My weight problems have been with me my entire life. I have always been overweight, but I never saw it as a problem until I was forced to do something about it. I always thought I was normal until other kids and my family pointed out to me that I was fat, unhealthy and abnormal.
I saw my first doctor and dietician when I was in Year 2 (age 7). I saw several doctors, dieticians, psychologists and other specialists throughout my life, forever being referred to someone else, a constant stream of advice from strangers – with my Mum taking it upon herself to convey my feelings, thoughts and eating habits while I always sat voiceless and invisible in the chair.
I believe that is where some of my problems stemmed from. I always had people telling me what to do, what was best for me and I just dug my heels in. I (stubbornly) refused to help myself, or listen to anyone.
When I was in Year 4, I moved, started a new school 900km from my friends, and everything I ever knew. City to Country. It was good at first, I used to ride my bike a lot and I was really active, but I got tired of that. My school only had 43 students, I was one of 3 girls in my year and I didn’t really have friends. So I stayed home, watched TV and ate food.
I didn’t like the food my parents bought, and there was never enough for me, so I began stealing money from their wallets so I could go to the store (where I caught my bus) every morning and buy chocolate. Large blocks almost every day, along with other lollies, biscuits and chips. They constantly confronted me about it, but I never admitted what I was doing.
When I was in Year 6 I lost around 8kgs, and I was happy, and I was proud of myself, but my Mum was constantly on my back about eating and exercise. I got sick of it and just went back to my old ways.
See my Mum has been slim and glamorous her whole life, and anytime she puts on any weight she sticks religiously to a diet, and she exercises like crazy EVERY DAY, rain or shine. She could never understand why I was so different and I couldn’t do that. My dad told me that he used to do the same thing as a child and that he had eating problems too. My dad’s side of the family, almost everyone is overweight or obese and I think I got those genes!
I just hoovered food. I couldn’t get enough, I had to eat constantly. If there was nothing in the house I’d even melt cheese and eat that in a bowl because I NEEDED FOOD. I don’t even know why.
I also had a terrible bedwetting problem, up until I was 15. I’m not sure if food related to that, but I never stayed at anyone’s house, I also got really really homesick.
I was always a really lonely person. I never really had any friends, and it’s still sort of that way. I have my best friend and a few work friends, but I don’t go out, and I don’t get invited anywhere. Plus no one has seen me since school, and I’m a little scared of people seeing the new me. I have seen a few people, and they don’t even recognise me.
When I first started high school I didn’t know anyone. Only 3 people from my Primary School went to my school, and they instantly made friends. For almost the whole of year 7 I sat in the library each lunchtime. I didn’t have anywhere else to go.
Something I can definitely say about school, is that I was very well respected. I was a very good friend, and I wasn’t “popular” as such, but I got on well with everyone, and the boys saw me as a great friend, especially because of my football knowledge and passion (we’re talking NRL here, not AFL , NFL or Soccer!).
I made lots of friends, especially in Year 9 and 10. I began at around 110kg, and lost almost 20kg. I really liked myself back then, I was really happy with those 2 years.
Then in Year 11 and 12, 3 out of my 4 closest friends left and I began stacking on the weight again. By the end of year 12 I was around 140kg. You’ve all seen my formal photographs, but that night was fucking shocking. I had an excellent partner in my good friend (not mentioning names). He really played the part that night, opened the car door for me, took photos, stood with me and was really great. I refused to dance or get photos taken with anyone, because I hated how I looked. I hadn’t planned on even going, and only purchased my dress 2 days before the event. Dad secretly organised a car for me, because I didn’t. I wasn’t even going to go for Heaven’s sake! I wore flats, because I couldn’t handle heels, the strain on my knees, hips and body in general was fucking unbearable. I wanted to leave, I was really sad about the whole event.
I had my driver’s licence by this stage, and was great for me, because whenever my Mum took me to a shopping centre, I would lie and say I had to go to the toilet, or another point in a store and I would buy at least $30 worth of chocolate, lollies, biscuits and anything else I wanted. I stashed them in my room, and if anyone found them, I’d get incredibly violent and angry. I pushed my Mum once because she tried to take my food. I screamed at her took the food and shoved her.
I was overjoyed in the New Year because that meant only one thing, EASTER EGGS CAME OUT! Each week, or whenever I could, I would buy at least 2 500g bags of Cadbury easter eggs (the little solid ones in coloured wrappers). I usually ate 1 bag in a day.
I had been considering bariatric surgery for quite some time, but wasn’t realllllly serious until I began getting heart palpitations. They used to wake me in the middle of the night, and I was truly afraid that I was going to have a heart attack. All that fat and sugar coursing through my veins was ridiculous, no wonder my body couldn’t handle that!
My aunty had the Lap Band procedure, and she started at 160+kg. She lost around 40, and has unfortunately put a lot of the weight back on. She inspired me to get referred to my surgeon. Honestly, I don’t think I would have started to get the ball rolling unless I had her around. She has been a wonderful support, and if I hadn’t seen her results, then I may not be where I am today.
I saw my family doctor in February, and got a referral to my future surgeon! He saw me and asked questions about my eating habits, why I wanted the surgery, family history etc. It was actually quite intimidating and I was really nervous. After the initial consultation I booked my next 2 appointments to see the Nutritionist and the Psychologist and then I booked my surgery. It was SO quick.
I had the date. April 29 2011.
That day was incredibly scary and exciting for me. I remember listening to “Everything is Alright” by Motion City Soundtrack on the way up to the hospital. I had all my bags, and I planned for my Mum to stay with me for the 2 nights. The Royal Wedding was on that evening and I planned to be sitting up ready to watch!
I got to the hospital at 9am, was put into the waiting room with my parents and then my name was called. They took me into the room, and I wasn’t aware that I wouldn’t see my family again. They let me back out to say goodbye and I headed back to the room. The nurse asked lots of questions about me. I remember weighing 141kg when I stepped on their scales. She put on my T.E.D stockings (compression stockings to stop blood clots forming) and I was in a paper gown and had to sit in the waiting chairs. I sat there for a good half hour. I was so nervous. Then my name was called and a wheelchair brought in for me. I was wheeled to the elevator, and went down to the surgical floor. They put me in a warm bed, and it was a little freaky. It was dark, and I was just watching the clock, and the man across the room from me. I was panicking a little, and I felt a bit like getting out and running away.
They were late, and I got wheeled in to the anaesthetist’s room. That scared me a lot, because we were late, and they couldn’t find any veins in my arms good enough. I had about 4 needles in my arms, and he kept hitting my arms and I was freaking out. They finally got one and I was put into the O.R. There were about 20 people in there, and I was scared as hell. I had a little paper gown on, and the nurses/doctors/staff had their hands all over me putting on little sticky monitor things.
They put the gas on my face and within 2-3 deep breaths I was gone. I woke up to the WORST nausea and pain in my whole fucking life. They had to push me down because I was trying to get up and vomit. That was AWFUL. I was put back under(was only awake for maybe a minute). I remember then being conscious in my room(own room with bathroom). Because of my drip I was so well hydrated that I had to pee more than once an hour, but I couldn’t open my eyes and I could hardly walk. I needed 2 nurses and my dad to walk me the 3 metres to the toilet. I was nauseous as hell. I didn’t drink and I vomited quite often. Needless to say I didn’t watch the Wedding, and I basically asked Mum and Dad to kill me. I was checked on every hour, had needles and medicine all the time. I was in hospital for 3 nights because I wasn’t doing so well.
I slept SO badly for the duration of my stay, because I was forever being woken for medicine and I was generally in terrible pain. Being at home was excellent, but I progressed very poorly. When I was supposed to be on pureed foods I could barely keep down a sip of water. Unfortunately for me this went on for quite a while, before I began vomiting randomly all the time(around 4 days). It was absolutely the worst. I developed a UTI(Urinary Tract Infection) because I literally didn’t pee for over 3 days. I was in pain, sick, sad and sore. I started getting really bad stabbing pains in my kidneys and I went to the doctor 3 times before he rang the hospital and told me to immediately go back. I spent 4 nights in there, on a drip which was heavenly. Everything worked straight away. I have no idea what happened, but I was totally fine. I was rehydrated, I began to eat, was no longer in pain and I was fine! The worst time of my life was finally over.
I began walking, swimming, NIA dance, and now Bikram and Crossfit! I’ve lost over 72kg and I’m not looking back! You know my goal! You know my dreams, and I’m chasing them like crazy! I have excess skin, and may need surgery, but I’m doing everything I can to avoid that!