7 months & 121 pounds lost (with pics)!
Wow, you have been through sooo much. So pleased you are doing so well and happy. Well done0
WOW.... What an amazing story. such a beautiful and strong woman .0
Super amazing story....
wish u well0
wow! just wow! congratulations!0
I'm just speechless...and very humbled by your story. You have gone through SO much and have seen too much Cancer. First let me send you my condolences on the passing of your father. How difficult... he was young.
Every thing... every little thing happens for a reason. Yes, even the bad. I'm not going to preach, but I do want to tell you, YOU are blessed and there is a reason for your life here. Let that sink in. You are here for a specific reason. You have been through SO much at such a YOUNG age. I'm so proud of you. You could have stopped fighting... but you didn't. That alone says SO much about you!!!
I'm in AWE of your determination. I mean it... you don't let anything stop you.
Btw... you look FANTASTIC. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! :flowerforyou:0
Wow soooo amazing!!!0
How strong and brave and beautiful you are!!
You are truly the definition of Inspiration! Your story should be told to the world ! It is truly amazing that your preserved through the toughest of things. I can not imagine going through what you have been through. I feel truly blessed and feel more appreciative for everything that I have. You make me realize that there are no excuses. I am sorry for your loses but I feel so blessed to have read your story. You deserve every wonderful thing going your way. I know God must be proud of you and I am sure your family and friends are quite amazed. Thank you for being such a inspiration and I really hope all of your dreams come true!0
I'm sharing my story in hopes that I can make a few friends on here. I also want to show people how amazing the human body (and spirit) really is -- and that NO situation, no matter how dire, is without hope. You see, because mine isn't just a weight loss story. I am a cancer survivor.
Before I delve too much into that, I should probably give you all a little back-story. Cancer is something that has always been a huge part of my life. My Mom got sick with Hodgkin's Lymphoma when I was 8 years old. She was sick for years. The chemotherapy used to 'treat' her first cancer only resulted in a second -- Myelodysplastic Syndrome, which is an early form of Leukemia. While my Mom was sick, my siblings and I were being raised by my Dad with help from my Grandparents. I grew up particularly close to my Mom's Mom as a result of this.
Although the doctors said that my Mom wouldn't live more than 6 months (after being diagnosed with Myelodsysplastic Syndrome), they threw in a last ditch effort to save her life (a stem cell transplant). I was 14 years old at that time. I expected the worst, but hoped for the best. Miraculously, she survived. She became my role model. (Interestingly enough, when she was 18, she and her Mom lost a bunch of weight together. My Grandma lost 90 pounds and my Mom lost over 100 pounds & won a trip to Montreal. So you can sort of see how their story has really influenced mine.)
In 2008, My Grandma (my Mom's Mom) got sick with HER second cancer (she and her husband had had skin cancer at one point in their lives). The doctors believed it originated in the stomach, but by the time they caught it, it was too far along to be for sure. She passed away in May of that year.
In 2009, both my Dad and I started getting sick. We had nearly identical symptoms. Chronic fevers, chronic infections, dizziness, malaise, and fatigue -- just to name a few. My Dad refused to go to the doctor. I, on the other hand, had no other choice. I was working in a nursing home and I had to call in every single time I had a fever. I had to go to a doctor to make sure I wasn't sick with something contagious, otherwise that puts the residents at risk. It was around this time that I started gaining weight (although I've always been overweight/obese and was around 220 pounds before I started gaining weight due to being ill). The doctors could confirm this or that chronic illness (lots of upper respiratory infections, sinusitis, feminine problems, tonsillitis, strep throat, etc.), but they couldn't determine a source. I knew it was cancer, but the blood work came back negative for it. They kept treating each infection, but nothing could stop the fevers.
Then, one afternoon in October 2009, my sister's boyfriend found my Dad on the ground of my parent's front lawn. He had tried to take out the trash and got super dizzy, fell, and couldn't get back up. When my Mom got home from work, she took him to the emergency room. They found a large tumor in his brain. Shortly after, they found 8 other tumors scattered throughout his brain. It was cancer, and it had originated in the kidneys. He was already in the final stage.
