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Amanda Stottlemire – Inspirational Story

We all start our journeys at different places, I started mine at a very early age. I’ve always been the biggest in the room, always and even 170 lbs later I still feel the same way. About 5 years ago I started to realize that the cycle of diets, starvation, and fads did nothing. I’d lose 20 or 30 pounds then stall – get frustrated and cheat. The cheating would cause the cycle to swing the other way. Pretty soon, I was staring down 400 pounds and wondering what I should do about it. I had a totally unhealthy cycle of mental thought that kept me pinned to the weight and climbing. I wasn’t worth what everyone else was. I wasn’t capable of doing some things that my friends were, and that was ok – I just told myself it was just because we were all different. But, that’s not what it was. I was holding myself back. In September of 2016, at 436 pounds I knew that all had to change. I started the process to qualify for surgery. I worked through my surgeon and insurance company’s qualifications. Even with all that said, I was still woefully unprepared for the changes in my life. February 2017 I had surgery, everything went like clockwork. I hated prep, but I survived. After surgery things seemed – dare I say, easy. I had no complications, but stuck as close to my surgeons rules as humanly possible. If I could give people one bit of advice it would be that. FOLLOW YOUR DOCTORS DIRECTIONS. In truth, things can and do happen, but you can make life a whole lot easier if you do. About 2 months post op, I hit a wall. I was angry and anxious all the time, snapping at nearly everyone – mostly my husband. When I went in for my physical with my primary physician we had a very frank conversation and determined the best option would be to try some anti-anxiety meds and counseling. You cannot underscore the importance of your mental health on this journey. If you need to find someone to talk to along the way – PLEASE make sure you do. So let’s talk about Family. Let’s talk about the most open and giving community I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Because it is. We are truly a family, we curse – we laugh- we cry, but through it all – we have each other’s back. We are a support system. A safe place to vent, to cry, to find your inner power. I don’t know what I would have done without family. I can’t talk about my surgery journey without talking about it. I hope no matter where you are in the process you find the best path for you. We are here. We welcome you. #OhanaStrong

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Jayme Allen – Inspirational Story



I’ve shared my story before with everyone but for the newbies. Here it goes. When I was 5 years old I had a knot show up on my right shoulder that was malignant melanoma they removed it and after I started gaining weight But ever since I was in 6th grade I’ve been bigger then everyone else. Also my whole life I’ve dealt with back and leg pain. Sometime worse then others. I broke my ankle when I was 35 and had to wear a cast. By the time I got the cast off my back and legs were killing me. The cast and the way I had to move around caused it to hurt. Well the cast went and the pain didn’t. So with a MRI they found out I have Spinal Bifida Occulta, my spine is fused in my lower back within that area 2 buldging,and 2 herniated disc, and Epidural Lamatosis. The pain is hell at times. Well while dealing with my back I got real bad sick and was put in the hospital to find out. I did have a enlarged Lymph node in the middle of my sternum. The surgeon went in at the collar bone to biopsy the lymph node. While in there he touched a nerve that paralyzed my vocal cord that left me without a voice. Oh and didn’t get a good sample. 2.5 weeks later I had surgery again. This time another biopsy to get to the same area. Another Surgeon went in to my side through my ribs into my lungs laparoscopically to get another lymph node sample and where it was at it couldn’t get to it. So he had to end up cutting me 12″ on my right side and collapse my lung. That also caused nerve damage and pain. All of ended up being Scarcoidosis, Chung-Strauss Syndrome, and Wegners Syndrome. The treatment is high dosages of long term of steroids plus a organ anti rejection medicine to lower my immune system. I took them for 3 years. One of the side effects was gaining weight. The extra weight caused me to be almost bed ridden. I hurt constantly.

My Dr sent me to a Neurosurgeon to be evaluated and he would not do surgery because there is nothing they can do because the damage Is a birth defect. The only way to get some of the pain to go away was lose weight. So I had already seen one Dr. to talk about WLS and he said No because of my autoimmune diseases. His worry was that my stomach would leak. I waited about a year and I asked my PCP if I could seek a 2nd opinion. She agreed as she the first time. So I went to another and I was a candidate for WLS. Instead of 6months of weight loss I had to do 8 and I had to be off of the steroids and the immune suppressant.. At 5months before WLS I was taken off the steroids and a month before WLS taken off of the organ anti rejection medication. I had VSG surgery on Aug 9, 2016. I lost 54lbs preOp. WLS so far has helped with my pain. I still have to take pain meds but the amount of pain has lessened. I’m no longer having to be in the bed and I have more energy and mentally capable of doing more. Its really been a God send. So my CW 203 HW 379 SW 326 GW 198 and im 14 months out. Sorry this was so long. I had another Bio but I wanted to go into to a lil more detail. Sorry also I’m not a writer so please excuse the punctuations and spelling. I just wanted y’all to know more of my journey and how this came about. Be Blessed!!!

