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My Story
Tale of the Tape
Grand Tally
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Contact Donna

My name is Donna. I was born in Canada and moved to Florida with my family when I was sixteen. I am now 35 years old, happily married with two beautiful children. I have been obese since I was a child. I remember growing up how tough and cruel it was. Kids were mean. I handled it and turned to food for comfort. Why not? I was already fat! Well, before I knew it I was shopping in the plus size section by the time puberty was done with me. 

Like many of you, I have tried a gazillion other weight loss products, diets, exercise crap, and have thrown the money away. I admit it, I am a sucker for every weight loss gimmick that comes my way. Partly because each time I fail at an attempt, I gain the weight back and then some, making me more desperate to lose it again. Hellva cycle!  I am hitting the 300 pound mark, even though everyone else says I don't look like it. It is even strange writing it here, 300 pounds....there is something completely scary about strangers knowing how much I weigh, I don't know why exactly. Perhaps I am afraid of judgment. But at the same time, it is a little liberating, like I don't have to hide it anymore. I have come to terms for the first time with the fact that I am overweight...hell, I am obese! No two ways about that! I am sick and tired of hiding my weight behind baggy clothes, dark clothes, or 'trying to deflect the eyes' with makeup ( after all how many times have I heard I have such a pretty face if only I lost some weight!!! Puke!!).

I think that now I am 'out of the closet' with my weight, it forces me to deal with it. I cannot claim to be ignorant or in denial. I guess that sounds stupid since I see myself in the mirror each day, but my experience has been that I truly and honestly didn't see myself as others saw me. Not that I haven't tried to lose weight before... I have given my money to Jenny Craig, Nutrisystems, Adkins, Weight Watchers, Low Carb, No Carb, Zones, Stop the Insanity, and have bought and taken EVERY supplement and drug for weight loss. They didn't work for me. And talk about exercise crap I have bought over the years!...I mean those infomericals just were calling my name! I guess because I was desperate to keep it together....desperate to 'stay in the closet' about my weight. I would find that I couldn't use the equipment, because I COULDN'T FIT INTO IT! Talk about humiliating! Every diet, every attempt I failed at, and all the weight I lost came back with interest! What a raw deal. So not only do I have a lower self esteem for failing at yet another weight loss attempt, not only am I scared that I am going to have continue my false pretenses of being 'happy' the way I am, and am not only fat, but fatter!!!!!

Ok, so, let me get this straight. I am obese, clinically morbidly obese. I am a walking dead fat chick! and since everything else has failed, and since I feel like a failure, drastic measures are needed ~ weight loss surgery. But Wait! What if it doesn't work? What if I fail at this too? Part of me is scared of these possibilities, but the larger part of me knows that I have come to terms with my obesity, and my past failures, and that this will work because I need help to lose weight! I need medical and professional help. I decide to research my options. I read there are two basic types of weight loss surgery available; the kind Carnie Wilson (and Al Roker) have had called the gastric bypass surgery or the type Sharon Osborne and Ann Wilson have had called the Lap Band surgery.   I spent weeks going through my options between the gastric bypass and the lapband and felt very comfortable with the Lap Band surgery. In fact, a friend of mine came to visit me from California about a month ago, and even though I had known her for years, we became honest about how much we weighed. We were complaining about all the money we had spent on weight loss supplements and programs when she told me about two of her neighbors that had the Lap Band surgery. My friend told me the amazing weight loss she witnessed. There were several reasons why I thought this was the best option for me. It was reversible in case for whatever reason, I knew it could be taken off and my stomach would be left in tact. I didn't feel comfortable have my internal organs permanently altered. Also, there was little scarring since this is done with four or five small incisions. Finally, the side effects were less than the gastric bypass surgery and I found the success rate was very attractive.

I contacted my primary care physician who NEVER HEARD OF THIS SURGERY!!! You have got to be kidding me! So I contacted the manufacturer of the LapBand and they sent me a list of physicians approved for the procedure and found one somewhat close to me. I called the doctor's office and spoke with a really nice nurse, Betty. She explained that this is still new in the USA, although the procedure has been around for sometime, and the FDA approved it for weight loss. So, I reserved my spot at the next seminar. Everyone is required to attend the seminar and learn about the procedure, risks, expectations, etc. I have done so much research that I feel confident in my decision, no second guessing! I am so excited! I have so much hope! My husband is supportive of me and I can't wait to get it done. I go to the seminar and I am overflowing with hope, I want to shout from the mountains about this procedure! I find out that my insurance has given the 'ok' and is picking it up. Fantastic! I  go through all the pre-surgical criteria that is necessary. My surgery is scheduled for Jan 24, 2003. On Jan 23rd, I get the call. That dreaded call. My health insurance has said no. Apparently my employer elected to have that specifically deleted from their contract. Huh? That's right, to keep costs down, my employer has decided to specifically delete weight loss and reduction from the policy. Talk about a let down. I am in disbelief at this point. I am positive that I am a good candidate. So is my surgeon. He wanted to use me in Before and After's and was willing to drastically cut his cost, but the hospital isn't. I can go out of the country, Canada or Mexico to have this done, and that is a real possibility. Here in the USA, the surgery cost about $18,000 for the doctor and hospital. The same package is $8500 in Mexico and about $9700 in Canada. I am very willing to travel to Canada to have this done and would need $10,000 which would include my airfare. I have lousy credit and live paycheck to paycheck. I work full time as does my husband and we are raising our two children. I don't have this kind of cash around. I never thought I would resort to asking for help, after all I always thought I was Supergirl, always trying to help others, but if I want to do this, I need the help of strangers. I am asking for donations, of any amount, to help pay for my surgery. What can I offer you? I will be keeping a diary of my progress so you can see your money working. I will be keeping a grand tab so you can see how close I get to paying for surgery. I will be keeping an online weight loss log with photos. You also have my personal commitment not to let you down. The band, to me, is a tool that will force me to eat less, relearn how to eat correctly, enable me to lose the weight I need to so I can exercise, so I can be healthier for me and my children. So that's it. That's my story.