May 2009 came the next big blow to my life – after a year of seeing doctors, running tests, looking for answers, my husband was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Initial reports were that it was contained with a very good prognosis that a Whipple surgery would take care of the cancer. With research, we found […]
May 2009 came the next big blow to my life – after a year of seeing doctors, running tests, looking for answers, my husband was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Initial reports were that it was contained with a very good prognosis that a Whipple surgery would take care of the cancer. With research, we found one of the top rated Whipple surgeons in St. Louis, Missouri and traveled to Siteman Cancer Center for appointments. In the days/weeks that followed, tumor progression to the main vein of the pancreas was identified which eliminated the option of Whipple surgery and moved prognosis from favorable to dim. Once again, we embarked upon the treatment road, coming back to Kansas City for treatments. The roller coaster was more uphill than down as he was never in remission. He lived almost a year after diagnosis and passed April 2010. Most will say that the loss of a child is the ultimate loss and I agree, however, the loss of an only child followed by the loss of a husband a short time later – total devastation.
The next months found me going through the motions of life and completing the list of things that we had discussed regarding the farm. The farm sale was like another death for me to see everything gone. I never knew any life other than farm life. I returned to work at the school in the fall and tried to make the best of it – thank goodness for many friends that have traveled this nightmare of a journey with me.
By January 2012, life had lost all glimmer of hope for me. I hit bottom. I didn’t care if the sun came up; if I got up; I couldn’t focus on anything long enough to get things done; I began to realize I was making many mistakes at work and no matter how hard I tried to improve, it didn’t happen! (And this was sooooo noooootttt meeeeeee). Not only did work fall behind, I wasn’t taking care of things at home either (laundry, paying bills, etc)… all I found comfort in was eating. Depression and grief became totally debilitating and I hadn’t even realized what was happening. After an awaking night of contemplating whether I really wanted to go on with life, I knew I had to have help! Fast! I knew this was not the road my son or husband would want for me. I was very lucky and found a terrific counselor right off. She and I, along with my family doctor, began the process of ‘Getting Julie Healthy’. My physical health continued to decline: out of control blood pressure, increasing blood sugars, bleeding ulcers, increased cholesterol, increased triglycerides, etc. In March, I went on medical leave from my job in order to reduce stress and attempt to get my blood pressure under control. I later resigned from my job. I truly had no idea how bad I felt until I began feeling better. As summer came, I enjoyed being outside. I tried to ignore my weight – make jokes about it – push it aside… didn’t work. Although my blood pressure improved, it did not stabilize and other health issues continued, blood sugars continued to increase. Some pictures along the way revealed a situation that I could not handle anymore – two people could fit in front of me. This fact combined with the scales now saying a bit over 300 pounds was it. Having a family history of diabetes, I decided that I could either make major changes now or pay for it down the road. This began my research on gastric surgery.