I have been overweight since I was a child and can trace back the moment I began to associate food with comfort. I lost my brother suddenly when I was 7 years old, and you can timeline my weight gain throughout life with traumatic events. After the loss of my own child in my early 20’s I received great treatment for my post traumatic stress and saw an amazing psychiatrist who told me that there was no drug he could prescribe better than being active. He was so right!

I, along with my husband began to become more active and eating healthier in 2015. After not seeing results I decided to attend an informational seminar hosted by Erlanger Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Center. I was at my heaviest, of 245 lbs at 5´ 2˝, and was morbidly obese. I learned that bariatric surgery was not a magic pill. That the surgery I chose could help with overeating but there were ways to “cheat” the surgery. Surgery was no guarantee, but it would help in the malabsorbtion of the unhealthy things if I did mess up, and overall desire to overeat.

It wasn’t easy to attend all the classes and appointments needed to have the surgery, however I learned so much. I feel the prerequired visits prepared me for the way I would need to eat and my life post-surgery. I had a roux en y procedure on 2/15/16, and I was determined that I would take this opportunity and I would not squander it. I hit the ground running the day of my surgery, with laps around the floor.

Over the first few months, I plateaued, but with steady, disciplined, planned meals and exercise I achieved a healthy weight in just a few months and have continued to maintain it. On March 5, 2017 I had the honor of participating in Erlanger sponsored Chattanooga Marathon and ran the half marathon. I wanted to make my doctors, my family and friends that were watching proud. I blew my best time out of the water, finishing in 1:52 for 9th place in my division. This was such a huge deal for me. I wanted so badly to take home a trophy, but knowing I was 5 women away from coming in 3rd in my division, in a race of THOUSANDS just one year after being morbidly obese, was the ultimate reward. The significance of the moment was not lost.

I have since raced in a couple of smaller races right up until March 22nd when I underwent several cosmetic procedures to remove some of the excess skin I was carrying around and tighten my core. I am already back to training and plan to carry home one of those coveted Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon trophies next year. And for my husband? The feeling of being healthy is infectious. He has gotten much healthier utilizing the same tips I learned from Erlanger and has lost 90lbs and is currently training for the Ironman. Bariatric surgery will get you to the starting line, it’s up to YOU to stay on track and dedicated. I feel so healthy and full of life and I am grateful to all of the wonderful doctors, nurses and support staff at Erlanger for your part in my journey.