Follow by Email

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Seminar offers opportunity to meet experts, peers

Space is still available for the Obesity Help Regional Seminar in Fairfield, and I’m excited to announce that I will be in attendance. If everything goes according to plan, I will blog from the all-day seminar Saturday, June 24.

The event, which will be at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2200 Gateway Court, will feature speakers on subjects ranging from cosmetic surgery to behavior modification. For information on the scheduled speakers, check out my June 15 posting.

Great opportunity
I’m excited to attend this seminar for a number of reasons. It’s a great opportunity to meet nutritionists, psychologists, surgeons and other professionals who understand the journey I am on. After all, the OH national seminar series isn’t named “Making the Journey Together 2006” for nothing. I love meeting experts in the surgical weight loss field for both personal and professional reasons. The wider my network of experts, the better equipped I become to write about bariatric issues that go beyond the scope of my own experience. A broad network also helps me to better serve the members of the monthly surgical weight loss support group I lead here in Tracy.

But on a personal level, attending this seminar excites me because it will enable me to meet and connect with other gastric-bypass patients — people who have already experienced what I have, people who are at the same spot in their journey as I am and people who hope to one day soon be on the same path as me. People like Karen Robb of Concord.

Son prompts woman to focus on health
Karen, a 36-year-old mother of an active toddler, had gastric-bypass surgery almost two years ago. She has since lost more than 170 pounds, going from 325 to 152. I can identify with Karen’s story. Her beginning and current weights are similar to mine, we both were overweight as long as we could remember, and both of us decided to have bariatric surgery because of children. For her, it was the 10-month-old son she already had; for me, it was the children I hope to have in the future.

“I decided to have the surgery around Christmas of 2003,” Karen told me in an e-mail yesterday. “My son was, at the time, 10 months old. He wasn’t quite walking yet, but he was sure getting around! I was in constant pain from my knees, feet and hips. I could barely stand up, let alone chase a toddler around the house.”

Karen says she had a fairly easy time getting insurance approval for surgery, and she went under the knife Sept. 20, 2004, which was also my very last birthday as a morbidly obese woman. Karen’s “re-birthday,” as she calls it, just so happens to be on the same day as my actual birthday. Yet something else we have in common.

Nothing comes easy
However, Karen is quick to point out that it hasn’t been all peaches and roses on her journey.

“I started out only being able to eat saltine crackers, because everything else made me sick,” she said. “I was so tired for so long. It was at least three months until I started to feel awake again.”

Even now, a year and eight months since surgery, Karen struggles with eating issues and is far from considering herself perfect.

“I have to work every day to use my tool in the correct manner,” she said. “Some days I do good, and some days I revert back to the old ways that got me up to 325 pounds. I just try to take each day as it comes and not regret what I did the day before.”

“I realize now that each day I get to wake up alive and not in pain and each moment I get to spend with my son is a gift. I try not to spend my days regretting what I should have done but instead trying to do what is right today and in the future.”

Wise words, if you ask me. But Karen has a lot of wisdom to impart. She exercises regularly and loves the way she looks in clothing, though she wouldn’t mind a little nip and tuck if she were to win the lottery.

I do not believe for a second that Karen is the only amazing person I will meet this weekend, but even if she is, my trip to Fairfield will be well worth the price of gas.

No comments: