I have always been very energetic and active with a zest for life, which can easily become the life of the party.
Even at 259 pounds, I never let that stop me from being an on-the-go leader, working hard, and making a difference in my community as the Director of United Way of Knox County.
As I reached my mid 50’s, I found it challenging to maintain my energy, felt tired all the time, and my joints started to let me down. I had Type II Diabetes and High Blood Pressure and feared for my future. I had two knee surgeries, which helped with the pain but not the lack of liveliness I always enjoyed. I also have been blessed with 7 grandchildren, HI-OCTANE; they are rambunctious, active, loud, and so much fun, just like the old me. I needed to do something fast.
Then the Pandemic hit. As much as most people complained about having to stay home, I did not. I finally slowed down. I didn’t have an event or obligation three nights a week and had time to truly look at myself and figure out what the next 50 years of my life may look like. I am fortunate to have a Bariatric Dietician as a daughter-in-law, Natalie Brenneman, so I have heard her talk about the program for years. In January 2021, I made my first appointment with the Weight Management Team and began my journey.
My experience with the Weight Management Team at KCH has been outstanding. It is thorough, genuinely looking at each patient as an individual, not comparing them with others. They listen; they care. Amy, Natalie, Jason, Cassie, and Dr. McLaughlin are exceptional in their fields of expertise, and it shows. They work well together and make you feel important.
My milestones are many. I can comfortably fit in an airline seat. I celebrated reaching 199 pounds, never going back to over 200 pounds. I dropped 6 sizes in clothing. I no longer take any medication for High Blood Pressure or Type II Diabetes. I walk between 20 and 50 miles a week, play pickleball twice a week, take two water aerobics classes weekly, and still have the energy to play with the grandkids.
This surgery is not for everyone. It takes work. You must be ready for a lifestyle change; you are not going to live to eat; you are going to eat to live, making protein and vegetables a staple. Do I still eat out with my husband and friends? Yes! I just have a smaller portion and take the rest of the meal home for another one or two meals. Exercise is a daily ritual, and drinking water is essential. There is no better feeling than looking in the mirror and seeing the real person that was always hidden beneath those pounds. Is it easy? No, but I have never once regretted this decision, maybe only because I didn’t research it earlier.