Canada Medical Experience: My Obese Life
I was a bean pole when I was a kid. I was in every type of sport imaginable and at the age of 14, I hurt my back figure skating and then my skid began. While my mom took my sister to summer figure skating, I stayed home, idle, and ate peanut butter and sugar sandwiches and chocolate milkshakes. I ballooned! I’ve been tall (5’10") but in grade 12, I weighed 170 pounds and looked great. Back then I thought I was fat! Oh to be 170 again.
In my early 20’s I continued always
with my eating for comfort regime until I got to about 230 pounds. In my late 20’s, I met and dated someone who I thought was good for me. I started losing weight during our relationship. I got back down to 175 in a year and 5 months. What I didn’t realize was the relationship was hurting me. It was a very stressful union but being young and naïve, I was oblivious to this fact. I finally ended the relationship and felt great for the first time in a long time.
At 29, I met my husband. He was wonderful to me. I became comfortable in the relationship so I began eating again and put all my weight back on and then some. When I got married at 31, I was a whopping 250 pounds. My first daughter arrived 2 years later and with the help of nutritionists I only gained 2 pounds during my pregnancy. I also developed gestational diabetes during the 9 months. My second daughter arrived when I was 35 years old. During this pregnancy, I again became gestational diabetic. So with the help of a nutritionist, I only gained 11 pounds.
When I turned 40, I decided to have weight loss surgery in the form of "gastric banding". I searched the web and emailed a weight loss centre in Ontario and they told me about a doctor here in Surrey, BC that performs this procedure. I’m not getting my hopes up as I know how fragile I am regarding this subject but I made the call and they’re sending the information to me. Investigating this procedure further, I found that gastric banding isn’t approved by MSP so in order to go this direction, you have to pay for the procedure which is $16,000. Since I don’t have money like that, I decided to go the route that is approved by MSP. I found out about a doctor in Vancouver, BC who was getting the approval to perform the technique so I made an appointment to see him. It was going to take me 13 months to get in to see him but I was on a path to future success.
Literally, 2 days before my appointment, the doctor’s office called and cancelled my appointment. They said that the funding for the treatment was no longer available. Are you kidding me? Do they have any idea how fragile obese people are? This was devastating news. I was a mess. I didn’t know what else to do. I found a website for obese people and joined the forum. I learned about a doctor in Victoria, BC who was performing the procedure so I got my GP to get me a referral and in 6 months I was taking the ferry ride to the Island to meet with him. First thing I noticed were the chairs. They were actually were big enough in the waiting room for me to sit in comfortably and that everyone in there were a lot bigger than I was. For the first time since I was in my early 20’s I felt like I didn’t belong there because I wasn’t big enough.
My appointment lasted 30 minutes but I was there for two hours. He had me speak with two of his success patients so I could ask questions and they could tell me their stories. After finding out all the pros and cons from these two lovely people, I decided to go ahead with the procedure. I went to the receptionist and asked for them to proceed and get me on their waiting list. She told me the list was 5 years long. OMG! What is this? Are you kidding me? I took a breath, thought about it and realized that I’ve waited this long, what’s 5 more years. In the meantime, I could try to lose the weight myself and then I could take myself off the list. 2 years into the waiting game, I received a call from the doctor’s office telling me that the doctor was reducing his hours because the hospital reduced his operating room hours. This meant that it was going to take a lot longer to have my procedure because he was going to take on the patients who were in the most need. I can’t begin to tell you how that made me feel. It’s impossible to put it into words. It felt like my last chance to ever feel normal again just went out the window.
I am now 49 and weigh 285+ pounds. I’m afraid of stepping on the scale now because I know that if it ever read 300 pounds, I would go into deep depression. For the last 2 years I’ve already been medicated for depression and I know the number "300" would do it in for me. I would eat so much that I’d gain more and more weight. I’ve now been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes but am able to stay medication-free so far just by diet even though my eating habits aren’t that great. It’s hard to be good when you feel so bad. What I have decided though is that I’m not going to let this do me in. I’m still trying and will keep trying all my days. I know I’m a thin person inside and don’t deserve this fate and I’m determined to find myself, eventually.