I’m pleased to present your inspiration for the lucky month of March, Cheryl Ann Borne.
Cheryl is a force of nature, health care expert, advocate, entrepreneur and creator of MyBariatricLife.com.
Check out her story and her blog!
|1. Was there an event or ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ that convinced you to have WLS?
I had deeply considered bariatric surgery for a very long time. Let me tell you, it is very humbling, even humiliating to face one’s self. To truly take ownership that my eating had become so out of control that it nearly killed me. And that I needed a major rerouting of my digestive system in order to get my eating under control. That’s a very sobering fact. I could no longer blame it on family genes, or sugar, or anything outside of myself. And I had lost faith that a diet pill or any other intervention would work except for the surgery.
But the straw that broke the camel’s back, so-to-speak, was a few months later when I was admitted to the hospital. I stayed for 3-nights and left with a diagnosis of diabetes type 2 and hypertension and 5 prescription medications including insulin. Add that to my list of existing co-morbid diseases: celiac disease, depression, acid reflux, and asthma. In total, I was on 9 or 10 prescription medications. I was slowly dying. I knew that. But I chose to live.
I had the surgery in August 2003. And I know with certainty that I would not be here today if I had not taken control of my health and my life.
2. What’s your advice for post ops feeling isolated and losing motivation?
Get in this game for the long haul. Its not a one and done surgery with a return to life as usual. Permanent weight loss requires you to completely change everything that you were doing previously that brought you to this low point in your life. Don’t worry! You don’t have to do it all at once! Just take it one bite at a time. One step at a time. One day at a time.
I firmly believe the best thing that a bariatric patient can do is to have a strong support system. This support system should be multifaceted because the disease of obesity has threads into all areas of one’s life. Consider that the World Health Organization defines “health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” So, build support systems that enhance you in mind, body, and spirit.
Make support groups part of your support system but be sure to expand your support system to include things that lift you up and make you smile. Plus, be sure to get rid of those people, places, and activities that do not support your health and well-being. For example, replace your drinking and eating buddies with group activities that are focused around healthy pursuits.
Every Spring/Summer I stretch myself to try something new. I’ve tried an 8-week adult rowing team, a group belly dancing class, ran a 3k with my family, and attended spiritual retreats with like-minded people. As far as support groups, I tend to gravitate to online support forums and Facebook groups nowadays. But early-on in my journey I gained the most benefit from live group meetings and telephone support.
3. What’s the biggest misconception about WLS?
The big lie is that bariatric surgery is the easy way out.
The truth is, bariatric surgery was the only way out for me. But there was nothing easy about it. Food used to rule my life. I was a couch potato and processed food junkie, morbidly obese in my 30s. I suffered every eating disorder in the DSM from the age of 16 until I had the gastric bypass at 39 years old. It would not have been a life worth living had it not been for the profound love of my family, my mom and dad, my husband and daughter, my brother and his wife, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and my friends.
But the bariatric surgery could not fix my mental and emotional issues with food. That took long and hard work. Had I skipped over it then I would not be where I am today.
Now I love the life I live, and live a life I love.
4. What’s been your greatest challenge after WLS?
There were parts of my life that I hid, for example my bariatric surgery. And situations in which I could not share my feelings. These chains that bound me were self-inflicted, because I was inhibited by the fear of being rejected or judged. And that’s no longer true. I am now able to be my true self, comfortable because I came to a way of being in which I love and forgive myself.
5. Can you share one milestone or NSV that you reached that blew your mind?
I finally launched my website MyBariatricLife.org. It was a dream I had had for several years. Bringing it to life was an arduous task. But I’ve come a long way in healing myself. To truly understand what it means to eat healthy and break this cycle of food abuse was something I had to achieve in my own life. And I am dedicated to helping others defeat obesity and live a life they love. I want to share with people what I have learned through years of experience and experiment. MyBariatricLife.org is my means for doing that. I want to make a difference; I want to help people live healthier lives.