My name is Trish Robichaud and I'd love to connect with you. I'm almost 47 yrs old, I've recently been diagnosed with diabetes and am seriously considering weight loss surgery. I also live with multiple sclerosis, major depression & high blood pressure.
Here's my story...
I've been obese most of my adult life. Always overweight as a child, I grew up "knowing" that there was something wrong with me. I'm sure some of you will identify with my story. My weight was always an issue...
---> for our family doctor that told my mom to get me on a diet when I was only 5yrs old,
---> for my mom who was perpetually trying to restrict my eating because she didn't want to be judged by our doctor,
---> for my father who stopped paying much attention to me after the cute "chubby" toddler years,
---> for my brother who sometimes had to deal with mean-spirited kids and their labeling his older sister,
---> for the boys who I would have liked to befriend who didn't want to be seen with "the fat girl",
---> for my grade 4 teacher who called me "fatty Pattie" in front of my entire class,
---> for the girls in my class who didn't want to "hang" with me because I wasn't built like them, and worst of all
---> for me because I judged myself harsher than any of them.
My entire life has been ruled by food or my weight in one way or another. I still remember being 6 or 7 yrs old and sneaking out of my room at night after everyone had gone to sleep. Raiding the fridge was my mission and then taking the "booty" back to my room to hide and eat was my reward. I still get a "high" now from climbing into bed with a "pile" of food. I binge eat when I'm sad, when I'm happy, to celebrate, to console myself, when I'm bored and when I'm anxious. I've never had the courage to purge after binging so I just keep packing it on.
By the time I got to about age 10 or so, my mom had also developed a weight problem. I think by then my parents marriage had begun to crumble. She was trying desperately to lose the weight she'd put on. Finally deciding to try the "liquid protein diet" of the 70's she had the brain-wave to put me on it too. By the 3rd day I thought I was going to die. What kind of message do you think a 10 yr old gets when mom puts her on a starvation diet and refuses to let up until the kid can't get out of bed? I've long since forgiven her for that but I have to acknowledge the destructive impact that my "inner child" sustained from that experience.
Having been diagnosed with depression in my early 20's, I can look back and see that the illness was with me for many years before that. I recall one Saturday when I was about 12 yrs old crying uncontrollably and not knowing why while my mom yelled "What's wrong with you? You have everything a girl your age could possibly want!" I had no answer. It's clear to me now that my mom was living a manic-depressive lifestyle and I had learned my unhealthy self-perception and coping strategies from her.
She was diagnosed with diabetes years later and eventually ate herself to death (in my opinion). Turning agoraphobic, she rejected the outside world for having rejected her (in her perception). My parents destructive and she never got over it, even 20 yrs after their split. Needing 2 to 3 insulin injections per day, she lived on popcorn and mars bars for much of the last year of her life. In the end she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had already metastasized to her liver, bones & brain stem by the time they found it. Not because they missed it but because she would have a panic attack anytime she thought about leaving her apartment and would inevitably cancel her doctors appointments. There's no doubt in my mind that the toxicity of her diet in those final years played a pivotal role in the development of her cancer. She was one of my best friends and I miss her deeply.
Me, I've been on just about every diet known to man. I lose some, I gain it back. I lose some, I gain back more. And again and again and again. I actually did manage to lose 90lbs in 7 months on Nutri-System in 1993. 1 week after I hit my goal weight I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Talk about feeling like a kick in the head as a reward for losing the weight. I felt like my body had betrayed me. Straight to McDonalds I went every time I had to see my neurologist. It took me 18 months but I gained it all back as I went through repeated bouts of blindness, months on end of vertigo and severely diminished ability to walk from the couch to the bathroom.
In 2001, after 8 years of more relapses than remissions with the MS, I finally started making some healthier lifestyle choices and things started to turn around with my health. I went back to school, started my own business as a Life Coach and started really enjoying life. My MS was stable, my weight was stable, my depression was in check and it felt like all was right with the world. My confidence was building every step of the way and I became passionate about teaching others that you can live with an incurable illness and still have a great deal of control over your quality of life.
Then in 2007 my mother died, 6 weeks after her diagnosis. I put on another 30 lbs that year. The stress and the grief seemed intolerable, I ended up on anti-anxiety medication for a while for the first time in my life. 6 months later I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I got through it all, staggering at times (emotionally and physically) but I did get through it. I learned a lot about grief and my own spirituality and became a stronger person in the end.
Then in 2009 my father died, 5 weeks after been admitted to the hospital for a strep infection. Wow, did that rock my world! I'm still reeling a little from that loss but I'm pushing forward with my work and my life.
Both my parents were diabetic and both had had heart disease that necessitated surgery. And now I'm diabetic too, with not only a physical risk of stroke and heart disease but a strong genetic one as well. The weight has been a demon on my back all my life. I've never managed to rid myself of it, even using all the tools, programs and plans I've had at my disposal and made us of. I feel like I've exhausted all my options, except one - weight loss surgery. I truly hope that this is the answer; the action I need to take to derail my health from taking the same journey that both my parents traveled. God willing, I will find the resources I need to proceed from here.
Anyone have any experience with weight loss surgery that they want to share with me?
Thanks for "listening".