My journey began about 26 months and 160 pounds ago. I still remember stepping on the scale and watching the numbers flutter and finally land on a very scary 350. In September 2014, at age 24, I weighed 350 pounds. I still remember seeing my doctor following some blood tests he had strongly encouraged me to have done. The results had come back, and he told me very frankly that I would not make it to 30. The tests showed that I was clearly pre-diabetic, had an enlarged liver, thyroid abnormalities, and severe asthma in addition to the presence of sleep apnea, which for about eight years of my life prevented me from sleeping more than four hours a night.
At that time, the only option I was presented with was the gastric sleeve surgery, which involves the surgical removal of half of my stomach and an intensive six- to eight-month recovery process. I had struggled with my weight my entire life, so I didn't know or understand the first thing about dieting or even eating healthy for that matter.
Both my doctor and surgeon would later strongly emphasize to me that there was a 99 percent chance that I would never lose the weight on my own, and this was the best and only option to ensure some sort of improvement to my deteriorating health and poor quality of life. It's scary, at 24 years old, to feel completely helpless and to have allowed myself to get so sick.
The pre-surgical process was grueling. It entailed several months of extensive tests, going from one doctor to the next, and continuously receiving the same grim prognosis: I was morbidly obese, and this was the only thing that could save me. I was scheduled to have my surgery done on January 26; however, the Friday before, my uncle tragically passed away.