I'll start by saying that I am from a large family with 6 children. By the age of 12 my 2 older brothers were calling me a lardo and tubby. I was probably about 5'5 and 115 lbs. at the time. My 3 sisters were thinner than me. I started exercising like crazy and trying to lose weight. It only made me firmer but not thinner. I didn't know how to diet at the time and ate whatever was put on the table. My mom was a great cook and fried lots of food with homemade desserts and biscuits almost every day. I was athletic and played basketball through high school. I was a lifeguard throughout my high school years. I went to college at the University of Oklahoma and during my freshman year put on 16 lbs. which put me up to 151. I felt really big at this weight. I was engaged to an anesthesiologist that watched every bite I took and wanted in a pre-nup that I'd never weigh over 150. By this time, I was stressed with nursing school and definitely eating too much pizza. I got up to 182 and went on WW and lost back to 151 and was never able to get below that. Me and the doctor split and I was pregnant. He moved out 3 weeks before the baby was born. I only gained 20 lbs. with pregnancy and took it off quickly. Then the stress of working full-time as an RN and raising a child by myself hit. I got up to 200 lbs. I had a rotten self-esteem at this time and when my son was 18 months old, I married a man that I had nothing in common with. It was horrible, but I stuck it out for 5 yrs. I again became pregnant and my husband left when I was 4 months pregnant. (This was at my insistence). Again I didn't gain much during pregnancy but the months following with 2 children to raise alone and work full-time really affected me. I got up to 237 lbs. my all time highest weight. I went to a weight loss DR. and was put on Phen/Fen. I lost about 90 lbs. in 7 months. I didn't know anything about maintenance. Once I reach goal, I started back my old way of eating and the lbs. slowly crept back on at at a rate of 10 to 15 lbs. a year. I met a new husband during this time, and stayed married only 3 months and 6 days due to his drinking and staying out late at night. (I have definitely been a bum magnet). I met my current DH while I was about 200 lbs. and wearing mostly a size 16. He was fine with my weight. I wasn't so again, off to a diet doctor I went. I weighed 210 at the time and with the diet pills lost down to 185. I got sick from the medicine and passed out at work . So, I quit taking them. I maintained this 185 lbs. for about 2 yrs. and then I got very sick. I noticed that I was horribly tired all the time and I had developed a rash all over my body that itched like crazy. I went to the doctor and was told that I had chicken pox. The rash wouldn't go away and I tried every cream and lotion on the market. Went to see the doctor again and this time was sent to a dermatologist who said I had poison ivy. It still wouldn't go away even with the medrol dose packs. So, I was put on prednisone. I kept itching and went to the doctor again and they noticed that my liver enzymes were abnormal. Blood pressure was sky high. I was having some shortness of breath and edema in my lower extremeties. The doctor then said I had disseminated shingles. He did order an US of my liver and didn't show anything. He also ordered a liver biopsy. The biopsy was sent to St. Louis to hepatology specialists and came back as PBC (Primary Biliary Cirrhosis ) with an underlying Auto-Immune Hepatitis. Most people don't know what PBC is, I didn't either. It is a liver disease that affects mostly women (90%of the time). It usually occurs between the ages of 35-50. The number one symptom is severe fatigue and rash is a close second. It happens in women with no history of alcohol or drug abuse. The only real cure is a liver transplant. This was very disheartening to learn. My mom died of liver failure at the age of 59 and the doctors think that she probably had the same thing. She also didn't drink or use drugs. I was eventually put on 40to 60 mg. of prednisone daily to control the rash. I was also put on diuretics for Congestive Heart Failure, 8 blood pressure pills a day , Urso for my liver , 2 inhalers for my breathing, Diabeta for high glucose levels, Calcium and Potassium, Nexium, Lorazepam for sleeplessness due to the itching. With all the steroids I gained almost 50 lbs. in 3 1/2 yrs. To reach my 234 lbs. I changed hepatologist due to a change in insurance. The first thing my new specialist did was tell me to "get on a low-carb diet and stick to it and walk 20 minutes 4 times a week. I cried like a baby. Surely he could see that i could barely walk into his office. I was needing help at home to shower and move around. Couldn't