Sunday, November 15, 2015

Welcome to my Journey

Hi! I’m Kaitlynn. I’m writing this because I’m on a journey, and I wanted to invite you to join me. I don’t know how long it will take, and I’m not sure where it will lead, but I’ll know when I get there.
I’m 24 years old, and I live with my older sister, Amanda, my cousin, S, and my sisters two kids, Mishka* and Bug*. Oh! And my cat, Lucy, she’s three.
My journey began, most recently, in February 2014, when I realized that whenever I ate pork, or anything prepared with pork, I got sick. So, to stop getting sick, I stopped eating pork. Now, I’m a relay picky eater, so I didn’t eat much variety, but I did eat a lot of the pepperoni, breakfast sausage, and of course, bacon. Bacon cheeseburgers, bacon pizza, bacon and eggs, you name it. But when I quit pork I started to lose a bit of weight. Not a lot, and certainly not enough, but still. It was a start.

Then a year went by. I didn’t change any other habits, and the small steps I’d made by quitting bacon were overshadowed by the rest of the poor choices I was making. I started gaining more and more weight. It was March 2015 and I was at my heaviest: 387 pounds. What?!? 387 pounds? How did that happen? So as I stared at the numbers on the scale I realized I needed to do something.

The first thing I did was to sit and think about my relationship with food, really think. What I ate, how I ate and so forth. As I’m contemplating this, I reach for another sip of my Mountain Dew. As the drink hits my tongue, I cringe. And I realize, this isn’t the first time that’s happened. Every time I drink soda, I cringe. I became aware of the fact that I don’t like the taste of soda. So why, if I don’t like it, am I drinking my third can for the day?

I decided to quit drinking soda. It wasn’t hard, not only was I unemployed with a small income from unemployment benefits, but I didn’t miss the taste. I started drinking more and more water. And I started losing weight. A decent amount of it.

By the end of April, I had lost ten pounds. The only change I made was quitting soda, and it lost me ten pounds in a month. By the end of June I was down more than 20 pounds. It was summer, I was hopeful. I always seem to lose weight in the summer, just because I go to the beach so much.

But then I got sick and I was admitted to the hospital for a week. And while I was in the hospital I got into a fight with the sister I was living with at the time. I was unemployed and my benefits ran out. I was actively seeking a job but was having no luck. She had a new boyfriend, and he wasn’t happy with the living arrangements. So she decided to kick me out, leaving me stranded and homeless.
In June, I had seen a doctor about bariatric surgery. My sister Butterfly had it done in January 2014. At first, I scoffed and thought it was “cheating.” But when she lost 150 pounds in one year, I started asking questions. I learned a lot about the process and what made her lose the weight. I realized the surgery was just a tool. I’ve seen others have the same surgery and not lose any weight. But my sister changed her entire diet, and exercise regime. She made herself work hard and she saw results.

So I asked for the referral. I went to the mandatory seminar and set up my first appointment. I went to see the doctor and was told they don’t take my insurance. I was devastated. And I didn’t understand why my doctor would give me the referral and get my hopes up if they didn’t take my insurance.

By the end of July I had a new job. It was horrible. I was working part time and making minimum wage at Dunkin Donuts. It was high stress and very little benefit. But I was also living with my sister A in our current apartment. Things were looking up. But the added stress was wreaking havoc on my mental state. I’ve suffered from depression since I was a teenager, and this job wasn’t helping. I was underappreciated and my boss was an asshole. My depression deepened and things got bleak.

I would regularly sit home on my (many) days off and do nothing. Or I would sleep all day, which was even worse. My weight started going up again and I started feeling hopeless. When my sister Amanda was diagnosed with diabetes, I decided I had to do something. I couldn’t just sit there and keep getting fatter and fatter until I eventually developed diabetes myself or worse, died from a heart attack.

I left my job at Dunkin Donuts for a low stress, slightly higher paying job at a local hotel. I talked to my doctor to see what my options were. If I couldn’t have the surgery, I surely had to be able to do something. But my doctor was flabbergasted when I said they told me they didn’t take my insurance. She assured me, they do take my insurance. She resent the referral. I have my first appointment in December.

So, right now, I’m 24 years old, 370 pounds and on a journey. A journey to health, and hopefully happiness. Join me and can journey together.

*I'm changing my niece and nephew's names because they're young and I don't want to give out their information.

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