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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hi! It's Karen from Washington PA!

Today I honored and happy that I am visiting Judi's great blog as a guest blogger!
First, I will tell you about myself:
*I had Lap Band surgery one year ago! Happy Bandiversery to me!
*I lost 18 pounds on my pre-op diet and so far lost 64 pounds since surgery day. I need & want to lose another 30.
*I met Judi at a group for Lap Band support in 2007. I went to all the meetings with her but then lost my insurance a few weeks before my surgery because of my divorce so I could not be banded at that time. I saved up enough money and I went to Mexico and had the surgery done. I would be happy to tell anyone about that experience. If you have to pay cash, it is much less expensive there. My sister came with me and we did some vacationing for a week before and relaxing for a week after. With all that and paying for my sister's trip, I spent less money there all put together than what I would have had to pay up here out of my own pocked (approx 20K). I would do it again! If it were not for Judi, I do not know if I would have done it. She kept up with me after I had to stop the plans for my surgery and her friendship and support and encouragement and THIS BLOG was what kept me going when things got so difficult.
*I am 42 years old and living on my own for the first time since I was 20.
*I am a single mom with 3 children: Andrew is 20, Ashley is 18 and Aaron is 16. Andrew is a college student going into his final year and just spent a summer in England working and living with his girlfriend's family and he is majoring in Engineering. Ashley is entering her first year of college and just got back from 1 month working at a camp for special needs kids near Boston and wants to be a teacher. Aaron is a third year high school student and spent the summer with his father traveling in the midwest and he is my avid sports boy and wants to be a sports announcer. We moved to Washington PA from Virginia to be near my family after my divorce 2 years ago. Before that, we lived in San Fransisco, Chicago and Atlanta. I am happy to be back to Southwest PA. There's no place like home!
*I have an at-home marketing business and work part time for my family's restaurant as a hostess and a book keeper and also sell jewelry (Silpada). My background is in marketing and advertising and I spent 15 years working for firms around the country. For 4 years, I was a partner with my former husband in a publishing business. We just sold the business as well as our family home in VA last October so now I plan to return to school in January to finish my graduate degree. After that, I would like to open a business of my own here in town.

Now that I have told you all about me I want to tell you that all of that is better because of my Lap Band. I lived a very stressful but very financially secure life for many years and turned to food for entertainment and comfort. By the time my husband walked out the door on me with a new woman, I had gained almost 200 pounds since our wedding day. Now I finally have the courage and confidence to think about doing something more with my life. When I was 300+ pounds, all I wanted to do was collect a paycheck and hide. Even though money was never a problem, it could not improve my life or take the weight off compared to now when I have to work hard for a lesser lifestyle but I feel like I want to join the world! I can look in the mirror in the morning and like what I see and smile because it's good and it will keep getting better. It is not the misery and hopelessness that I felt for so long. When my marriage was going down the drain, I blamed my husband for everything. He was at fault for having other women but I did not see how much my weight was making me a miserable, desperate woman who was not easy to live with. The more my weight went up, the more I pulled away from everything but my job where I could hide in my office and work, work, work and reap the benefits of my work and feel okay.
I want other people to know that if they are thinking about a Lap band, PLEASE DO IT NOW. Do not waste any more time thinking about it or researching it. I am so happy I did and I know you will be too. 3 years ago, I wrote in my journal that I would die from obesity and have to be buried in an oversize casket. Now I don't even think that way because I want to live and be alive. Not just in a physical sense but in all ways. I think I might even take more chances than I ever thought possible. Judi is trying to sell me on and if she keeps at it, I might just do that.
If you read this posting, I hope I helped you with my story.
Thank you Judi for being an inspiration and a friend. The Lap Band and Judi's constant support and help through daily or more emails and even meeting me for coffee a few times and taking my calls is what I am thankful for.
Good luck to everyone!


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, glad to meet you and hear you are doing well as a lapbandster. I too was banded just three weeks ago and very grateful and thankful for Judi's encouragement and loving friendship. She is truly an inspiration. My goal is to get healthy and of course buy cute clothes and undies lolol. Now how shallow is that! Best to you and much success in your journey. Lucy

Kathy said...

Hi Karen,
I am so happy for you. Judi is a very special lady, she has a way of making us feel important and interesting. You should start your own blog and then we can follow you too. Keep up the good work and keep us posted on your progress too. Just one question on my part, do you have a local doctor to do your band adjustments or do you have to go back to Mexico?

Judi said...

Well said Karen!
Couldn't have said it better myself!
The one thing that has always impressed me with your quest and your journey is that you did not allow ANY obstacle to stand in your way. Even when the deck was stacked against you--you pushed forward with such optimism....most people would have given up! Never once did you give up the hope that you will walk through the dark days and come out the other side! And, you sure did! I was so excited to read this truly gave me goose bumps and had me tearing up! I'm soooo proud of you and so excited for you! You got it girl!
Many times people thank ME when ooooooh I need to thank them! It's YOU who have made this seemingly long journey as wonderful as it has been. At the age of 50...I'm finally learning that one of the trickiest things about life is that there are SOME things will happen slowly! (That's a tough thing for an impatient girl like me.) And, we all know that no one wants weight loss to happen slowly! But, we all know that THIS is not just about weight loss...right? Repeat after me--NO IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS! Thankfully, fate knows more than we all do because if this all would have happened any faster, I would not have enjoyed the ride as much. When I asked people to hop in and join me on my travels--I didn't what joyride it would be! So, Karen, thanks for riding along. And, thanks for being being my guest blogger!!! I never got you to post a comment--I guess you were holding out for this....!
Now, start your own blog! Your fans await you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen!!!!!!
You did a great job on your first blogging! T-Y for sharing this with me. I loved hearing from you and I am so impressed with your "story"!
I am pleased that you and Judi stayed connected (I am not her tech but she does come to our practice).
You are doing a wonderful job and YES start a blog! I might even read it during my "mom's quiet time"!
Thanks for staying in touch in between visits! You are doing GREAT!