You could say that I’ve been overweight most of my life, but I was always very active and usually wore size 12/14. There was a very short time when I was actually a size 5 right after high school. I got a job in the Christmas department of JC Penney and my mode of transportation was my legs and the bus. About a year later I was a size 8 and then I became pregnant with my first child. I spent my days alone in our apartment with no car; no friends or family nearby; no phone and nothing to do but watch TV. I did a lot of walking and took vitamins, but I craved chocolate – a lot of chocolate. We had very little money and no real health-care aside from my initial visit with the doctor (mind you I was about 5 months pregnant at the time) and the day I went into labor (my exact due date). I gained about 80 pounds and later learned that I had developed toxemia and the chocolate I ate only made it worse. I lost about 50 pounds over the next 2 years and then became pregnant again. I only gained about 30 pounds but 3 weeks after my son was born I was in the hospital suffering from a severe gallbladder infection. My gallbladder actually ruptured inside me which forced them to perform emergency surgery. I never got to meet with the surgeon and when I woke up from surgery I had an incision that went from one side of my stomach to the other. It was about 14″ inches long, my stomach muscles were severed and I had no feeling in a large portion of my belly. I was so depressed, my stomach literally hung down just above my knees and to this day I still have numbness at the incision. Add to that 2 more children, lots of stress, too much work and not enough play, bad eating habits and so on, and here I am, too big to support myself to walk or stand so here I sit. I have stopped living, I simply exist. When I saw the doctor June 4th for my pre-admission testing, I was horrified to learn that I had ballooned up to 358 lbs. I gained 28 pounds in 6 1/2 months. I did not change my eating habits, I actually began eating healthier and taking in extra protein however I had become so sedentary, I was not able to walk or stand so my days were spent on the couch or in the bed. I was so embarrassed and felt so defeated I wanted to just burst into tears but my doctor was so comforting and non-judgemental and his staff is so supportive I have been able to focus on getting ready for my surgery. Well, I’m going to stop here, I don’t want to end up depressing myself, I’m in a pretty good mood today and I don’t want to spoil it. Oh yeah, before I go, just 4 more days till my surgery!