Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Reminder of Where My Journey Began.

I'm going to share something intensely personal with you all.  Something I ran across this morning.  Something that finally made me realize just how far I've come.  Approximately 3 1/2 years ago, I was in the process of completing all the prerequisites to have my insurance approve gastric bypass.  One of which was writing a letter explaining why I wanted to do it, despite the risks and sacrifice.  So this is me being completely honest with myself.  I wasn't exaggerating.  I felt I couldn't do it on my own.  That there was no hope. 

To whom it may concern:
My Perspective on Gastric Bypass
The greatest things in life often require the seemingly greatest sacrifices. It only makes sense in the whole scheme of things that what you sow is what you reap. Sometimes, however, people just don’t have the green thumbs required to sow things exactly the right way, and they are left without a thing in the world to show for it. I’m one of these latter people. My whole life I have done all I can to be the person I so desperately long to be. I have succeeded internally for the most part, but a large part of what’s inside of me is inextricably linked to what’s on the outside of me. That’s why I took the first step in seeking out help with this life-altering endeavor. I know that without help I will be destined to be this same person for the rest of my life. This person who despite having a pure heart and a wise mind still cannot truly live her life the way she is entitled to.
Going into this endeavor I have heard far more scary things than good things. I’ve heard so many times “You must…” and “You have to…” I’ve heard of the horrible consequences that will result if I don’t do those things, and I’ve heard of the real people who didn’t listen. I know that it’s about far more than a happy ending. It’s still a long, hard struggle that will be lifelong. I’ve thought about all of these things for a long time: how my life will be permanently changed in good ways and bad, how a major source of stress relief will be gone forever, how the people around me will treat me differently, how I’ll never be free from focusing on food for the rest of my life. I’ve thought of how afterwards I’m going to have to grieve over losing a freedom that most people take for granted. After thinking of all these things, what I come back to is this: I will do anything in the world if it means I will have fewer regrets in my old age, and that I will even see that old age.
The life I’m looking at now is not nearly as promising as it should be. I can’t plan things as simple as my class schedule the way I want to, I can’t live without some sort of pain on a day to day basis, I can’t be free from the all the burdens that being overweight entails. If I don’t lose weight I’ll likely never be able to have children, and even if I somehow did, I might very well never live to see my grandchildren.
The most striking reality came to me at the last bypass support group meeting I attended. A girl who had lost 140 lbs over 7 months was there. She was so happy and healthy. She had been my size before, and here she stood looking what I would consider perfect. She told me of how her life had improved, and how she would do it again. She was such an inspiration. Someone asked her if she ever regretted having the surgery though, and her response just dumbfounded me. She said, “Yeah, but only at family get togethers. I wish I could eat all the food they have there, and I can’t.” I thought to myself, how can this woman who has been given a second chance at life even say that with a straight face? It just made me realize that if that thought ever crosses my mind I’m going to remind myself of how silly she seemed. She was given all the world, and she was complaining about missing out on an hour’s pleasure of enjoying one meal.
The implications of this surgery are so far-reaching that I don’t believe any person who has never been overweight can fully appreciate them. Everyone looking in sees it as a result of vanity, but it isn’t. They don’t know what life is like being morbidly obese. Try as they might they could never fully empathize. When every single minute of every single day of your life is made either painful, emotionally hurtful, unnecessarily frustrating or exhausting, or simply not of the quality that any living individual is entitled to; then you can begin to empathize.
I suppose the bottom line for me is this: dietary restrictions, vitamins, other required medications, and follow-up appointments are by far worth the effort and worth the sacrifice. I’m only going to live once, and it’s up to me how much I make of it. If I want to live the rest of my life being miserable physically and mentally then I very well can, but if I take the initiative to recognize that I cannot do this on my own and that help is out there then I will end up with a far better quality of life. By having a better quality of life I can, in turn, improve the quality of the lives around me as well.
How can I do this?...How can I alter my life so drastically and cope with the changes that will follow? Because I’ve never wanted anything more in my life, because I have people who love me more than anything in the world who are completely committed to seeing that I do make it through this, and because if I don’t do this I’ll be robbing myself and those around of me of years of lifetime that could very well hold things so beautiful I could never begin to fathom. I can and will do this because I want to live. I’m not going to take the gift of life for granted. I’m going to make the best of it. I’m going to give it my all, whatever it takes, and in the end, it will all be worth it.

It will be more than worth it.

With sincerest commitment and a newfound sense of hope for the future,

Brianna Marshall

So that's where I came from.  And today I hit the 130 lbs lost milestone.  I've never seen the 160s in my life.  I used to dream of the 220s.  Before that, I clearly couldn't dream at all.  So no matter how discouraged you may feel.  No matter how daunting it might seem...the same girl that wrote that...did what she considered wholly impossible.  I'm not some super optimistic driven woman.  I was a woman without hope.  A woman who anticipated a life ahead that was full of shame and pain, as her childhood had already been.  But I did it, and you most certainly can too.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!
Audrey Hepburn


  1. Bri - You are SUCH an inspiration. It is because of you that I fully committed to this diet. I have lost 16 lbs now in 5 weeks. I no longer have hot flashes. I no longer have stomach cramps all the time. I feel better already, even with just this little bit lost! I no longer CRAVE sweets and carbs with an insane mind.

    Thank you so much for your honesty and for your words of encouragement. I know I can do this - you have proven it.

    Blessings to you!


  2. So by the time I was at the end of this im now balling my eyes out! I wanna give u the biggest hug ever because your the strongest most gorgeous inside and out woman I know! Im so so so happy you didn't have surgery! You rock because u are determined and you did this girl! You look freaking amazing like Wow x times and you inspire me just so u know! Love u! Ashley<3

  3. What you have written has made this all seem real. I am only eighteen, but since I can remember I have hated the way I looked, driving me to yoyo between desperate extremes of starvation, binge-purge, compulsive eating and self-mutilation. I have never talked about this struggle with anyone, and after years of struggle and no change to show for it, I have decided it MUST stop.

    In September, I start University. I have read your blog. I have seen your photos. I am starting the Attack Phase tomorrow. I will overcome the temptation to just reduce my diet to a permanent attack phase... after reading your journey I now really feel I have the strength to believe that the quick-fix is not the best fix at all.

    And so thank you. You have inspired me, through your words, to believe that the opportunity to change is real, it is reachable. I can do this, even though it will take time. I can do this. I can :)

  4. I am SO SO proud of you Deb! I know you can do it. So glad you are seeing results.

    And thank you again Ashley. You're a true friend, and beautiful inside and out!

    And anon,
    Your comment has affected me more than any I have yet received. It made me truly feel like I'm making a difference in someone's life. You can do this, and I'm so glad you know that now. If you stick with this, and do it properly, then you will be healthier and happier. By your second year of university you'll be an entirely different person, not just because you'll have lost weight but because you'll be so much more aware of just how strong you are. You can do anything you set your mind to. Your weight is just another obstacle on life's path like anything else. You now have a map for getting around it! Keep me updated, and message me anytime. Feel free to add me on Facebook as well. I would love to assist you on your journey.