This past Monday, I turned 40 years old. Now in the grand scheme of things, that isn’t really old, but I am looking forward to my 40’s. My 30’s are my “lost” decade. I was very sick in my 30’s and spent a great deal of time trying to change my lifestyle and my health so that I could enjoy my 40’s. I first started noticing health concerns in 2005.
A little background about me, I have always been heavy, just who I am, but pretty active for my size. I never lived what you would call a healthy conscious lifestyle, I worked, I ate lunch and supper, I drank socially and I smoked. I live my life on my terms, pretty stubborn and set in my ways.
Ok enough of that… back on topic, first inclinations that something might be wrong was early in 2005. I was noticing odd dizziness, heart palpitations and at weird times. Sometimes just rolling over in bed would make me dizzy…this was odd, but not really concerning. Over time, progressively became more noticeable, like when getting out of my car, and having to hold onto the door until I would stop spinning. Sometimes it was over immediately, sometimes I felt unsettled for hours afterwards.
This continues on for a couple of years, and I am noticing weight gain, but at this time I was working at a more physical job than I had been previous, so was baffled at the weight gain. Fall 2007 rolls around, and I am done in. Physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted. Depression and mood swings are hitting me hard, and I am just plain tired, lethargic… done. Still not really sure what’s going on, I am returning from a trip to Regina, driving by myself and I black out while driving. i awake on the other side of the highway barreling into oncoming traffic. WAKE UP CALL!
FInally, have had enough, go to the doctor. Tests are done, and a decision was made to refer me to the Sleep Clinic in Regina. Appointment made, 6 months later get the call for assessment. Long story short, I have severe sleep apnea. I quit breathing more than 110 times an hour, and have been suffering it since early 2005. With sleep apnea, it is impossible to lose weight, in fact you gain it, as your body never goes into REM sleep, and your body is so starved for energy, it stores everything…hence gaining weight. I gained over 100 pounds in the 3 years I had untreated sleep apnea. I was prescribed a V-PAP machine, and began using immediately. Within a few days of the machine “breathing” for me while I slept, I felt like a new woman, totally reborn. I was amazed at how much sleep really affects everything in your life. Not just your physical self, but you emotional and mental self as well. How you relate to your surroundings and the people in your life is all affected as well.
Fall 2007 I quit smoking. I had enough, I was sick, I was tired, and I wasn’t sure if I would live to see 50, that’s how terrible I felt. Even felt like packing it in a couple of times, that’s how low I was. Again, my Doc, puts a bug in my ear about bariatric surgery to combat all the extra weight gained from the sleep apnea, and a plan was presented.
Weight Wise Clinic in Edmonton, Alberta was where I was referred to. I travelled there many times over the next 3 years as I learned about nutrition, and how my body worked in regards to foods, exercise, mood and so on. I was approved for Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass which I had May 5, 2011.
January 2014 I had plastic surgery to remove excess skin and to this day I have lost over 170 pounds. I have been off the V-PAP for a full year, and have completely reversed the sleep apnea. I am literally half the woman I used to be, and am proud to say I am smaller now than I was in highschool….so, 40 is my new 30.
Now it’s time to do that decade up properly. The miracle of modern science, the insight by my personal Doctor, support of the Weight Wise Clinic Doctors and staff, and support of family and friends has made the last 10 years although difficult at times, ultimately bearable and has given me the opportunity to live my life healthier, happier and God willing…LONGER!
So peeps, if you have a milestone birthday coming up, just remember…things can always be worse. Be grateful everyday for what and who you have, have faith in yourself and never give up. Take it from me (stubborn is as stubborn does) if I can change, than It can happen.