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Monday, August 22, 2005

One Last Try

The Kelly McCamey Story:
An Extraordinary Woman’s Final Attempt to Lose Weight Without WLS

One may think that on a website called “LivingAfterWLS” you would never read about conventional dieting: losing weight the old fashioned way by eating less and exercising more. One would think we should say, “It can’t be done. The only way to lose massive weight is with surgery.” We should shake our heads with all-knowing smugness and think, “Well, it won’t be long and Kelly will be on the surgical table.”

But I don’t think that is fair. Who among us, in the first two difficult post-op years hasn’t questioned, “Was this really my last hope? Was this the only way to become healthy by losing weight?” I’ve questioned myself dozens of times, “Kaye, did you really give it your all before you had surgery?” I don’t know the answer.

It is too late for me to ask questions. My stomach has been chopped in two and my intestines re-routed for life. But it’s not too late for Kelly to ask questions and that’s exactly what she did.

Our extraordinary community member, Kelly McCamey was jumping through the pre-surgical hoops early this summer. During the approval process she asked herself, “"Did you really give it your all, Kelly? Or are you escaping and doing this because you are weak?" Told she had severe sleep apnea she was denied surgery unless she submitted to using a machine to aid her breathing while she slept. At 5’2” and 287 pounds Kelly, 37, had a BMI of 52.5. Kelly was in trouble, but refused the machine. By refusing the machine she was denied surgery.

“I was determined now that I "had" to do this on my own, I had to quit playing and work out, watch my calories and stop the pity I had (for myself) because I was so big. I thought that if I gave myself this one last chance, I would really do it; before altering my life with gastric bypass surgery.”

Recalling years of obesity Kelly said, “I was always "too" afraid to go to the doctor for fear they would put me on the scale. I did not take care of my health because I was ashamed to talk about my weight condition. I used to think nobody saw it; that I had everyone fooled. Not so! Fat is fat, no matter how you view it. So, it was at this point that I realized I had to do something FAST for my own health.” Kelly faced reality saying, “I am a 37-year-old female who is very overweight.”

Kelly joined the Jenny Craig program on July 11, 2005. “I met with a very nice representative named Sophia. It was at that point I realized how miserable I really was. As Sophia took my picture I saw my own face with the sickness that I have never seen before. I looked so unhealthy. I never believed I looked so unhealthy. But, I know I owed this to myself, I have always put others first, hid from the mirrors, hid behind the home and never wanted to do anything. I was always the first one to say, "No, I can't go, I have something to do". But that was so far from the truth.”

The Jenny Craig plan has Kelly on a strict 1500 calorie a day diet, and her daily routine includes exercise, something she didn’t enjoy before. She checks in on Monday evenings with her counselor Sophia. As of weigh-in tonight she is down 21 pounds and feeling fabulous. That 21-pound weight loss dropped her BMI to 48.6.

“I feel so good, I can't begin to tell you! I went to a softball game Thursday and I didn't have to turn sideways to go through the turn styles! To me that was great! I would normally hide at home and sulk, but this time I went out with pride, even though I have a long way to go, I am really giving it my all.”

Look how far Kelly has come in just five weeks. I am personally awed and inspired by Kelly for her gutsy determination to lose weight the old fashioned way when all she really had to do was submit to the nighttime breathing machine and then have gastric bypass.

Kelly acknowledges that losing weight is never easy. “I am more pumped than anything, and I have come to the conclusion this is my way of life. I will always be that pretty girl that wants to come out, but not accepted by society as an overweight 37-year-old. I have been miserable and lonely because of my weight.”

Kelly won’t have to be miserable in her own body much longer. She is on the right track to understanding what it takes to become healthier and happier by achieving a healthy weight. Kelly understands vigilance to eating and exercise is her new way of life.

Kelly has agreed to share with LivingAfterWLS her story as she strives, just like the rest of us, to become a healthy weight in a world that makes it so easy to be fat. I know she is going to do just fine! Please, send her your biggest hugs and warmest wishes for being a brave and open person. We are glad to have her in our community and look forward to future updates!


