Today’s featured success story comes from a recent grad, Katrina, who has lost 60 pounds with weight loss surgery.
“As I reflected on the day I walked across the stage at Mississippi State University in 2010 to receive my Ph.D., I remember thinking about how making the decision to pursue higher education AND see it through to the end was one of the absolute most difficult challenges of my life. For I had endured countless hours of making the over 3 hour trek to campus on the weekends, 24 hour study sessions with no sleep, hundreds of assignments, presentations and study groups, a multitude…of examinations, and more…all while working a full-time job.
Believe it or not, however, graduating with a doctorate in 2010 has nothing on my most recent graduation!
Exactly one year ago I made another important, yet challenging, decision. That decision was to finally take the very necessary steps toward fulfilling a vow I’d long ago made to myself, yet broken many times. The vow: To relentlessly pursue God’s purpose for my life with vigor, strive to be the best me ever and to never take my life/health for granted. Perhaps the vow wasn’t so easy to keep because along with it came confronting past fears and failures, being vulnerable and open to change, transforming my thinking, making sacrifices and being quite uncomfortable, yielding to the process and laying aside excess weight which presented itself in MANY forms. Nonetheless, on October 4, 2011, my journey began.
While there’s still more weight to lose and more goals to be realized, with one year, 60 pounds of physical weight and many, many more pounds of additional baggage behind me, I am both grateful for the journey and even more motivated to continue.
So with Pomp and Circumstance playing brazenly in my head, I now proudly prepare for next October’s graduation as I pursue my next level of purpose! Who knows, maybe I’ll graduate early!
While spending four years pursuing my degree and simultaneously working an EXTREMELY stressful job, I found that majorly neglecting myself became such a common practice that I would do it without thinking about it. Unfortunately, the more I neglected myself and gave in to the stress of being everything to everyone else the more my health spiraled out of control…launching my weight into the stratosphere as well. In May of 2011, I finally decided to walk away from a job where the money was good but along with a nice salary came an investment of over 70 long hours per week, being on-call every weekend and dodging drama, lies and deception was the only exercise I could manage. Two days after resigning from the job, I came to the harsh reality that not only had all the stress and neglect finally taken their toll on my outer appearance but my internal organs were suffering as well. I ended up in the emergency room with the unexpected news that I need to have my gall bladder removed. Surgery was scheduled and the next day what was supposed to last 45 minutes. The surgery actually became a 2 hour ordeal.
There I was, lying unsuspectingly in the recovery room when a gentle pat on my left shoulder awakened me as the friendly smile of a brightly dressed nurse came into focus through my blurred vision. She seemed to be so excited to announce my awakening to the rest of the nursing staff. I was confused and in pain, yet grateful to know that I had made it back from ‘the other side’. You see, I know that any surgery has its risks and I certainly never took them lightly.
Suddenly, the curtain to my right was opened and in walked the surgeon, with a relieved look on his face. I will never forget that look because it caused my heart to drop and my palms to get sweaty. The doctor looked me deep into the eyes and said, “Welcome back! We almost lost you.”
He then said that there was a complication with the surgery and it was discovered that my gall bladder had somehow fused into my liver. Ultimately liver failure was a concern, and death was even more of a fear. Sparing the gory details, two hours and seventeen minutes later I was under the watchful eye of medical staff that had previously feared the worse. But GOD had a much, much different plan!!
After having been given another chance to live, I made the decision to take a radical medical approach to losing the weight, salvaging my health and ultimately reclaiming my life. Upon the unyielding recommendation of my primary care physician, I decided to undergo Gastric Lap-Band surgery on October 4, 2011. After the surgery, I thought the weight would automatically fall off (contrary to what the doctor had warned). To my surprise, being a Bariatric patient requires commitment, hard work, discipline and a total lifestyle transformation. The one year journey has not been without its share of struggles, but I can honestly say that I am yet eternally grateful for the unmerited grace and mercy gifted to me. My work out commitment includes a regiment of 45-60 minute cardio sessions 6 days per week and alternating upper/lower body strength training sessions 3-4 days per week. I follow a low carb/high protein diet which includes 60-80g of protein, 64oz of water, plenty of healthy whole wheat and fresh fruit and vegetable choices. My life is now lived daily with gratitude, purpose and a sense of humility. Unhealthy living is not an option, nor is wallowing in self-pity, doubt and disbelief. My God is able to do over and above what I can ever ask or think of…He is amazing, and I am LIVING proof.”