even go outside to get the mail without getting winded. I started Atkins on June 24, 2005 and started walking just short distances with someone always with me in case I couldn't make it. The weight started dropping quickly and my exercise picked up. Within a month or so, I could make it 15 minutes. When I went back to see the specialist 4 months later, I was down to 200 which was 34 lb. loss and he was ecstatic. I told him I was doing Atkins. He looked surprised because most all of his patients are on South Beach Diet. I told him that I had included LC whole wheat , Oats, and plenty of fresh fruits. I couldn't give up everything. But, the weight was coming off and he said "keep doing exactly what is working for you". He drew my liver enzymes and they were down to 400 from an intial of 1000 and I was so glad. I saw him again 4 months later and was down another 31 lbs. to 169. This time my Blood pressure meds were drastically reduced and I no longer needed the inhalers. My diuretic was cut in half. My prednisone was gradually reduced to 20 mg. daily. I was feeling better than I had felt in years. I asked what he wanted me to weigh and he said 150. My BMI was 36 to start with and at about 26 on this appt. I am 5'7 and I told him that I wanted to try to reach 145 for my own personal goal. He said that he would support me 100%. I saw him last Friday for my regular appointment and I weighed 147. My blood pressure was 111/65 with a heart rate of 68 (it had been 160 to start with). He was again so thrilled with my progress. This time I told him of all the help and encouragement that I have received here at 3FC's. He wrote it down and said he will pass it on to his other patients that need help with weight loss. My liver enzymes are now down to 100, the best they've been in years. My liver was Stage 111 on initial diagnosis and it hasn't worsened. Stage IV is when the transplant becomes immediately needed from what he has said. He did say that for my enzymes to have came down this drastically that I must have had fatty liver disease as well. I am sorry to bore everyone with my medical history but I want others who may be sick to KNOW that weight loss can tremendously help a very sick body such as mine was. Yesterday morning, I reached my 145 goal. I am so happy and so much healthier now. I feel like I will live to see my DD graduate high school. As I mentioned under my new goal pic's. The first pic of me was nearly at my deathbed. The local doctors had even asked my DH if he'd make me a DNR and he never told me until I was a lot healthier. Thanks so much to everyone for the support I have received and know that you all weren't just helping me achieve a thinner body, You all were my LIFELINE.
Wow Lily. You are truly an inspiration.
Hats off to one **** of a courageous woman.
You are such a brave woman to have pulled through all of these obstacles in your life. Thanks so much for sharing your story with all of us.
I am so happy that you have worked so hard to create a better YOU!
Lillybelle, I didn't know all the details of your medical situation. just being able to come through all the personal "stuff" is amazing enough, then add in your health problems. Wow ! You sure are courageous and brave. It sounds like you have a great husband too!
I wish you continued good health and happiness!
Thanks everyone for sharing in my happiness. I am thrilled with how my health has changed. I enjoy the new clothes and smaller body but my health was always my #1 concern that kept me going. I forgot to mention just how wonderful my husband has been through all this. While I was very sick, I'd see the tears in his eyes and it would break my heart. He has given me so much support and told me so many times that he loves me no matter what my weight is. He never pushed me to be thin and if he had, I would have just crumbled. He gave me unconditional love. He is so proud of my accomplishment. It took me many years of kissing toads before I found my prince. Our 8th anniversary is this month and I plan to make it a special one.
Lilybelle, I'm speechless! You've literally saved your own life. What a story! Thank you for sharing it. I hope you have many years of health and happiness ahead of you, and no more "bum magnet" stories!
Falling down is not failure....Failure is staying down. Save the Earth, it's the only planet with chocolate and wine.
It isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.
9 years at or under goal weight! Working Maintenance Everyday
Thanks so much for all the kind words from each of you. The support here has been incredible and has helped me stay on track. Good luck to everyone else with weight loss and maintenance. Also, no more bums for me, I have had my quota.