Linda’s Journey To A Healthy, Happy Life

We would like to introduce you to Linda. Linda had Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery with Dr. Hoehn in December of 2014. Her highest weight was 300 pounds and her current weight, as of December 2018, is 163 pounds. She has dropped 8 pants sizes! Linda has had an amazing journey towards success, health, and life overall. She is here to share her journey!  

“When I was asked to talk about my weight loss journey, I felt compelled to explain the good along with the bad. I want anyone who is reading this to understand that I’ve walked in your shoes my entire life! I feel your pain and I know the hurt; but along with these things comes a light at the end of the tunnel. And if your anything like I was, you are at the crossroad I was. I want you to know there is hope when you feel hopeless and defeated! I’m absolute proof! If anyone would have told me I would be a size 10 at almost fifty I’d called them a liar. Maybe by reading my story you can see what might feel impossible is actually possible!

In 2014, I was forced at the age of 45 to retire from police work. Being a police officer was my life and all I’ve known since I was twenty-two years old. The realization that I had topped the scale at a whopping 300 lbs was almost more than I could bear. My professional life was a complete wreck, no one took me seriously any longer, it seemed I had lost my credibility with every pound packed on. I guess in reality seeing an obese female police officer really isn’t very intimidating after all, right! Nevertheless, regardless of appearances, I was no longer safe. I physically wasn’t able to hold my own any longer much less protect another human life. My health was quickly deteriorating! My personal life and health were spiraling downward. I’d felt like I’d lost my identity as a human being.

Then the most bizarre thing happened as my physical stature increased, I actually became more and more invisible to people. Doors were no longer held open for me as a courtesy and people would walk right past me in line as if I wasn’t there. I became visible when our family went out to eat, I always felt paranoid about how much food I’d put on my plate, because I watched as people judged me. I also very visible at a Bar–Que. Their intentions, as innocent as they may have been, were noticed. I could see friends moving the plastic chairs aside to give me the larger sturdier chair. It started out gradually but I noticed! And when going to a place with a booth, I was always pushing the table away from me so I could fit inside the booth.

Finally, my only respite from life was my precious beloved horse “Dancer”. We could ride for hours and find peace from the world; find my Zen! The very last time I rode my precious Dancer was the day we came off the mountain into the campground, as we rode past several adults sitting by their camp fire one older gentleman loudly asked me the name of my horse, I replied “Dancer”, he responded to me that I should rename my horse to “Dozer” because he can move mountains; I never rode Dancer again. I felt awful! Being so heavy and subjecting him to my weight. That thought hadn’t occurred to me prior to that day. The reality of my mortality had set in. My sleep apnea was so bad I never knew from night to night if I would wake up the next day. My body ached in every single joint. I was perpetually exhausted. Simple everyday tasks were overwhelming. I was a spectator in my own life. Watching my kids play; my granddaughter play. I planned my outings around places to sit down or how much walking was involved. My husband took our kids to events alone. Either I simply couldn’t walk it or couldn’t fit on a ride. Sadly, that is all lost time with my family I’ll never be able to get back; memories that were stolen from me by obesity. I thought I had no options, that being obese was just my fate; the hand I was dealt. Every single diet I tried only left me gaining the weight back plus additional pounds.

Then, I found out about weight loss surgery years prior to actually getting serious about having it done. A friend had gastric bypass and had incredible success. But at that time, I had the mindset that it was the easy way out and the lazy persons way out. Blah Blah Blah! Finally, however once faced with my own mortality I couldn’t look my family in the face and give up without just trying ONE MORE TIME! I Googled weight loss surgery options; started reading options and about different surgeons and the odds of insurance covering the procedure. I just assumed my insurance wouldn’t cover the procedure. I signed up for the consultation at The Bariatric Center of Kansas City! My husband and I discussed the options and decided on the sleeve for me. Once I filled out the paperwork Dr. Hoehn’s staff took care of all the insurance issues. I simply followed their instructions. They literally walked me through a process that I thought was impossible; and they made it possible.

My surgery was December 12, 2014. I’m not going to lie to anyone, this was not easy, and if anyone tells you it is, they are lying. The surgery is exactly what they say it is- a tool! The surgery does not change
your behaviors or the way your brain works. What it does do however is offer you a better then fighting chance to make permanent changes. I think the key to my success has been I’ve followed the main rule and that is always always always PROTEIN FIRST! No matter what. Proteins fill you up fast and keep you full. Plus, another one of the best tools I have is my Fitness Pal app. It’s a life saver. Use it faithfully! And take lots and lots of progress pictures; they are awesome when you hit plateaus. And you will! Keep your course. I thought a few times “Ok this must be it; all the weight I’m going to loose.” But nope just keep your focus and you will get back on track. Stand your ground and watch your body kick into high gear again. Drink tons and tons of water. Let me repeat this! Drink TONS AND TONS OF WATER!! I’m saying this about water because I’ve spent a couple weeks in the hospital for dehydration. Every complication I’ve had with the surgery has been self-inflicted. I got lazy or decided I didn’t need to follow doctor’s orders. Don’t be me! Do what you’re told the first time. Like I said when I started this I was going to give you the good with the bad. Now, I want to tell you about life after Bariatric Surgery! 

The first day I noticed I could move without pain was about at my fifty-pound loss. I woke up and went to the bathroom tossed my jams off, got dressed headed down the stairs and I froze in my tracks midway down the stairs. I felt like I was missing something; like I’d left the oven on at home kind of feeling. And it occurred to me that I had just got out of bed and got dressed with no pain; I wasn’t short of breath. I felt good! It was as foreign to me as learning a new language. My first thought was ok this is a good day. And the next day and the next, every day I noticed something else I could do. I tied my shoes without catching my breath. I wasn’t dragging my feet when I walked anymore. And the list just goes on and on. You will have your own “First days of.” And you will feel like a million bucks. Every goal you reach and every day you are actually participating in your life and are no longer a spectator. My husband and I go on adventures all the time now. But now he’s the one who needs to catch up. I play with my grown kids and our precious granddaughter. Life is beyond anything I’d ever hoped for. I feel absolutely fantastic. Plus, I think I’m looking pretty darn spiffy for a fifty-year-old grandma! Vanity aside my health is fantastic. I have no medical issues to speak of. I have so much I want to tell everyone! I want everyone to feel as good as I do now. But most of all if I could just let everyone know one thing it is to never give up!

Just a little update on my career, well I no longer have the desire to be a patrol officer. But I did get a job as a contractor for the Department of Defense. Guess what folks? I had to take a Navy physical agility test to qualify. I ran against men younger then my kids and I kicked butt! Not bad for an old gal! : )”

Thank you so much for sharing Linda! We are happy for all of the success you have had and we love seeing your confident smile! 🙂 If you are considering or interested in weight loss surgery click this link to sign up for our free no obligation weight loss seminar.