My entire life I’ve been the chubby girl, the overweight girl, the shy girl. I never knew what it was like to shop in the non-plus size section of a clothing store. I didn’t know what it was like to enjoy physical activity. I didn’t know that food played such a large part in my life until I started my weight loss journey in May 2014.
I was the yo-yo dieter. All or nothing—starve myself and exercise incessantly or binge at every meal and sit on my butt all day. Drop 50lbs; gain 60. I didn’t know moderation. I remember us as a family gorging ourselves at family dinners. Everyone ate until they were miserable. This is how I thought you were supposed to eat. I loved food. I still love food. Food was my crutch in every way. I was happy-I ate. I was sad-I ate. I was bored-I ate. Food probably was the best friend I ever had-it never let me down.
I met the love of my life, Paul , in the summer of 2010. I was the thinnest that I had ever been in my adult life. I was 225lbs for all of one week. Our romance and love story began. He was absolutely everything I never knew I wanted. I knew instantly that he was different and he was going to be very important to me. I knew I was going to marry him within 2 weeks of knowing him. And such the way it usually goes with dating, we drank—we ate—always in excess. I was the absolute picture of ‘fat and happy’.
But in 2014, I found myself in a place where my weight peaked at 341lbs. I was constantly out of breath. I avoided activity for fear of what I’d look like, not being able to do it, etc. I missed out on a lot. Paul and I dreamed of traveling but it never happened. Sure money played a part in it but, more so, was the fact that I didn’t think I’d fit in the airplane seat. There were all these things I wanted to do: travel, sky dive, horseback riding, roller-coasters, marathons—none of which I could because I was too heavy, too out of shape. I found WeightWise (http://weightwise.com/). I looked into Gastric Bypass. I was skeptical but I was overwhelming surprised by their program. It was everything I needed. And so I started my journey. I made dietary changes. I got active. I told all my family and loved ones.
In the months leading up to my surgery, my husband and I listed and sold our current home, built and then closed on our brand new dream home. We both had very solid jobs and our future was bright. I was slowing losing weight and becoming healthier. He had, also, quit drinking. My husband was very supportive. He was so happy and up for a promotion at work.
November 12, 2014 was a Wednesday. Paul and I got up super early and drove to the hospital. He was rather nervous. I was excited. My mom met us there. While in pre-op, my surgeon came in and instructed Paul to be my water Nazi, to line up medicine cups, fill them with water and make me take a shot every 5 minutes after surgery. I remember my mom telling Paul ‘take a look at her ass. It’s the last time you’ll see it’. We laughed. My surgery took a few hours longer than anticipated. I arrived in my room where mom and Paul were waiting for me. They took care of me. I had terrible nausea. Paul lined those medicine cups up and did just as he was instructed. I’d never seen him look so concerned since he was the happy go lucky type. I wanted to walk. He was nervous about it. He wanted me to stay in bed. But he escorted me around the hallway each time I got up. He got me ice packs. He was perfect. He was tired and wanted to go home. My mom was staying the night with me since he had to work the next day. Before he left, he filled my ice pack one more time. He hugged and kissed me good-bye. His last words to me ‘Drink. Drink. Drink. Walk. Walk. Walk. I love you, baby. I’ll see you tomorrow’.
If only I had known that that would be the last time. I would have held him longer. I would have…
There’s no sense in talking ‘what ifs’. They will drive you crazy. I hadn’t heard from him that next morning or afternoon. I was worried. After being discharged, I called around to try to find out if anyone had seen or heard from him. I remember having this just nauseating feeling in the pit of my stomach. I remember telling my mom that I knew something was wrong. Once I spoke to our friend that he worked with and him saying ‘No. He wasn’t at work today’. I knew that he wasn’t okay. My sister agreed to go check on him. Our friend agreed to go check on him. My mom’s friend agreed to check on him. Our friend called when he got to the house. I walked him through how to get in our garage. I asked how many cars there were. He says ‘two’. Oh my god. I can’t even describe the sick feeling I had. I knew. I heard the alarm say ‘garage door’ as he walks through the house I hear him ‘Paul? Paul? Are you here?’. The phone dropped. The call ended. I screamed at my mom telling her I needed to get home right at that moment. I’d never seen my mom drive that fast. I kept saying…’He’s dead, mom. I know it. I just know it’. We were speeding down the road when the phone rang. When I heard ‘Jessie, is your mom there…” in this voice that was trying so hard not to crack. I swear my heart stopped. I knew…I knew right then. I pulled at the door but it was locked and mom pulled over as she talked on the phone. I fell out of the car. I screamed ‘He’s dead. He’s dead. Noooo.’ I pounded my fists on the ground and I pulled the wet grass with my bare hands. My mom pulled me up, tears in her eyes, trying her best to console me. I have no idea what she was saying. I punched the dash board and screamed. That whole ride is a blur. I remember just mom and I sobbing. We pulled up to the curb across the street as there were cop cars in front on my house. The officer kneels down ‘Ma’am. Mrs. Ashworth. Do you know what has happened?’. ‘Yes, my husband’s dead’. He and my mom’s friend practically carried me in.
He had had his favorite meal: Papa John’s ham and onion pizza and a cookie and a bowl of ice cream. ESPN was still on the T.V. Mollie was curled in his arms; his phone on the charger on the night stand.
My husband died the same night I had my Gastric Bypass. How cruel this life can be. Paul’s life ended where my new life began.
And so my real journey began…
A Widow's Journey: ~Weight loss~ ~Change~Skin Removal~Life~