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Kathy Henry – Inspirational Story

I’ve been overweight my entire life. Diets? I’ve tried them all. On July 2013, I broke my back. I under went a L5-S1 fusion, while in surgery the paddle blade broke and Dr couldn’t retrieve it without potentially paralyzing me. I still carry around the blade just inches from my spinal cord. After surgery and PT I was still in horrible pain. My primary and orthopedic surgeon suggested Gastric Bypass to get the weight off my spine. My referral was put in and within 3 weeks I was having my Bypass. In the short amount of time I had to gather information, I had made the decision that RNY was right for me. I was ready to be healthy and out of pain. On July 15th 2014 my life changed. I had RNY, everything went as planned. I went into surgery with some unrealistic expectations- and got a few surprises in the days & months following. Sure, I’ve been to the pre op classes to hear about complications. I took nutrition classes how to learn how I was supposed to eat forward.

But nobody really explained (though to be fair they did try) how much this surgery would mess with my mind. They didn’t tell me that instead of no longer thinking about food, I’d spend my entire day counting fluid intake & protein grams & keeping track of which vitamins I’d taken. What’s more the weight didn’t just magically melt away with no effort. This perhaps the single biggest myth out there- that having gastric bypass is the easy way out. It’s the exact opposite. You still have to exercise, you still have to be very careful about what you eat. I now weigh 112lbs and feel healthy but my back is still an ongoing problem. I continue having procedure and this will be life long.

I’ve been blessed with the BEST support team… I would like to Thank my husband, sons and BWLF I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing me your invaluable support when I needed it the most. Your helping hand proves a boon most. Your suggestions & advice has helped me a lot overcoming my problems. Today I’m secure because of you. I truly appreciate that you are always there for anybody who needs help. Family and Friends like you are a jewel in the crown. It would be of utmost pleasure to me if you need any sort of assistance from me in future I shall always be there for you. It’s my pleasure to be a Sr Mod/PA to family

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Elaine “Laney” Key – Inspirational Story



My story starts at about age 9 when I hit puberty and my brother in law touched me inappropriately..from there at age 12 my other brother in law touched me inappropriately many times..My Mom married his Dad.later he became abusive to my mom .Plus I figured out he was peeping on me when I was asleep. Telling me I should not wear stuff like that. Mom finally left him.He showed up at our apartment..Told my mom she was going to have sex with him since they were not divorced yet..He told her if she sent me to get help she would be dead by the time I got back..She told me we were going to have to run..I let her go ahead of me and locked him in the apartment. He chased us with his car while we ran . Fast forward I was raped as a teen by a supposed friend. lost a baby.Got married at 18..Had my oldest daughter at 19.Abused and cheated on by her dad we divorced..He got visitation. My daughter was 2 and started naming body parts a 2 year old should not know.Plus coming home almost comatose I stopped visitation..Found out he was abusing her as well as his wife and her son were .Met my youngest dad almost 8 years later. Moved to Michigan. 2 years of isolation. sexual mental and physical abuse.My oldest wanted to move back to Georgia with my Mom.Months later I left that relationship and moved back home to Georgia..My oldest was failing all her classes..They recommended counselling. Mothers day the day before counselling my oldest told me she had been abused by my ex the youngest dad..before i left him I had found a picture of him naked in the babies closet. The counsellor said based off the abuse he did to my oldest he likely abused my youngest his own daughter. I blamed myself even though I knew nothing about my daughter being abused they think he drugged me because I don’t remember much of the two years I lived there. Living in negativity with my family my weight reached 370..High blood pressure..insulin resistant. edema.sleep apnea .My Doctor suggested Bariatric surgery. Fought with him to get one paper.He one day just up and closed his practice. My oldest daughter tried to commit suicide so I gave up on surgery. Years later after she had married I worked with my new Doctor and was amazed how fast the process went. 8/3/16 I had RNY performed. I have lost 112 pounds..My surgery weight was 323..I am now about 214..No meds..No swollen limbs. I can walk a mile or more and not become very winded.Living longer means so much to me..To be around for my kids and family .

