Thursday, November 14, 2013

Big Boat - Big Butt - November 15, 2005 - My Second Birthday

I have a story….I’ll be the first to say that if a story is too long- I can’t read it (A.D.D.) so if you're one of those peeps too, I TOTALLY understand… IF you choose to read this - -Sit back, put your reading glasses on (get the old folks joke?- -yep, I crack myself up)- It’s long…really long.

November 15, 2005….I’d like to say this story starts there but it actually is where a better life began.
Let me back track….please? Can I back track?? 

All my life I struggled with weight…as I look back, I wasn't any different than my friends until an incident happened when I was 9 years old and I started gaining weight…A LOT of weight. I gained sooo much weight that even though I was large- I became invisible….I was the subject of ridicule from people I didn't know (and didn't know me) and also by people I worked with…people that should know better- -people that – I now know aren't worth a damn.

When I worked at (as a friend of mine would say) the little nickel & dime radio show, I had a great opportunity to express myself creatively- as I ALWAYS loved to make people laugh… I figured if I could get them to laugh WITH me- they wouldn't be laughing AT me. About this time the people I worked with were just getting ready to do a cooking show- if you're from the valley- you may know of what & whom I speak … but anyhoo - - -
It was a really popular ‘COOKIN’ Show and we had a two year wait for tickets to the show. In addition to being assistant producer, I was studio warm-up…which means I would entertain the audience and get them revved up to show excitement and be happy during the taping of the show, so when the camera panned over to the audience, they would be having fun. It was fun- and I LOVED IT!  Performing in front of people is something you get a taste of and become addicted to it. I loved to entertain the audience and the guest Chefs.

During this time I befriended a man named Patrick. Patrick was kind and very sweet… he also was quite large. I always would spend more time chatting with him because, as I mentioned earlier, when you’re quite large, people judge you for being ‘fat’…people say such ugly, nasty things.  Sometimes they didn't have to say anything- the look they give you says it all. I knew how he felt; I knew he felt invisible, I knew exactly what he was feeling. I would sit and chat with him and he would call the station just to say hello. I really liked him.

After many attempts to lose weight, I gave up. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was so overweight I couldn't walk to the restroom without being in great pain. I started thinking about having gastric bypass surgery. Bob, my hubby, was dead set against it- but I had to do something..… It was me that was experiencing pain. I prayed and prayed and prayed…and after several months of just thinking about it I decided to give it to God. I asked for a sign that this was in my best interest.

<Side note> I hadn't heard from Patrick in quite a few months… I wondered where he was because he called regularly.

After a particularly horrible pity party for myself, I again asked God to send me a sign….I want the surgery and I want to be healthy.
That morning I was at work, screening calls and doing my radio work when I received a call from a female that asked to speak to “a Lisa that works at the (radio) station.” I said “ this is Lisa”.. She asked, “The Lisa that works  on the cooking show?” I said; “yes, who is this? What can I do for you?” She said that she just wanted to call and say thank you (to me) for being so kind to her brother. He would talk about me and say how kind I was to him…I asked who her brother was and she said Patrick. I was excited and asked where he had been because I haven’t heard from him in months. She started crying and said that he passed away a few days ago.   I was shocked and asked what happened. Her words- verbatim- “he passed away from complications he had from gastric bypass surgery he had SIX months ago…”
(OMG! I felt shivers and was in total shock)- After my condolences, I explained to her that just  this morning, I was asking God for a sign about having that very surgery.  She pleaded with me NOT to have it…. I had to agree… THAT was my sign.
Me and Boberts - Before gastric bypass.

A more recent picture with two lifelong friends,
Deborah & Virginia & me.

Years had passed since that phone call,  I miss Patrick, he was a very kind soul and I thank him for sending his sister to warn me.

Working at the 'little nickel & dime radio station’ I got to meet a lot of people, I guess that being on a popular show people felt they had a voice in what you should/shouldn’t do…. I say that because I was a bit annoyed- but, if you believe in God, you know everything is for a reason. I received a phone call from Scottsdale Bariatric- saying that they'd like for me to come in for a consultation about having gastric bypass surgery. WTH? I figured I must be disgustingly overweight because THEY were calling ME….lol

I politely declined.

