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One Hundred Thirty Pounds Ago,

I shed my shell and Got My Wings!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Introducing Megan

I'm not even sure where to start here...a little more than two years ago I met the most amazing man, Ruben, and knew instantly that I wanted to spend my life with him. We moved in together after three weeks (with much grief from our parents, but knew in our hearts everything just felt right). There's ten years between us. He has a previous wife and two beautiful children. Grace is four years old and Lauren is eight years old. I've been in their lives since just before Grace turned two years old. They both tell me I'm just as much of a Mom to them as their mother is. It tickles my heart more then anything in the world when Grace occasionally calls me Mom. Ruben has told me that Lauren has asked him about calling me Mom; I know she'll do what feels right when she's ready. She’s very independent and not one that anyone should ever push. She always comes around in her own time, and there's nothing she's ever done that I'm not incredibly proud of.

Six months after Ruben and I started dating I tagged along with him to a simple routine procedure purely to provide a ride home. He was having an ERCP to help clear his bile ducts of gull stones that had gotten stuck and were causing him to be jaundice. I was told the procedure would take 45 minutes; two hours later nurses finally brought him to his recovery room. He was completely passed out because they had given him two doses of anesthesia due to a violent reaction to the first dose. Since he was unable to wake up, but could only be kept for a short amount of time due to insurance coverage, the nurses bombarded me with release paperwork. The doctor came with salt and peppered hair and an incredibly straight, unreadable face. He carelessly began telling me that Ruben had no gull stones in his bile ducts and that what was found was ten years of scar tissue build up from a terminal disease that had caused his liver to cirrhose. He went on to tell me that the disease was rare, incurable and not very much was known about it. There were no medications that were proven to be affective. He then slurred the name of the disease and mentioned Walter Payton (who I’d never heard of) and patted down his shirt in hopes to find a piece of paper. With no luck, he took the release paperwork from me and scribbled the name of the disease down. He then told me to go home and research the disease online, since he could tell me no more about it than I could read about it and said he’d be on vacation for five weeks and to call his office and make an appointment for when he returned. I looked at Ruben, who was still sleeping. He looked so peaceful, almost dead. There was no snoring like what I was used to and his breathing was shallow. I asked the doctor, “Are you telling me he’s dying?” He smugly replied, “We’re all dying. This is just most likely what he’ll die from.” I was devastated when he left the room. More than being devastated about what he had said (because it hadn’t sunk in), I was blown away by how he said it. What kind of inconsiderate doctor was this? The nurses had me go down to drive my car up to the exit while they wheeled him out. He slept the 40 minute ride home, then just woke up enough to have me help him into our bedroom to go back to sleep. He slept for another four hours while I frantically searched the internet for information about Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. I called my mom and told her what was going on. I couldn’t believe that this doctor had put it on me to tell this man he was dying. I selfishly thought there was no way an eighteen year old girl should have to be faced with telling anyone such news, but how on earth could I be so selfish at a time like this, I should only be thinking about him and what it’s going to be like to hear this news. My mom came over to be supportive for both Ruben and I. His family lives four hours away and I had wanted him to choose to tell them or not, so I hadn’t called them. He woke up finally that night to my mother and me and could sense that something was wrong. We sat at the kitchen table and told him everything that I had been told. He took it amazingly well at first and then fell apart in my mother’s arms. That night after my mom left he cried himself asleep in my arms. That next morning was the best morning of our relationship. It was amazing to him that I was still there the next morning. He thought that I would get scared and leave since we hadn’t been together very long. I was there that day, and I’ve been there everyday since.

That was in April of 2003. Two months later he was told he had cancer - Hodgekin's Lymphomia - completly non related to his liver disease. He went through surgery and radiation because his liver could not handle chemo. By federal law, he has to be in remission from cancer for five years before her can get a transplant; and from liver biopsy results doctor's are saying his liver only has about 3 years left.


He’s on social security now. He tries to take a few easy classes here and there and works on Modesto Famous out of our home so not to over-do himself. We’ve been through cancer treatment, three surgeries and many trips to doctors and hospitals. We’re waiting to see if a liver transplant will be an option in the next few years. He’ll need that to survive.

After standing by him through so much, this year it was finally his turn to stand by my side medically. In May of 2004, I had weight loss surgery. I had struggled with weight my entire life and shortly after turning eighteen was told by my doctor that I was a “walking heart attack.” So, at nineteen I made this life changing choice to do something about it. I spent a year researching and going to support groups and was confident this was a path I wanted to take. I just had my twentieth birthday in early November and gave myself the best gift in the world…I was down 97 pounds at the time. Currently, I’m down 110 pounds and feel great. I’m 30 pounds away from the goal weight that my surgeon set for me just before surgery. This is where the name of my blog comes in. The butterfly is the symbol for Weight Loss Surgery because we are all caterpillars that break out of our cocoons into beautiful butterflies as the pounds shed off us and we find ourselves. In the past seven months I truely have “Got My Wings.” My body has changed so much and Ruben has supported me through all of it. At my first check up after surgery I had lost 16 pounds. I didn’t think anything of it until we went home and he made me carry around 16 pounds of canned goods in a paper bag. He was so proud of me and wanted me to feel that I had accomplished something important. There was no way I could have carried that 16 pound bag on a mile walk, and now I’d hate to see a grocery bag full of 110 pounds! If there’s anyone interested in my weight loss journey, please feel free to check out my surgery journal and email if you have any questions: http://www.obesityhelp.com/morbidobesity/profile.phtml?N=H1073072962

Well, I can promise you that none of my posts will be this long and drawn out, but I did want to introduce my self and my story. Still not sure if I’m doing this right or not, but this a glimpse into my life. Hopefully some will be touched or motivated if they follow this every now and then, but it’s completely fine if some are not. Really, I’m doing this for me, but I’d love if my life touched someone else’s along the way.

So until next time, thanks for reading this far. If you are at all interested in getting to know Ruben, who is a much more eloquent writer than me, please check out his blog:
http://www.eachdaycounts.com/

This is Megan, signing off…..



Got My Wings at 2:54 PM

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