Friday, March 6, 2009

I AM A SUCCESS STORY

March 5, 2008: Grandy takes this picture in her living room, just in front of the coat closet, as they are getting ready to leave for dinner.




*Fast Forward*

March 5, 2009: Grandy takes this picture...reluctantly...while on the phone...to show progress made throughout the year.

Looking at these, it's hard to believe either one is me. I never really saw that person in the top picture and I don't yet see the person yet to be in the bottom.

On March 6, 2008, Grandy had Gastric Bypass surgery. I know you all know that I had a "surgery" back in March last year, but I never really shared with everyone WHAT the surgery was. There are so many opinions out there about the surgery, and the reasons people have them, that I didn't want people making assumptions about me or my reasons while I was going through the process.

First things first, Grandy's weight did not qualify her for the surgery by itself. In looking at the picture, I don't see how that is possible, but it is true. It was the fact that my diabetes was heading off the chart, my heart rate was out of control, blood pressure couldn't get down, and I was pretty much headed to even bigger issues. Despite gym attempts and re-hashing dietary needs over and over and over, Grandy was taking 13 medications per day (200 units of insulin was just the start). Those medications were taking a toll on my system.

The GP had mentioned the surgery to me for a couple years, but each time I would get ticked at the mere mention that I was even large enough. I'm not 100 lbs. overweight DANG IT! He would always come back with, "You don't have to be. You just have to be over 40% body mass index. Clearly you are." ASS

So Grandy tried other ways: Weight Watchers, Atkins, Exercising, Weight Watchers again, you name it. Slowly her weight would fall, rise, fall further, rise higher. All the while, no matter what she did, her blood sugars never balanced out.

In April 2007 Grandy applied to go on "The Biggest Loser". At that time my weight was 226. It was enlightening to even go through the application process (to say the least). I cried as I truthfully answered all the questions. When it came to filling out my health history, it broke my heart. I was now turning 35 and did not see the possibility of me seeing the light of 40.

From that moment I decided it was time for me to take charge of my destiny. I had an overwhelming sense of needing to fight. I broke my back and almost died at 23, I had a stroke at 28, and the writing was on the wall. Must.Overcome. When I wasn't accepted onto the show, I had my "Plan B" in place.

Unfortunately, my body decided to start the implosion, and the doctor put me on my MIS (Medically Induced Sabatical). "I'm going to put you on permanent disability," he told me. I had to do something. Nothing was working.

In November 2007 I met with the surgeon. My weight was 209 (my efforts were slightly paying off) but my insulin needs continued to climb. He told me to STOP going to the gym, and don't lose any more. He worried my weight would drop me too low and the carrier would not qualify it. I had all the other CO-MORBIDITY factors required for the carrier to approve it, why miss out for 5 more pounds?

I started going to a support group (and was looked at funny when some of the patients realized I wasn't an "after" patient) and continued to go every month. I made changes to my diet ahead of time so it wouldn't be too hard after (no more carbonated soda).

One year ago today I took the big step. I had my big surgery. My weight the day of the surgery was 201. My morning blood sugars were 407. Today my weight is 145, and my morning blood sugars are 130. My 200 units of insulin is down to 15. All the other medications I was on have been replaced by vitamin supplements.

In September they discovered a complication (something that only happens in 2% of all gastric bypass patients) and in October I had a "re-do" corrective surgery. Man did that suck. I made it through though, as you all know.

For those of you that think that I took the easy way out, please keep in mind that today I have paperwork that outlines my prospective retirement date of 2037. Try and imagine how it feels to actually believe I might see that day sometime, when before I never thought you would see 2012.

It's very exciting people, I assure you!!

30 comments:

dkuroiwa said...

Oh. My. Goodness!! Girl!! You look like a different person!! You look fantastic!!
Yes, my friend, you ARE a success story...of THE very best kinds...one that will live healthy for a very. long. time!!
And now...for your next picture...something slinky and sexy, honey...with your resident arm-candy!...THOSE are the best shots!! :-D

Deanna said...

My goodness! WOW! What a change, and I like the haircut!
;-)

songbird's crazy world said...

Grandy, that is amazing. you deserve a round of aplause.

Bridge said...

Just amazing! I've had friends who have had the surgery as well. Totally changed their lives for the best.

Christina said...

Forget how you look - what made my heart sing was reading those blood sugar levels and how you have been able to toss away the medications. FANTASTIC!! Those are the real indicators of long term health.

(But hey, you do look awesome ;-))

Dory said...

YAY, YOU! Day-um, girl-- you are HAWT!

SportsKingpin said...

Wow Grandy-I knew some of this but not all. The whole blog was so "honest". You are a success story in more ways than one.

Thanks for the advice the other day !

Kelly O said...

Rock on! I don't think you took the easy way out at all. I'm thrilled for you that you took control. Eff anyone who gives you attitude about it. They don't know what led up to the decision, or what it took to make it.

Joyce-Anne said...

Kelly O. is right. YOU took control of the situation. Hooray for you! And, you look great!

I love watching The Biggest Loser. Their stories are inspirational and I root for each of every one of them. However, I was mad this past week, when the producers cut to "To be Continued" at the very last person's weigh in (I can't remember his name right now).

