My journey actually started with Allyson. After reading her text, “I have to get weight loss surgery to be eligible for a heart transplant,” my mind raced through years of surgeries, things I couldn't possibly understand, and how I wanted to support her. I texted back, “I’ll do it with you.”
You know the decisions that sit in the corner of your mind? The ones just sitting there, waiting for their day to be dusted off and have their moment to shine? That was weight loss surgery for me. I’d previously thought of it as something that just failed. Having years of aunts and cousins who tried, but always gained the weight back – or worse who ended up in the hospital from infections and leaking stomachs. But in 2021 medical advances and the recent success story of another Aunt left me more confident.
I had no idea what my weight was at that time. Spoiler alert, it was over 411 pounds. All I knew was in the past two years over the pandemic I’d gained every ounce back from when I did the keto diet, my knee was swollen, and I could barely walk.
Weeks before, Allyson and Jeff had visited us in TX. During that trip I struggled to walk down the hallway, limping from my knee and gasping for air - both from pain and from lack of movement. I was the biggest I’d ever been. I’d spent weeks prepping with my husband Rob about how we could accomplish the traveling and fun proposed, while also accommodating the fact that I could not move.
“It is so hard to pick yourself up off the floor and try again and again, knowing you have years of missed successes under your belt."
We went to see the Alamo during that trip, and I’d spent the night before pulling up Google Maps to see how we could navigate Alamo Square in San Antonio on a Sunday. How my husband could park close, despite the entire block being closed off. We found a parking spot that felt so far away to me.
After an hour at the Alamo, Jeff and Rob went to get the car, and Allyson waited with me while they did. As we sat waiting for them, I could see how far away the car truly was. It was a block. I felt ashamed. We sat there, and Allyson turned to me, put her hand on my knee, and did the single most important thing a friend has ever done for me. She asked, “I’m really worried about you. What’s your plan?” I took a sharp breath and with tears in my eyes I just said, “I don’t know. But I know it has to change. Thank you.” My unspoken words were thank you for seeing me. Thank you for not turning away.
My husband Rob is one of the best people I know and he has been with me for sixteen years. Over those years he’s seen me do Weight Watchers, Keto, the Mediterranean Diet, WW again during one of it’s forty-five rebrands, and he’s seen me succeed and seen me fail. He’s held my hand, done diets with me, cooked for me, cooked with me, and he’s been my partner through it all. I am sure he’s tired. He’s been honest that he doesn’t feel comfortable policing me, and I need to want this for my own. And I just haven’t been able to. Because it is so hard to pick yourself up off the floor and try again and again, knowing you have years of missed successes under your belt.
So Allyson not turning away and being the first person in my life besides Rob to look at me and say, “I’m worried about you,” was a reality. I explained that I knew I needed to lose weight for my knee, but I didn’t know how. That I couldn’t do keto again because it was too restrictive to do for life, and I worried about my long term health with it. But that it was knee surgery or help, and I knew I needed help.
When we traveled weeks later and the urgency of her surgery became apparent, I knew I was truly in this with Allyson. There was no looking back. I booked an appointment for September 14th, with a surgeon I spent hours researching, who I believed was the person to help me. I walked into his office, took a shaky breath, and said, “I need help.”