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Harl Davidson – Inspirational Story



Jump in, sit down, BUCKLE UP! The story of my life and BWL surgery get pretty bumpy at time! Hoping to encourage, inspire, and give hope to all, that seek this journey, to a healthier you, and better quality of life! Here goes!
I’ve always battled the bulge, on and off heavy all through my life starting with the teen years. My weight was fueled by the fact that I was being physically and emotionally abused by my first of two “Step-Fathers”. For 10 long years my Mother endured this man. His: Anger, Rage, Emotional and (not to sure about any physical) aspect with my Mother).
It wasn’t all bad memories. I do remember times of happiness, with going to Disneyland, on a fishing barge 30 miles off the coast of Baja- CA, and I caught a huge 32 pound Yellow Fin Tuna, we were using live small white squid, and anchovies for bait. He did spend some time with my older Brother (Anthony) and I. But as the time went on in my Moms relationship with him, things began to change with him mentally. He would instead of: Mentor, Counsel, Educate, my older Brother as to the dealings with drugs and alcohol, he chose to : Yell at, Belittle, and emotionally and physically beat him. I was the recipient also of this type of abuse, however not to the extent my Brother was subjected.
It hurt me deeply not only seeing my Stepfather do this to my older Brother, more so it was tearing me up emotionally to see my Mother cry, doing her best to defend us from his wraith, which seemed to escalate as time marched forward. (I remember being kicked by him with his boots on) it all came to an end with this man when at 0130, he and my Mother came home from a function, and he became enraged as to the mere fact we had our stereo on for “white noise” to help us sleep. We were woke up to his yelling obscenities and actually ramming is fists, down on our stereo, destroying it! What a way to wake up! I was 12, Anthony was 14ish?…my Sister 2!
He then proceeded to FLIP OUT! He told me to get the four dogs We had and put them in the living room, and it was my job to tell them that Revelations had begun! He then began to preach that :The End was near, and as soon as he was done with his writing of the 3rd book of James into the Bible, Revelations would proceed (as stated in the King James Version of the Bible). Didn’t know I could communicate with canines, but okay!😜
It was my Brother Anthony’s task to take a trash can and place in the direct center of our front yard. proving (as soon as it began raining hail the size of snow balls), as one of the signs of the coming of the end of Earth (as written in Revelations in the Bible) not a cloud in the sky!, also,to go get our across the street neighbors up, to witness this fantastic display! Mind you it was 0200-0230 in the morning, and not a cloud in the sky…Needless to say our neighbor Bob Kumpe, asked my Mother if he was whacked out on drugs. We were terrified! They went back to their house.
My Mother tried to call my Uncle (her Brother a Police officer in the next city over), Who simply stated to call the local authorities. If he were to come over, that might have had a very fatal ending! I had a baseball at the ready and Anthony a home made pair of nun-chucks. We were prepared to neutralize him, should he harm any of us!
Anyway the local cops show, De-escalated the situation, and I scooped up my Sister (Jamie) and we left to seek refuge on the next street over at my friend Toms house. My friends Dad (Mark) slept in a chair, in front of the front door with a gun on his chest at the ready. My Step-Father, had weapons as well being an avid hunter.
So the next morning this LUNATIC Shows up at my friends house with a can of gas and a lighter! And proceeds to tell my friends dad, that “if we didn’t get our assess back to the house, He told my Mother she would watch as he killed us three kids, and then she would get it”! At that point my friends Dad Marc almost shot him right there!
This guy proceeded in the next few days to refer to himself as the “Lone Ranger” passing out silver bullets to people. And also to some referring to himself as aa “Texas Ranger”, (which was total BS, as he was a felon! Come to find out at age 17 he attempted to arm rob a gas station. We ended up moving away from everything I knew , losing all my best friends, uprooted from school, and our lives! I ended up attending 4 different High Schools! And managed to somehow graduate! As with the 2nd step dad…Instant Ashlie, just add alcohol! We moved away from CA to NM. I was 17 at the time. At 17 1/2 I joined the military. I had become yo-yo terms of weight, as I was would lose the weight, then finding it again through stress and depression eating. Looking for that comfort and escape from the pain of the physical and sexual abuse?, being strong armed for my lunch money daily, and threatened if I told, more Physical violence, at the hands of my older Brother as well!
I medicated with food, and the “battle of the bulge”, and the up and down weight gain/loss ensued. I lost 35 pounds in 2 months with Boot Camp! Thanks to forced food and physical discipline. But my head still wasn’t right in terms of healthy eating.
Years of emotional and physical abuse from both my older Brother (deceased 13 years/justifiable homicide by the wife of his three kids) over Methamphentimines! And my Mothers poor choice on life’s partners. My father passed away at 27, from exposure and hypothermia after a car crash in Alaska. (I was 6) My parents had been separated since about age 3, the years of sexual, physical, and mental/ emotional abuse at the hands of my older Brother as well…toss in three marriages gone bad ending in divorce…I medicated with food and alcohol, and many illicit drugs back in my 20-30s to drown out the pain and memories. Counseling has helped along with the undying support of my wife! (She was sent to me to save my life, and has done so)…❤️
So the “Big 50 year rolls on!”. Did you catch that? Yeah I Love watching “Cash Cab”. Anyway… I’ve reached my goal as far as weight loss! 150 lost forever, I went from 328lbs to (now 183 pounds this morning) and gone for good! In (81/2-9)months time! I fluctuate between 180-190 pounds. It is a new challenge for myself to get in the needed caloric intake, to maintain my weight! Seems so odd to say that! “You need to eat more”! Then the grouch pouch is like, “hey fool settle down turbo”! I also have days that I can eat things like a steak tonight, when turkey slices blocked my pouch, got me a bit de-hydrated, and dropped my blood sugar. There will be difficult days, but the triumphs have outnumbered the tragedies. DONT GIVE UP, STAY POSITIVE! Anyway…I (along with my: life’s partner, best friend, and wife at my side), we started both our WLS journeys to take back our health/lives mine began 9/19/16..328 lbs! Hers began in December or ’16. She’s lost like 108 pounds! Time/age and the associated negative physical impact began to really take its toll. I found myself at 45 years old receiving steroid/lidocaine injections several times to my right knee! I have left shoulder pain from a previous injury. Four herniated discs in my neck that create havoc, pulling muscles in my neck, back and shoulders causing muscle knots in my neck, along with horrendous headaches…. if that wasn’t bad enough, my Diabetes and Hypertension way out of control on the highest doses of medication allowed, and still out of control! Having to use C-Pap as my O2 Satiration levels would plummet to 53%, Wearing a brace on my knee ensued. The worst yet to show itself….Heart Failure!
At 47 1/2 I was showing S/S of a failing heart, with edema extending up past my knees! Headed for what my wife (and as nurses know) is an ominous sign for an early departure from existence. I wasn’t ready to die! I have a loving wife, kids and family that loved me, and I them!
I began the journey at one Surgeons seminar, attended a few Dietician visits, just to have that surgeon “take a leave of absence”, for whatever reason, and I left in limbo….
My wife and I turned 360 degrees and attended another seminar 150 miles away! It turned out to be the best decision of our lives! The surgeon/facility we ended up with was noted for Bariatric excellence!
At 49 1/2 years old, I have lost a total of 150 pounds! Down from 328 lbs to 178 and then back to where the surgeon wants me at aroid 185-187, with RNY 9/19/16 and at goal in 8.5-9 months time! My wife has lost over 110 pounds in close to 11 months with VSG! It’s never to late to take control of your life, health and longevity through WLS! I DID IT ,MY WIFE IS DOING IT, AND SO CAN YOU!
Now that I’ve gotten rid of the years of stress eating, comfort foods…And am totally right (kind of) in the head! Well about eating and maintaining weight with the tool RNY) I am now looking at a total knee replacement in a few months! ACL and meniscus are destroyed, and the “bone on bone grinding needs to stop. I look forward to rehabbing form it and being able to exercise again…CONFIRMED BY Orthopedic appointment a few weeks back total knee replacement in about 4 weeks. I will need my HbA1c redrawn and hopefully it down around 8 so they will schedule the surgery. Got HBA1c to 8.1, which didn’t fly with the surgeon! So back to trying to watch what I eat, get the requirements in and enough calories to maintain weight!
It’s a difficult journey…who ever says that WLS is “the easy way out” to weight loss has no clue! But it can be done! You will be tested in ways you never knew possible: physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally! I decided and chose, to break the chain of chaos of the: physical, emotional, sexual abuse that I was subjected to as a child and teen.
We all have our demons/skeletons in our closet (most of people in life). But making the choice to overcome those, deal with them, control them, and not letting those negative experiences control you…will lead you down a path to happiness and the willingness and want anything you set your mind to achieve what it is you need to be happy! The support I’ve received from: Gail, Elle, Sr. MODS, and fellow MODS of BWLF, my friends, fellow nurses and most importantly my loving wife, have given me back my life! YOU CAN OVERCOME ANYTHING! Never tell yourself or let anyone else tell you different!
My next task will be when I have my total knee replacement next month. I may need some encouragement, reassurance, and motivation thrown this way. Enjoy things, Love hard, laugh often, life is short. Tell those that you love, how much you love them everyday…Tomorrow is not promised. Love all my “FAMILY” members. BWLF, Mod. Squad and members! Here to support and encourage you!