a role model to my sister when I didn’t take care of myself?” I realized that I was slowly but surely taking away my own dreams.
During all the yo-yo’ing, I did in my teens I had thought about weight loss surgery. Being the over-analytical person I am, I researched it. The cons always outweighed the pros, and I never went past the research stage. At the time, my reasons were valid. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have insurance. I wasn’t old enough. It was too drastic. I was healthy just overweight. I was too busy with school. The list could go on. But then it changed. Everything worked. It mattered now. I had no reason not to go for it.
When I started my physician supervised weight loss, I was at the highest weight I had ever been. I may have been able to say that I was reasonably healthy, but I would not have been able to say that in five or ten years. That was when my motto “here’s to starting my twenties out right” started. I didn’t want to wait until I had those problems or until it was so far out of control I would have lost everything. I wanted to start really living my life. And I did. I don’t hold myself back and limit myself to my books anymore. I run. I play. I smile more. I laugh more.
I’ve known all along that the surgery is just one tool that I am using to help achieve a healthy, fit body. My weight loss journey is not over. It might never be over. But with my sleeve, along with the support of Dr. Pinnar, Dr. Cywes and everyone who is part of my team I have the tools and directions to reach my goals.