A few weeks later- I received another call…after several more calls from them, I just told them NO!- I wasn't interested. The person, very kindly stated, that they were just going to keep on calling until I agreed to come in for "just a consultation"…..They were very persistent. She said that my Dr. was concerned and I should at least just chat with them - -only THEN they'd leave me alone. I never knew people cared so much about me or who actually was behind this.

I made an appointment, told Bob about it (for which he said “absolutely no way you’re  having the surgery”.  You don’t know me, but I HATE being told what I can/can’t do, but secretly, I knew I did not want the surgery. Thinking of my friend, Patrick, I didn't want to die)….

The day arrives when I am supposed to meet the Dr. As I am walking down this incredibly long hallway, I  am crying out of fear, the pain in my knees and God knows why else ( I was a basket case). As I am walking, I encounter this really kind gentleman. He stopped me and said- You’re going to Scottsdale Bariatric, right? (I’m thinking – well, gee Einstein, I’m as big as a boat, it’s the only thing on this floor, nope, I’m going swim suit shopping...)- But I say, through my tears, yes.. I’m so scared.  He told me not to be. He lost 150 pounds in 6 months and still losing. His name was Terry and he told me that I will be okay- not to be frightened. He gave me his number and said I could call him. He hugged me and I felt a sense of calmness come through me. As I waddled down the rest of the hallway to the Doctors office, I felt a little more at ease- but still very, very scared.

After meeting with Dr. Robin Blackstone, I KNEW this is what I needed to do. I was concerned because- at that time insurance didn't cover this surgery.  You also had to jump (figuratively speaking- I NEVER JUMP!!-lol) through hoops before they'd consider you for surgery. THE MOST REPUTABLE places make sure you can handle it. Medical tests, psychological tests- classes…blah- blah- blah…. People have to wait MONTHS, sometimes years before they are cleared for surgery.

As I mentioned earlier, when you have God working on your side- he can move any obstacle.

From the day I left that office- to the day I had the surgery, it was TWO WEEKS! TWO WEEKS!!!
Everything lined up perfectly that I had no time to think… IT WAS A DONE DEAL.

November 15, 2005. I had the surgery and the nurse that assisted Dr. Blackstone is Melissa Monahan Davis. These two amazing people saved my life! Through classes and support - from not only my family - but Melissa, I was able to lose 184 pounds. I would meet with Melissa and after a couple of weeks I relayed the story to her about Terry. I wanted to call him and thank him for speaking to me but I misplaced his number. She gave me this puzzled look…went out – I assume to find his number—came back and told me they have no Terry as a patient…..It was weird. I am certain that was his name… I am even more certain that TERRY was an angel…. I DO BELIEVE! 

Speaking of how God can remove any obstacle…the surgery didn't cost me a cent! Insurance took care of it all!!!

Anyhoo… November 15, my second birth date…to Dr. Blackstone & Melissa, I owe you my life. YOU gave me back my life- I am eternally grateful. THANK YOU for everything!!

(I also want to add that even at my heaviest, Boberts- (Robert Aguilar) was always there…he never saw me as Jabba the Hut- which is how I pictured myself…he just loved me for me. Boberts…THANK YOU!!)

It’s been eight years since I had the surgery.  I can honestly say, had I not had all the Angels (on earth and  elsewhere) helping me, I wouldn't be here today. Eight years. Eight years of feeling what it feels like to be a “normal’ size. You have no idea how great it feels (to me) to fit in a booth at a restaurant. How it feels to walk and not feel as if you are being made fun of for your size.  How it feels to put your shoes on without breaking into a sweat - to take care of your most basic needs, to fly and not have to get a seat extension…to have seat belts in your own car fit….to not be humiliated when the owner of a restaurant brings you a more sturdy chair for you to sit on - so you don't break the smaller just feel worthy of love…it’s an awesome feeling.

So, It’s been 8 years that I started my new life. I call it my second birthday because on November 15, 2005, I took the first step that really was a new way of  life for me. I've gained back (only) 20 pounds in those eight years, but I’m okay with that. I’m not invisible anymore. I believe your body knows where you’re supposed to be. I look at it like this; from where I started, 20 pounds is nothing. I am healthier, happier and finding my way in a new career.

Life is good…

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