Unknown said...

I want to give you my whole hearted support. It doesn't matter which road you choose to find a healthier you. Whether it be surgery or through supervised weight loss. The end result is what matters. We all must choose what we think is our best course of action. For me it was the surgery. For you it was something different. I feel this community is more for the SUPPORT.We all know what you are going through. We've experienced the same obstacles. I, too, know what it is to be a prisoner in my own home, not wanting to face the world.

I will be here to cheer on your progress, to celebrate your victories, to share in YOUR journey. Good luck!! WTG 21lbs GONE

Anonymous said...

Kelly - I am excited to read your story and congratulations on the weight loss. I come to this site because my mom had gastric bypass so I want to understand it better. You give us all hope. Keep us updated and lots of success to ya.

Rose Green

Anonymous said...

Kelly- You spoke to my heart and my fears to go forward with surgery. Weakness is a perception, maybe self- imposed, but certainly burned into our databanks from our earliest recollection of not being like others. I was raised by farmers and plain folk, being called, "chunky" or "solid" or "round and rosie" by those loving, well fed aunts and grammaws. They orbited my life, ready to soothe any bump or pout with a slice of bread slathered in butter, sugar sprinkled on top. Well meaning-ed too, the rebukes by my teen years to "tell your skin n' bone girlfriends that you're just healthy and come from good stock", like that would magically make my size 14 jeans and 38C cup-filled sweater tranform into a Cheryl Tiegs size 1 or 3 to blend in with the other 16 yr olds. If I could find that girl, now buried under the 10 more sizes, she just might be able to join you for the daily battle against the hunger hole. For now I try to walk everyday, and await the courage to give over to surgery and will think of you in my prayers for success. ~Beth in Ohio

Unknown said...

I empathize with you. I know the trials of family trying to curb the pain with food. I still get it even now.
Food surrounds every event in our lives. Whatever the occasion, birthday, wedding, funeral, even a 1st date. I've never had a guy ask me out to the gym or go for a jog.
Look at the new inspirational quote Kaye posted. It's right on the money. As long as you are moving in the direction of being the healthiest you can be, that's all that matters, not how you get there.

Hummingbird1964 said...

What a great story! I wish her all the best. Kelly is doing what all of us do (or should be doing)which is eat less and exercise more. The ultimate goal is to effect positive change in our lives. If she can do it without medical intervention I think it's absolutely wonderful. Diane is 100% correct that the end result (a healthier body) is all that matters.

I find it interesting when I hear the decision to have the surgery as an issue related to "hope" or "giving up hope". For me the surgery gave me hope. When I was considering the surgery I researched statistics of people who were as big as I was and how many of them were able to lose the weight and KEEP IT OFF. I was absolutely shocked to learn that of those of us who are 100+ lbs overwieght, only two percent ever get it all off and keep it off for any length of time. TWO PERCENT!!! Talk about hopeless...those are lousy odds.
It scared the hell out of me.

Here I was telling myself every year "This time I'm going to do it". Decade after decade only to lose some and gain it back plus more. What made me think that I was suddenly going to be a two percenter when I had not been for over 20 years?
In the final analysis for me it was not all that emotional stuff about hope. For me it was a matter of being realisitic. If I had not been able to accomplish the goal in all that time with all the methods I had tried, I couldn't see wasting any more of my life on the merry-go-round. But again, that was me and everyone is different.

Surgery is a very personal decision. I could never recommend the surgery because it is a very dangerous procedure fraught with risk. But in my case the risk of dying while I was "giving it another try" was real too. For me it was the tool that rapidly improved my health (probably saved my life) and gave me the time I needed to learn about nutrition, myself, and make the lifestyle changes that were necessary. I'm not delusional that I won't ever have any problems with eating again. I know that if I go back to my old ways I'll balloon back up. No doubt about it. Some people can lose weight and keep it off without the surgery...they are the two percenters, God Bless them!

2 years