At 311 lbs and a professional vocalist, there was no way I could avoid being seen. I was on a stage numerous nights a week every month. Despite my obvious morbid obesity, I tried to pretend that nothing was wrong: I danced, I made jokes at my own expense, and in private, I ate. And ate, and ate. I was an emotional eater and living a life "pretending" that my weight was ok with me was exhausting - both physically and emotionally.
For years, I was very against weight loss surgery because I, like many others, thought it was "the easy way out." What I didn't realize is that was a convenient excuse for my lack of education and my overwhelming fear of the surgery. I had never had ANY surgery, never mind one that would re-route my digestive system. Still, after strying many, many, MANY diets and never seeing any success, I was starting to see the results of my obesity. I was pre-diabetic. I had hypertension. I had gout. I had heels spurs. I had sleep apnea. I felt like a 90 year old trapped in a 35 year old body. My doctors had been telling me for years that I needed to do something, but that night, breathing heavy and having EVERYONE hear it - that changed everything for me.
I had RNY gastric bypass surgery on 3/25/08 at Boston Medical Center with Dr. Donald Hess. It was the best decision I've ever made in my entire life. I lost a total of 150 lbs, and have maintained a 145 lbs loss for over five years. In that time, my health has also dramatically improved: I am no longer pre-diabetic. I no longer have hypertension. I no longer have sleep apnea. I no longer have gout. In fact, at 41 yrs old, I am healthier than I was when I was in my twenties.
Now? I ballroom dance. I choreographed, directed, and produced a cast and crew song and dance production of over 50+ people. I walk my dogs two miles every day. I ride my bike. But mostly? I dance. It's natural for me - I'm a musician, and it goes hand in hand with my singing.
I've recently married my college sweetheart from twenty years ago. He loved me back then when I was at one of my heighest weights. I didn't see him for twenty years, and he fell back in love with me at this weight. Love is blind to those types of things, but he is glad that I'm physically active and healthy, and that we can do things like dance Lindy Hop together. As a guitarist, he is my musical counterpart. As a husband, he is my activity partner and keeps me busy, active, and happy and in love.
Weight loss surgery changed my life. I can MOVE now. I can BREATHE now. And I still sing and have a booming mic across the room, just now that microphone is full of healthy music.