I knew at a very early age, crawling around on my grandparents floor, playing with my fire trucks that I wanted to be a firefighter. To me I was born a public servant, a first responder, a firefighter. It’s what I was created to do. I became a volunteer firefighter as soon as I could, in 1990. While working full time for the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) for the county and city, my dream was to get hired on with the fire side of operations. Long hours and bad eating choices allowed me to lose control and in couple years I was grossly overweight. I had gained over 200lbs. The life I loved to live, doing certain things with my family, son, and friends, riding roller coasters, and even my dreams of moving to the fire side of emergency operation were gone. Though I still had outstanding friends and a good life, I was missing out on so much. I was missing out on the dream of what I wanted my life to be. My health was starting to go down hill as well. I told myself one day that I did not want to say at the end of my life, “I wish I had,” I wanted to say “I’m glad I did!” So I made the choice to have bariatric surgery.
Surgery & Recovery
Dr. Boyce’s team approach is complete and extensive. I have friends that had the procedure that told me they didn’t have to do all the preliminary details that I did. They just had the surgery. I am a detail oriented person and I believe the process that Dr. Boyce and Dr. Williams team has in place is the best and right way of doing things. It is an eyes wide open, clear, and concise program with exceptions specific to the patient. I personally know patients that basically had the procedure with little to no direction and gained all the weight back and in some case even more weight. With Dr. Boyce’s program the surgery and recovery was no problem for me. I admit I was very nervous because I never had surgery before, however the team reassured and encouraged me.
The Exercise Physiologist was great help helping me fine tune my work outs to my needs. To establish a maintainable lifestyle of fitness exercise and to do it safely.
The Nutritionist is the monumental KEY in this whole process, at least to me. Knowledge is POWER, what I learned from the nutritionist totally change my life, empowered me. I believe a nutrition class should be MANDATORY in all High Schools. PERIOD. People have to eat every day to live. So it makes sense that we should know how to feed our bodies, while maintaining a good healthy life style. We only have one body, right? A food diary really helps me. I thought I was making good choices, and I was making better choices than before like cutting our sodas, and drinking V8. However when you look at the data, I was taking in over 3000mg of sodium a day. WOW, nothing wrong with V8, however it is loaded with sodium. The food diary helps hold me accountable to ME.
What I Have Learned
My mindset going into this process was one of being aware that this was me making an investment in myself. Dr. Boyce, as amazing as he and his team are, is not a miracle pill that fixes all. I knew I had my own lifestyle changes I was responsible for. Dr. Boyce and his team would do their part and I would have to do mine to be successful. I looked at it as Dr. Boyce and his team gave me a second chance and it would be up to me to make the most out of it. I could be successful, or I could be like others that gained all the weight back. I do not judge those, I know how hard it is, I’ve been there, that can be me very easily.
How did choosing Dr. Boyce’s team and having the procedure change my life? Well, I have now gone skydiving, mountain climbing, ridden a mechanical bull, gone SCUBA diving in several amazingly gorgeous Caribbean locations, and have been able to ride roller coasters again! I’m able to do things with my son I couldn’t before. Basically, EXPERIENCE LIFE AGAIN!!!!!! I also achieved my dream career, I’m now a professional Firefighter. I don’t call it a job, because its not. I LOVE going to work. Its a privilege to be a Firefighter Paramedic. I’m liberated!
My advice for those considering the surgery.
- Have your eyes wide open.
- This is not a quick FIX. It will give you a second chance. So have the right mindset and make and maintain healthy lifestyle changes.
- Keep a food diary. Be REAL, even if you have a set back.
- Learn everything you can from the nutritionist. Really listen, to them.
- Have a support group or at least a person in your life. BE REAL to yourself and to them. Hold each other accountable in life and love. Encourage and empower one another.
- Be patient. It is a process, not a overnight accomplishment. Maintain, and hold the course. If you do you will reach your destination and the journey will be amazing.
- Never forget where you started from.