Tonight, in the 5.30 group there were several members beating themselves up over slow weight loss and comparing their journey to mine and quite wrongly feeling down over it.
Ladies, just by being in the group you should feel proud of yourselves, you are strong enough to have taken steps to lose weight and no matter how slow it’s going, you are still doing just that!
So I wanted to take the opportunity to post my story here as nobody in the group knows what my journey has been and what motivates me to be there at all.
The Start Of It All
Six and a half years ago, on September 1st 2011, I was admitted into the intensive care unit at a hospital whilst on holiday in Florida, unable to walk or feel my legs arms and face, I had no clue what was wrong with me and was totally terrified.
At first the doctors thought I'd had a stroke but after many lumbar punctures, MRI scans, blood tests and CT scans I was diagnosed with a rare illness called Guillain Barrè Syndrome which is a rare and serious condition of the peripheral nervous system. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks the nervous system and the cause is unknown.
I spent two weeks paralysed from the neck down in the hospital, under the care of 5 doctors, barely able to move and in constant and extreme pain which was kept under control with morphine. On two separate occasions during that time my heart stopped, and I honestly thought I was going to die, it was quite literally touch and go whether I was to be intubated and put on a ventilator as my body was unable to breathe without support.
Thankfully after eight of a total ten plasmapheresis treatments (a process in which the liquid in the blood, or plasma, is separated from the cells) I turned a corner and started to get stronger. After 15 days I was able to walk with the support of a nurse and a zimmer frame. I was then flown on an air ambulance back to Wales where I spent a further four months in a neuro rehab ward learning to walk, dress, wash, feed myself and write at the age of 31.
I was only able to walk a few steps with the aid of crutches but found I was so weak I had to use a wheelchair for eight months and continued to walk with crutches and then a walking stick for another year after that.
My recovery was frustratingly and painfully slow with nothing I could do except to wait for my nerves to regrow and hopefully return feeling to my feet and hands, so I could walk again and just be the person I was.
Today you may look at me and think I've fully recovered but those close to me will know that I deal with the residuals of this horrible illness on a daily basis, chronic fatigue, unexplained pains, muscle weakness and dysaesthesia, there is no known cure and all I can do is manage with what I have.
Before this illness I was a size 10, very active and healthy and was one of those people that could eat anything and never seemed to gain weight (I hate those people now!).
As a result of heavy medication and being wheelchair bound I gained 4.5 stone and hardly recognised myself in the mirror anymore, my boyfriend ended our relationship, I became depressed and cried a lot and didn’t want to be here, be a burden and feel worthless anymore.
Then I bumped into a guy I’d known since my teenage years and things improved, I had already been told by doctors it was unlikely I would be able to have children as due to the side effects of the medication I had stopped ovulating and was due to undergo procedures to investigate this but then, unbelievably a miracle happened and in July 2013 I gave birth to the son I never thought I’d have.
I continued to struggle with my weight as due to my illness I find it impossible to exercise other than walking without experiencing pain and lethargy the next day.
In May 2017 I had my second son and was determined to get back to somewhere near what I used to look like so joined Slimming World in July, six weeks after giving birth.
To date I have lost 4stone 3lb and am almost at target and have posted pictures of what I looked like 6.5 years ago, and my journey to what I look like now.
Everyone Has Their Own Journey
I guess what I’m saying is, everyone has their own journey and for some it’s harder than others but only you can control the pace you lose weight and you should feel so proud of yourselves! Don’t ever compare yourself to someone else and feel you’re not good enough, you have your own story and your weight loss journey is just that... yours, nobody else’s.
I love our little group and the support I’ve felt since joining has been amazing, I just hope I can inspire others by sharing this post to get to where they want to be
If you’ve made it this far, well done! Keep going guys, you’ve got this!
Footnote: Thank you to the amazing Emma from Killay Slimming World Group for allowing me to post this. (Taken from her original Facebook post with minor edits)