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You look amazing and the first thing I thought when I saw your before picture, was "no way are you that big."

I've seen others do this and no way is it the easy way out. Congratulations on your success.

Robin Costello (Delswife) said...

You look great!

There aren't really people who think by pass is the "easy way out", are there? Anyone who knows anyone who has gone through it can certainly tell you different. It's a pretty major thing. Not the "easy way out" at all!

P.s. Love the hair too.

Suzanne said...

You are AWESOME! Don't let anyone EVER tell you it's the easy way out, because it is not.

I've got two friends post surgery, one about to have hers in May. All have had a rough road leading to and after surgery. There is a lot of adjusting to your lifestyle.

That said, those morning numbers are just incredible!

Mariuca said...

Grandy! Thank you for sharing ur story with us. You look awesome now sweetie and taking all things into consideration, I am just glad u are looking good and healthy too. Keep it up! :):):)

Jen said...

Congratulations on your success, and it is your success, savor it. You look wonderful, though you did in the first picture as well. I'm glad you are well.

Michele said...

Gosh, Grandy, I never would have judged you for that decision! I've lost over 100 pounds the "old-fashioned way" as everyone seems to put it (without surgery) but I never judge those who require surgery for their weight loss. I was told by doctors I qualified for that surgery as well, but personally, for me, it was better to try to lose it on my own. I needed to. I wanted to. And, I had time on my side. ;-)

I'm so proud of you, girl! You've come such a long way! And I know the others will agree with me that we're thrilled to know we'll have you around for a long, long time to keep us entertained and make us feel special.

*hugs*
Michele

P.S. Don't tell anyone... but I have a confession of my own. ;-)

Momisodes said...

Wow, Grandy. Just wow.

I had no idea those were the surgeries you went through. What an absolute inspiration you are, and to write about it with such poise and courage.

Good for you for taking charge. I was nearly in tears just reading the transformation of some of your medical history till today.

So proud of you, and you look wonderful!

Anonymous said...

We love you Mary! You are so sweet and sincere and we are so proud of everything you have done! Can't wait to see you again!
Love from me, the boys and your crazy brother! :)

Mara said...

I don't think anybody would think you took the easy way out. :)
You look wonderful!! Plus I agree with Deanna, I like your haircut it compliments you. Thanks for sharing this SUCCESS story of yours to us.

Jules said...

Hey sis,

From the first time I met you, I knew you were truly beautiful inside and out! This family is extremely proud of you!! And btw....you look just marvelous!!

Love, Jules and family

Grandy said...

DK~ Something Slinky? Might be able to try that...once I can brave it. ;)

Deanna~ Thanks!!

Songbird~ *taking a bow*

Bridge~ I'm so glad it did! There are always horror stories with every procedure.

Christina~ Oh yeah, the health benefits outweigh all the rest. :D

Grandy said...

Dory~ Day-um! ;)

Kingpin~ You are SO welcome for the advice, and thanks for your kind words.

Kelly~ I know...Eff them! ;)

Joyce Anne~ I've not followed it this season, so I'm not sure of the name you're thinking of.

Grandy said...

Jenn~ I got that a lot. "But you're not that big!"

Robin~ You would be suprised...lots of people think it's a shortcut way of doing things.

Suzanne~ Thank you! And good luck to your friend in May!!! Send her my thoughts. :)

Mariuca~ Thanks lady!! You are nice to say so.

Grandy said...

Jen~ Thank you...on both fronts.

Michele~ Thank you for all your continued support...in all arenas.

Sandy~ Poise? Courage? You sure you read the right post? ;)

Anon (KB)~ Thanks sweetie!! I hope to see you and the crazy brother soon too.

Mara~ Thanks lady!!!

Jules~ I <3 you too!!!

Matt Stratton said...

Let me just add my comment to the slew of "holy cow, you look amazing!".

Well done. Well done!

Grandy said...

Matt~ Thanks so much! You are sweet!!

onthecurb said...

Okay, now the short superhero hair makes sense. (i've fallen behind on my blog reading...runescape might have something to do with that)

Honey, I love you and your spark for life in any shape. You're gorgeous regardless. I am glad to hear your health is super-dee-dooper.

One of my readers, peevish, had a similar (same?) procedure (duodenal switch, i think). Maybe you want to give her a gander. She's pretty awesome like you. :-)

Thank you for sharing your story. Mad props to you, strong lady!

Mrs. F said...

I am so proud of you for finally blogging about this, I know you were quite conflicted about it! You really are a success story. Those blood glucose numbers are proof!

Joyce~ Ann---His name is Mike.

Grandy said...

DEE~ OMG!!! I just say your comment from a week ago! I'm so sorry I missed this!! Thank you sweetie!!! I <3 YOU!!!

Paloma~ You know me in both lives... thank you for being supportive in both honey!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Get this - I had the SAME surgery, on February 25th, 2008! How funny. I am so glad that you have regained your health. I look at the surgery as one of the best things I ever did for myself. As for those people who call it the easy way out...in my opinion, they're simply ignorant.
CONGRATS to you!!!

Grandy said...

DysFUNctional~ You were like a WEEK ahead of me!! :) Congrats!!!