In December 2009, as my Dad got sicker & sicker, so did I. My tonsils had swelled up so bad that they had begun to interfere with my ability to breath. I had to have surgery. Having your tonsils & adenoids out at any age is no fun, but especially not at 23. I had my surgery on December 19th. The ENT told my parents that they were the worst tonsils he'd ever seen -- full of poison. I spent my recovery at my parent's house. It was an especially difficult time because my Dad was no longer mentally "there", and would forget that I couldn't speak because of the surgery I'd just had. So he would get mad at me when I couldn't respond to whatever he was trying to tell me. We spent Christmas snowed in without any power. It was miserable.
On March 10th, 2010, my Dad passed away. He was only 53.
I continued being ill. But, at that point, I was so depressed that nothing mattered anymore. I started gaining weight fast, and the emotional eating did not help. I missed too much work and lost my job. I lost my car. I lost my apartment. I moved back in with my Mom at the end of September 2010. I wanted to die. So, I stopped going to see a doctor for my chronic conditions and fevers.
The next few years were spent in hell. I tried to get a few things going again at different points -- school, work, etc -- but nothing ever worked out. I got sicker. I got fatter. So, I gave up on trying. I lost a lot of friends. They thought I was just fat and depressed. They didn't believe I was sick, because there really was no evidence that it was anything other than psychosomatic. But I knew. My hair was turning gray. My limbs were retaining lots of fluid. I hurt everywhere, all the time. I even lost a tooth, even though I've always been meticulous about my dental hygiene. My period had always been irregular, but this had sunken to new lows. I went from not having my period for over a year to bleeding for two years without cessation.
In December of 2011, I nearly passed out at the wheel of the car. I came to as I was swerving in front of a semi. I couldn't breath. I was dizzy. I pulled over and gathered my wits about me before booking it to the nearest ER. I told them about all the problems I had been having, and about my period, and all they did was do blood work and take an X-Ray of my lungs. Their conclusion? I had a panic attack. You would have thought that they would do a pelvic exam, but they didn't.
It wasn't until June of 2012 that the culprit was found. My temperature had been 100+ degrees F for over a week. I was getting horrible stabbing pains in the right side of my abdomen. It got so bad that I was having a hard time getting up and out of chairs. I had planned to make an appointment with a doctor, but kept brushing it off. I figured that it would be the "same old, same old" and they would send me home none-the-wiser. One morning, however, I couldn't get out of the chair. It felt like something was ripping apart my insides. Fortunately, I had set the phone next to me. I called my Mom to tell her to take off work because I was going to call an ambulance. She suggested that she help me get out of the chair and into a car, but I told her there was no way. I couldn't stand up straight.
The rescue squad came and got me. Lots of tests were done. An ovarian tumor the size of a bowling ball is what they found. On June 19th, 2012, I had it removed. We didn't know beforehand how bad it was or what all would need to be taken out. We didn't even know if it had spread beyond the tumor. Fortunately, it hadn't, but it had just turned malignant. They were able to remove the cancer completely through surgery. I was so lucky. But I really believe that luck had nothing to do with it. I was meant to live. I lost my left ovary and my appendix.
However, my grief didn't end there. I experienced the most dreaded complication of surgery (particularly abdominal surgery) -- complete disruption of operation wound. I didn't heal after surgery. When the staples were removed, I opened right up. I was left with a hole in my gut the size of a bowling ball. I had to have emergency bedside surgery while wide awake. They had to cut out all of the sutures, some dead tissue, and stuff me full of gauze. (I can sympathize with turkeys!) I felt everything. Hands in my guts. Knives and scissors. Cutting. Ugh. It was my worst nightmare come to life. Shortly after, I was put on a wound vacuum. I had to visit a wound clinic three times a week for excruciatingly painful dressing changes and mini-operations (dead tissue had to be cut out every week and pig skin would have to be grafted into place). I was wounded for 9 months.
But it was because of that nightmare that I went through and survived, that I realized how strong I really was/am. If I could go through all of that and live to tell the tale, then what else was I capable of? While I was wounded, I vowed to lose the weight. And not just the weight that I gained with the tumor, but I promised to completely change my entire life.
