Monday, September 16, 2013

TOPS rally

Awesome….that’s the best word I can think of to describe last Saturday’s TOPS (Take off Pounds Sensibly) rally that I was invited to speak at.  In all honesty, until I was invited to speak at the Rosebush TOPS meeting back in the spring, I had never heard much about the program. Since then, I have had the privilege of speaking/sharing my story at several other chapter meetings.  Saturday….I had the absolute JOY of speaking to TOPS members from all over the state of Michigan. WOW!  What an honor, and what a wonderful group of people!


I can’t begin to thank them enough for the opportunity, and for the tremendously warm welcome I received. I saw quite a few familiar faces from the various “chapters” that I had met when I visited them during their regular meetings, but I met a WHOLE LOT of new people.  It was a very large…(and I don’t mean in body size, but rather in numbers, 200 or so) It was so good to see so many people who are working hard to make healthy choices in their lives and to change their lives.  What a great group….and so FUN! They had skits, raffles, singing, and even dancing!  Even though I have never belonged to TOPS, I felt very much “at home” and am extremely impressed with the various programs they offer to support each other on their journey to lose, and keep off, weight, without the use of crazy fad diets, surgery, or diet pills.  I look forward to getting to know more about the program and gaining support on my own journey from the many people I met there, those I will meet at future speaking opportunities, and the many that have joined our group.  WELCOME!!!!


Although I spoke for a very long time, there is still so much of my story that remains untold. I guess that’s why I need to get serious about making time to write that book! There was not time at the end of my presentation to answer questions and the ‘burning question” that seemed to be the biggest mystery when people spoke with me privately at the end was, “what about excess skin….did you have surgery?”  SO…for those inquiring minds…….the answer is….NO, I didn’t have surgery and YES, I have a very big problem with excessive skin.  Literally, it has been one of the most challenging consequences of losing 270+ pounds, and it is something that I have to face every day.  It plays havoc on my self-esteem on a daily basis, but after consulting with a surgeon and discovering the cost, pain, risk, and scarring, I have…at least at this point…decided NOT to have surgery to remove the skin. 


When I spoke with the surgeon, I was told that it would cost approximately $80,000 dollars (my insurance does not cover it), involve about 4 or more different surgeries over a 2 year or so period of time, with extensive recovery time and an incredible amount of scarring. Literally, I would be carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey from my knees to my neck.  As I mentioned many times, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, an auto-immune disease, and already have an immune system that does not function normally. I have to go to great lengths to avoid coming in contact with those that are sick. When I catch a simple cold, or get even a small cut, it takes 2 or 3 times longer for me to fight off the infection, and I often end up very ill from a ‘little cold”.  SO…the thought of having myself cut open with very long, extensive incisions, and the risks/complications involved is not too appealing. It would be a horrible tragedy to work so hard to get my life back, only to end up too sick…or worse, dead….because I couldn’t “deal with” the skin.   SO….

The next question is……WHAT DID YOU DO WITH IT?    Well, my friends….my new “best friend” is called SPANX! (actually mostly the “off brand” stuff you get a Meijer, Walmart, Kohls, Kmart, etc. because of cost).  Shape-wear can do wonders. Fortunately, it is the best kept secret for women, and shape-wear comes in so many different styles, colors, etc….definitely not your “grandma’s girdle” anymore! It is stylish and very comfortable, easy care, and really comes in great looking pieces. If you have the jiggles, you should try some, but be warned, it can be very expensive; hence the off-brand pieces, and you may work up a “sweat” just trying to get in and out of it, especially those 1-piece numbers! LOL.  Now, if I could only figure out how to take the layers of skin on my tummy and get it to my chest and my thighs to my derrière, I’d be in business! (sorry, guys in the group!) 


Please feel free to post/ask any other questions that you may have. I’m willing to talk about most things, as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of those closest to me. Also, if anyone at any of the various chapters took pictures of the rally, please email them to me. The few that I took were all too dark to post, and I’d like to create a TOPS page on my website.   Also, if there are any BEFORE-AFTER pictures you’d like to share, please send them along as well. It really helps to motivate me, and others in this group, to see PROGRESS, and we will be able to give you support and encouragement as well. 

Visit my website: to see more pictures from the Rally.