Teresa’s Journey Home The Path Less Taken
May 3, 2003 started out like any other day for me. Busy as always and on my lunch break I stopped by my PCP’s office for my annual physical.
As always I refused to be weighed. After my physical the Nurse Practitioner asked me if I had any questions. It seemed logical to take that opportunity to tell Miss Harper I wanted breast reduction surgery.
She asked what caused me to think that. Of course I explained my recent onset of back pain and shoulder tension.
She looked at me sternly and said I needed bariatric surgery and would make a referral for me.
I asked her if she thought I was fat. It never even registered that the word was offensive until 6 weeks later.
Her reply astonished me, “You have refused to be weighed for over 3 years, have you looked at yourself lately?” My weight that day was 385 pounds.
June 25, 2003 as I drove my Nissan PATHFINDER a deer jumped out in front of the guard rails slamming into the passenger side tire.
This sent my SUV into a tail spin. The car rolled and scooted on its side with me being thrown through the sunroof.
In my path was a large tree and I could see my car was destined to crash. There was no changing that, so I submitted my fear to God and saw a flash of light as if someone had taken a photograph.
It seemed like time stood still making it forever before the actual impact. In reality it could have only been seconds.
Dead did not hurt near as badly as I thought it would. As I raised my hands to feel my face, amazingly enough I could feel my face and I wasn’t dead after all.
Looking up at my car I thought to myself, I can’t fix that! I realized at that very moment that the only thing I can fix is me. Thus began my journey on this path less taken.
It seems as though I am light hearted and maybe even laughing as I write this Life Story. In reality I was seriously affected by the crash.
I was trapped inside a car and had severe claustrophobia. This sat my body into a full blown panic attack on many levels.
I lay trapped with my 385 pound body twisted into a pretzel shape. My foot trapped under the weight of the car.
911 were called and I was cut from the Pathfinder with the “Jaws of Life”. I realized at that very moment my guardian angels deserved a raise. Whatever I was paying them, I needed to double and give them both benefits and perks.
They covered my face and body with a white sheet to cut me from the car, and being severely claustrophobic this was horrific for me. Sadly the reaction to this was worse than the actual wreck.
Seven large adults it took to lift me onto the stretcher and into the ambulance, as I cried out “I am so sorry I am so fat” Suddenly the word fat resonated with me and caused great emotion.
One of the rescue workers had a bead of sweat that fell down on my face and I realized I was so ashamed of my size I could not be “thankful” I survived. I could only feel shame, humiliation and guilt.
Things must change.
6 weeks later on September 11 (yes 9-11 it was an emergency!) my gastric bypass surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Shin. My life as I knew it would never be the same.
One single event set me on this life path, and as they wheeled me to the OR I was very aware of the signs that were there for years.
Not being able to run and play with my children.
Having the abilityto eat 2 Big Macs for one meal, and following it up with Biggie Fries and a Diet Coke.
I could not remember the last time I shopped from the racks, you know the ones that are not plus sized.
Medical problems that ranged from kidney stones, high blood pressure, edema, mitral valve regurgitation with prolapsed, ovarian fibroid tumors and rheumatoid arthritis.
As the OR doors shut behind me, so did this part of my life. Part of me died in the wreck that day and yet a part of me was birthed on that day.
Now I would like to help others who are on their path as we walk each other home.
Where are you on your path? How is your journey, are you enjoying the view or staying focused on the destination?