Hello! I thought I would tell you all a little about myself. My name is Tracey Gravley and I’m 33 years old. I’m a Registered Dental Assistant and have been in the dental field for 11 1/2 years. I’ve been married to my husband, Joedale, for 3 1/2 years. We have no children, but lots of fur babies.
As for what brought me to this point in my life and this blog, was a lifelong battle with obesity. To make it short, I was diagnosed at the age of 22 with an endocrine and metabolic disorder known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I had struggled with my weight most of my childhood, but hadn’t reached the obese level yet. Prior to that diagnosis I experienced a torn ACL in my knee at the age of 18. I had surgery and a year later had a car wreck that re-injured my knee and messed up my back. Over the course of about 11 years with two knee and two back surgeries later I am no longer just overweight. I now fell into the category of morbidly obese.
My weight was quickly spiraling out of control and I was miserable. In the early part of 2004 I started researching the different bariatric surgeries. I went to a seminar where I was given the options between the Lap-Band and Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. I quickly decided that the bypass was the choice for me and started the necessary steps to have the surgery. Halfway through the approval process with my surgeon’s office and insurance company my husband at the time decided to hastily change jobs which meant losing my insurance. Needless to say I was never able to have surgery. Several years later after gaining more weight and losing my job because of my back injuries I started thinking about surgery again. I went to another seminar and listened to my options again. This time I was given 3 options. The same two as before, but now they discussed a surgery called the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. The reality for me now though, was that I was divorced, jobless and without insurance. There was no way I could afford the cash price.
January 2011 I had my second back surgery (which was extremely minor compared to my first one). Two weeks later I started a new dental assisting job. I quickly found out that being on my feet all day and continually moving was what my back needed. I still could not lose weight though and kept getting bigger. I married my husband in April of 2011. I was so thankful because I had finally found someone that accepted me for me. I was bigger than I had ever been, but had more confidence than I did when I was smaller and felt deeply loved by my husband. We wanted to start a family, but because of my PCOS and weight I was infertile (something I had known for a long time). I knew that weight loss was my best chance of restoring my fertility, but even with great effort, losing even 10 lbs was almost impossible. The first part of 2013 with the assistance of prescription drugs called Metformin and Chlomid we tried to start a family. Several stressful months went by with zero success and very little improvement in my blood work. Due to uncontrollable circumstances during that time and extra stress we decided to take a break.
In the late fall of 2013 my husband told me about the new bariatric program The hospital he worked for was starting. I was quickly let down though when I found out our health insurance didn’t cover the surgery. Then one day my husband called me at work and gave me a number and said to call it and ask for Charlene and she could help me with any questions. I found out from Charlene that their Bariatric program was offering a discount to hospital employees and their spouses that wanted the surgery since our insurance didn’t cover it. A lot of prayers and research later God opened the doors for me to have this life changing surgery. I was ready. I had waited 10 years for this. I went through each of the necessary steps and on January 7, 2014 I had the vertical sleeve gastrectomy along with having my gallbladder taken out and a hiatal hernia repair. My surgeon referred to it as the trifecta. Haha. The first few days were rough, but I was feeling better every day. Each day was a learning experience. September 7th was my 8 month anniversary (or surgiversary as so many call it). I have lost 87lbs and at least 4 pant sizes. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on my new lifestyle, but you never stop learning. I don’t always make good choices, but I always try to do better. The best thing is I don’t beat myself up when I make not so great choices, because I know it’s not the end of the world and I know I make good choices more than bad ones. We are human. As long as you keep your goal in sight and realize this isn’t magic that it’s a tool and you still have to work for it then you will succeed. This is the best thing I could have done for myself and my husband. You can ask almost anyone that has had bariatric surgery if they have any regrets about the surgery and most will reply that they have only one regret…that they didn’t have it done sooner.
I’m looking forward to even better improved health and smaller clothes. But most of all I’m looking forward to the day that my husband and I can finally start a family (with my surgeons approval of course!). 🙂
I am forever grateful to my awesome surgeon and his team along with my personal support team. There are so many of you, but the ones that have endured the most with me through this are my husband and my parents. Y’all are my rock! I love y’all with all of my heart!