always the fat girl
thanks to a family friend who repeatedly assaulted me sexually,
I stayed that way most of my life. I felt degraded and disillusioned,
and food became my most faithful friend. When I look back
at my life, I realize now that the abuse triggered my willingness
to accept repeated humiliation: an unfaithful husband, constant
stares from strangers, and an insatiable desire to gain
approval, spiraled me into an exhaustive and vicious cycle
By the fall of 2001,
at 35, I weighed over 600 lbs, and began my fourth year
as a recluse, bound to my home- physically and mentally.
The computer became my daily companion along with a host
of medical problems - the result of 35 years of obesity.
Sleep apnea, congestive heart failure, degenerative joint
disease, uncontrolled hypertension, depression, hypothyroidism,
and multiple female issues made it easier to WAIT TO DIE,
than to even try to live. I couldn't tie my shoes, or walk
to the door. I was repulsive.
All of this changed on an especially ugly day when my body
began to hemorrhage uncontrollably. The hospital weighed
me in at 587 pounds, and as I caught my breath at the sight
of those numbers on the scale, I lost it again, when I saw
myself in the mirror. I was enormous. It was then that something
snapped inside me.
Exercise and dieting
were hardly options. Every doctor I consulted refused to
do surgery. Finally, I found Dr. Hazem Elariny, and I tasted
hope for the very first time when he agreed to do my surgery.
weight began to drop leaving me with buckets of sagging
skin. My legs, arms, and stomach violently bounced every
time I moved. I was so uncomfortable in my old skin, that
doctors performed a "body lift" to remove a 23
pound sheet of skin -five feet long, ten inches thick. I
awoke from surgery to another crushing blow: my sister,
a single Mom, had been killed in a car accident. The pain
in my heart crippled my soul as I tried to remember the
last time we even spoke.
Somehow I made it through,
and endured a dozen or so more surgeries. I had repeated
infections and complications: my thigh lift alone required
400 stitches, a major blood transfusion, and multiple repeat
surgeries to remove rotting flesh.
My journey from a size
9X to a size 12 and the loss of over 450 lbs was excruciating.
Honestly, though, it was far less tormenting than the desperate
life I was living.
I'm no longer the fat
girl, and at 40 years old, I'm starting over. I created
ConnieJackson.net to encourage and educate people, and I
just finished my first book Big Issues...Obesity: The Choice
Between Life and Death. And even more importantly than all
that, I'm building bridges: raising my sister's 4 year old
son, dealing with all the issues that shoved me down, and
reaching out to people across the world. It's pretty amazing
and ironic to receive all this positive attention about
my story. But I'll take it, and I'll do good things with
it. It's time.