Fortunately and unfortunately, this was in direct alignment with what I needed to do. In April 2013, shortly after the wound had closed, I found out that my body was in the process of developing a second cancer -- uterine cancer. It was caused by the same hormonal imbalance that was responsible for the tumor. The good news was that there were no actual cancer cells yet, but unless I got my hormones in check -- cancer would be the inevitable result. The bad news was that I also have a blood clotting disorder (Factor V Leiden), and hormonal treatments would put me at a great risk for blood clots. So, I was only left with one option to treat this imbalance: Weight loss/nutrition/exercise. So, I hopped to it!
I didn't join a gym or a special diet program. I ate what I knew I was supposed to eat, counted my calories, and sweated it out every day at home.
Not only have I lost 121 pounds, but I've already prevented the cancer from developing. I've got 59 more pounds to lose before I reach my goal weight. I have an upcoming scar revision surgery as well as loose skin removal surgery. I am the HAPPIEST I have ever been. And I couldn't have done it without the angels by my side.0
WOW you are so amazing you made me cry. I am so happy for you honey, althought I am sorry about all the trials you have gone through GOD knew you were a strong enough person to endure all of that. Anyway, congrats to you and you are such a beautiful girl. Thank you for the inspiration!!0
:happy: Fantastic !0
I can't get the inspiring vibe from this story. How long you were not heard, not diagnosed, ignored, not listened to fills me with bitterness. I am thinking of those that didn't get ... well, lucky isn't even the right word. It is downright depressing to read such horrible reality. That does not take anything away from your fantastic attitude and the will to carry on. May whatever you believe in bless you, and I wish you the better life that you deserve.0
I am in tears. You are so strong and couragous. You have a wonderful story of strength. God bless you. And THANK YOU for sharing this has really inspired me.0
Wow...what an incredible story. You had one hell on an angel looking over you. Your spirit and strength are an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing. Congrats on the weight loss!0
I just joined this site a couple of days ago, and have been reading for inspiration, and man did I ever find it by reading your story!
I am so sorry for all of the things you have endured, but you have definitely showed that no matter how bad it seems, it's never too late to change for the better!!
I pray for a long, wonderful, fulfilling life for you, and thank you for sharing your truly amazing and inspirational story!0
You are amazing! Thank you for being willing to share your story! You are very inspiring! Our daughter had cancer at 3 yrs old which was hard to detect as well.. so many trips to the doc. Cancer is definitely an experience that can change your life forever, and you have used it (many times) to become stronger! Way to go! You are very strong! Keep it up and always remember your great worth!0
I can't get the inspiring vibe from this story. How long you were not heard, not diagnosed, ignored, not listened to fills me with bitterness. I am thinking of those that didn't get ... well, lucky isn't even the right word. It is downright depressing to read such horrible reality. That does not take anything away from your fantastic attitude and the will to carry on. May whatever you believe in bless you, and I wish you the better life that you deserve.
An interesting take on my story. The first response like this. Bitterness is something that I still deal with from time-to-time. But I had to make a choice: I could either let what happened destroy me and ruin the rest of my days or I could give myself what I truly deserve -- happiness. Obviously no outside source was going to give it to me. So, like I said, I had to give it to myself. And I have.
Honestly, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet. But it wasn't just luck. It was destiny and it was the will power and determination not to just survive the cancer, but to heal, and to thrive. I get to have my happy beginning. It started the second the tumor was taken out of my body and my happiness flourishes now.
I'm falling in love now. I never thought I'd get the chance to experience this. I thought I was going to die without ever finding it. I thought all my best days were behind me. But it wasn't so. How can I stay bitter now? How can I be anything other than blissfully happy? Most people don't appreciate the things that they have, but I do in such a profound way. I feel like I'm living in a fairy tale. So I hope that the bitterness YOU feel after reading my story goes away after reading this. Love makes up for everything, and not everyone gets the chance to find love. But I do. The most amazing part? I have love now because I gave it to myself first.0
Beautiful. Just beautiful!0
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