For a few years I researched surgical options for weight loss but I believe to get to the point where you finally make the phone call is an emotional journey that is different for everyone. I was 39 and my emotional and intellectual journey led me to Dr. Pennings. I started taking inventory of the importance of certain things in my life and as I got older, the sheer thought of my mortality started coming into play. I wanted to make sure I could see my son graduate from high school, then college, get married and start having a family of his own. When I decided to be honest with myself and face the fact I may miss some or all of those things, and after trying for years to lose the weight and keep it off, it became clear I needed to seriously look at weight loss surgery as a personal option for me. After attending one of Dr. Pennings information seminars, I was convinced it was the road I needed to take to ensure a long, happy and healthy life with my family. Weighing in at 254 lbs. was not an easy thing to face, but when I was finally ready to tackle my issues, the clarity and focus on my mission drove me to success. I started by losing 25 lbs. before surgery; an emotional and physical commitment that gave my journey a jump-start. But it didn’t stop there. Every day since my decision to have surgery, I have had to work hard to lose and keep it off. Surgery is a fantastic tool, but it isn’t for the faint at heart. It truly does take a lifelong commitment and sheer tenacity to be successful not only for months, but for years to come. Now 15 months after my surgery, I still have to work just as hard every day; planning my meals and activities, eating healthy and exercising – but it has become a way of life. At 130 lbs., I am healthier and more physically fit then I have ever been in my life. I have chosen to remain very structured; writing down everything I eat along with the protein grams and calories, working out at least five days a week (step aerobics and strength training) and attending weekly support group meetings (the glue that holds it all together). Now I am training to run competitively in the spring. I’ll start at a 5K but plan on running in 10Ks in short order.
So how has my life truly changed? I am actually living; I am active, out doing things with my family, volunteering more in my community… and the biggest difference is I have the energy to do it all. My family and I even climbed Mt. St. Helens this summer; an experience of a lifetime that we will now repeat every summer. Just a year and a half ago, it was hard to imagine myself jumping out of bed at 5am every morning and staying busy and active to well into the evening. And one of the craziest things believe it or not… I am now a dog owner! If you would have told me I would be a happy dog-owner prior to my weight loss, I probably would have laughed at you. With my excess weight I did not have the energy or patience to care and love a dog, but now Olive (my Pom-Chi) has become an integral part of our family and we enjoy everyday with her.
I guess if I were to say one thing about my decision to have surgery with Dr. Pennings and to take this life-altering journey is it has profoundly enhanced my life.