My Journey Begins

Posted: December 31, 2010 by sneakerporndiaries in Uncategorized

Overweight. Plump. Thick. Round. Well nourished (that was my favorite). Obese. Morbidly obese. Obese with co-morbidities.


My mom had gastric bypass three years ago. It’s no secret I was mad at her for doing so. I thought gastric bypass was a cop-out, an easy out for losing weight. Mom said it hurt her I would think that way, and I told her this: I just didn’t ‘get’ why she made that choice. Although I didn’t then, I completely get it now.

Since I was about twenty I have been lunking around 350 pounds (give or take), or about two hundred pounds more than my body was created to carry. To give you a greater idea of what that feels like, tie ten twenty-pound bags of potatoes to yourself and take a walk around the block. Can’t do that? Walk down the driveway. Still can’t do that? Walk around the living room. Sit in a chair, then get up. If you tie five more of those ten pound bags to yourself in addition to the first twenty, you’ll have a really good idea of what I’m facing should I continue to ignore the obvious.

My cholesterol is borderline, the doctor would like it lower. I have borderline high blood pressure. Simply put, it bounces around, but not enough to necessitate medication. I’m a prime candidate for diabetes because I carry all of my weight around my middle. My risk for various cancers has increased. My doctor said I have more vitamin deficiencies than anyone else he’s treated (my weight loss doctor). I have bi-lateral chondromylatia (the bottom of my kneecaps grind because the cartilidge has worn down). I discovered I had this after I got out of high school, but the added weight had progressed the condition substantially. I have the early onset of arthritis in both knees, and they’re out of alignment. I have a tear in my left knee. I’ve dislocated and broken my left arm because I fell and “all” of me landed on the shoulder. There are two bulging disks at L4 and L5. My legs go numb starting at the thighs when I stand for more than a few minutes. I have a thinning issue with my hair.

I have one friend I hang out with here in Michigan…one. She’s one of two people outside of my family who does not make me uncomfortable when we go out. Even though it’s been well over a year since we’ve been able to sit in a booth like normal people. I drive an SUV because I can’t fit into a little car. The last time I was able to wear a pair of jeans was the summer of 2009. When I went on vacation in October and November I had to ask for a seatbelt extender on the plane. I’m back to shopping in the men’s section at Kmart for shirts because I can’t find something long enough off the rack, or I have to buy clothes in a specialty shop…which costs twice as much…and even then finding things that fit a tall fat person is incredibly difficult. I haven’t been asked out on a real date in four years. And trust me, I know others are embarrassed to be around me. Which I think is shallow, but I guess I “get” that too.

So for all my thin friends who think my personality is great enough to overshadow my weight issues, it’s not.

This a miserable place for me to be in. Going out doesn’t happen, I typically go straight home from work and not leave the house. Even going to church gets difficult some days. And those who know me well know a relationship with God is super important to me. I’m embarrassed to be around my friends, or meet customers through work, or get involved in other activities because I’m very well aware my toes disappeared quite some time ago.

I’ve built a new team of doctors around me, and those doctors who have experience with medical weight loss – well, their experience spans twenty years. The same amount of time I’ve been overweight. For the past year and a half I’ve researched surgical weight loss options. Through tons of information from my mom, Matthew (my little brother), guidance from my doctor and nutritionist I have decided to have gastric bypass surgery.

And I’m excited!

I’ve found a new gym. The staff knows why I’ve joined, what is coming up, and what some of my goals are. The first question out of the trainer’s mouth was, “Do your family and friends support you? Do you have a support system? Who are they?” Nobody else in the gym world has asked me this, and it was a deal clincher. I have a consultation with the surgeon on January 12th. Sometime after this I expect to get a surgery date. My hope is to have it scheduled before the end of March.

In connecting online through a web site my doctors office suggested I discovered Dan Benintendi. You can get more of his story through his web site. He’s become my hero, and I’ve deemed myself his biggest fan. I’ve also made him a promise, which is to do a biking event before the end of 2011.

So here it begins, my journey on a new chapter of my life. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about it through my blog as much as I’m going to enjoy embarking on it.

Peace from the “D” (that’s Detroit, for those of you who aren’t familiar with mid-west slang).

-Traci McGowan

  1. Michelle Z says:

    Thank you for being so honest Traci. Beautifully raw, and I am blessed to know you!

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