Hello everyone! My name is Mona, and I am currently fundraising for a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy to be done with Dr Guillermo Alvarez in Piedras Negras Mexico. Lets start by going back, back to a time where I only thought I was fat. I will say that I am morbidly obease. Yes, it is my fault. I accept that my actions have caused this, and am humbly asking for help to fix it.
I have always had a struggle with body image, and weight. I was a size 16W in 8th grade. I refused to wear dresses and hear about my "thunder thighs" or shorts because my legs would stick to the plastic chairs permanently attached to the school desks. Eventually, I hid from the world. I figured that sweatpants were just as good as anything, because they covered the appropriate parts of my body, and woohooo! Nobody would pay much attention to me. As senior year in high school approached, I had a little bit of control of my weight, and was holding at a womens size 18 (that's plus size, dontcha know?)
Then came the booze. I used it to run from myself, and continue hiding who I really was from the world. I was the life of the party, the hilarious funny fat girl. Everyone loved who they thought I was. I spent a handful of years drinking just to come out of my shell, so that I could tolerate being in the spotlight. One night, my life changed.
At 21, I found myself pregnant, alone, and finally sober. I was able to overcome the booze addiction because the terror of facing life sober, was significantly less than the terror of damaging an unborn child from unfettered alcohol abuse. I walked away from my life, my friends, people who called me "family" because I knew that this baby meant staying sober was the only reality I had.
Over the next 10 years, I worked overnight shifts, and evening shifts, so that my son could be cared for by people that I trusted. He was safe and well cared for, but I wasn't caring for myself very well. Sodas all night long to stay awake as the only cashier in a truck stop, running on a significant sleep deficit. Even with being constantly on the move in my job, my weight kept creeping up. Changing jobs to a swing shift position, allowed me to actually sleep a little bit more, but my own soda consumption and eating on the run continued to add pounds onto my already overweight body.
When I was 31, I was working in a grocery store, with awesome insurance! Or so I thought! I was jumping through the necessary insurance hoops that they required for getting any kind of bariatric surgery. The supervised diet plan. The supervised exercise plans. Mental health testing. Sleep Apnea testing, you name it, I did what the insurance company demanded of me. I had a surgery date scheduled. I was still a month away from fulfilling the complete list of requirements, which put the surgery date into a new calendar year. My original surgeons office ran my insurance again, after the new plan year started, and there was now another 4 months worth of items added to my list, and my share of surgical costs almost doubled. (Lets keep in mind, doing this locally, cash price, for a surgery that is uncomplicated, is $35,000 minimum.) My $1500 share of the surgery (deductible) and then my 20% after that came out to a total of $6,700. My bariatric office was willing to proceed with the surgery if I came up with my deductible of $1500, and then $3300 of my remaining responsibility. We set another surgery date, for November 2011. I had collected $3000 of the $4800 that I needed.
October 2011 I lost my job, thus my insurance. It wasn't necessarily my fault that this happened, but I could have handled the situation better than I had, so the bottom line is I was jobless, and I accept my responsibility in that happening. Getting a surgery that cost thousands of dollars was no longer a reasonable and responsible option, so I used my savings while finding a new job. Meanwhile, still gaining weight steadily, and trying all manner of self help to get rid of the weight.
Now, I am in a stable position with a local hospital, except our insurance policy expressly prohibits bariatric surgery or services, period. You would think that a healthcare company would jump for joy at reducing the long term costs of obesity and its associated problems. Sadly, it all comes down to cost.
This past year (2017) I was ready to pull the trigger so to speak. I started researching bariatric surgery options, and how much that would cost. I had already saved up $4,000 again, but was not really pleased with the reviews of the surgical facilities available near that price range. So I had decided to keep saving, and choose the option with the better overall outcome record, in a different location. Then, I broke my ankle. My savings went mostly to the surgery to repair it, and the bills for 6 weeks I was fully out of work. Back to square one.
I understand that the reasons for me being morbidly obese are directly related to my choices, and am actively working on changing those habits again. I am also currently attempting to save the money necessary to make this change, but I fear getting so close to the goal that I can feel it, only to have reality come crashing back down on me.
Please, consider making a donation. I would greatly appreciate any and all help I receive towards this surgical goal.