Steve's Skin Surgery

    I'd like to start off by saying that I am very hesitant in writing this. I am not really one to ask for help, but I have exhausted every option available.
    When I was a teenager I became very ill with intestinal issues that had rendered me nauseas chronically and unable to do much physical activity. My gal bladder wasn't working correctly and I was diagnosed with dysmotility syndrome, (meaning my intestines worked out of wack). With the lack of physical activity and a  poor diet, I began gaining weight rapidly. In middle school I was made fun of, ridiculed, and shamed on a daily basis for being overweight, and it didn't stop when I got home.
    I was labeled "the fat kid".  No one even bothered to get to know by name. I was too nervous to be seen in public as I  was always stared at, and made fun of. I spent the majority of my time inside and away from as many public settings as I could. My only interaction with the world outside my home was school, where I was humiliated and attacked consistently, which took a sinister toll on my mental health. I was incredibly depressed, and my weight was regularly increasing, along with my intestinal issues.
    There is one particular incident I remember: while walking to literature class in middle school, I was climbing the school staircase, minding my own business when a girl (I had never even met before this matter) turned around, looked at me and yelled out in front of everyone "You're fat and ugly!" not only was that embarassing and painful for me to hear, but it was totally uncalled for. She didn't even know me. I was a genuinly nice guy, but unfortuately she was unable to see past my exterior.  Everyone laughed at me. Not a single person stopped to say "He didn't deserve that" or "Be nice" or even just a simple "Don't say that". Every single person laughed at me. I felt as if I was nothing more than a fat, walking punchline for everyones amusement. I cried in the school bathroom for a while after that.
    I was harshly bullied in school. It was anything from verbal disrespect, "Hey fatty" or "fat nerd" to having my body and personal items touched and disrespected such as being 'bean dipped' and having my book bag stuffed in a trash can. I even had my back pack get thrown down the flights of stairs (after already having difficulties going up them in the first place from being overweight). Events such as these always made me late to class. No one seemed to care though, as I wasn't seen as a person anymore, just a walking joke.
    Eventually I ended up being homeschooled because of all the time I had to take off from school for being sick so frequently. I spent most  my time indoors. I would literally go weeks without stepping outside. I didn't care though, I was too depressed to care about anything. I was sick all the time, overweight, and was never taken seriously by anyone, so it didn't seem worth it to even try to brighten my day. My grades were poor, it was even threatened that if my grades did not improve I would be kicked out of the online school program I was using. I was going nowhere. I was just sitting around miserable, gaining weight, and waiting to die. By this time I was extremely obese, in pain, and always nauseas.
              I just soaked in my own depression for years. Until about October of 2011. I was at a cousin's birthday party where there was the normal party cuisine (pizza, soda, cake etc.)  As I was walking around drinking my root beer, I had noticed the girl I had a crush on at that time, was there. While reaching for a slice of pizza, my uncle started laughing at me and said "Yeah! Get it Steve!" As it seemed to always be funny for others to watch the "fat kid" eat. It was at that moment that everything came full circle for me. I knew that I would never get women like that, or even be happy if I kept going the way I was going.
               Eventually I  lost over 120 pounds. I was feeling motivated, and unstoppable.  But I didn't want to just lose 120 pounds and have that be my success story. I wanted more, I wanted to make myself the best I could be. I then researched some military fitness tests to see where I fell on their fitness scales. That is when I discovered the Marine Corps.  It sounded like a challenge that I was willing  to meet, and from that point I became obsessed with bettering myself. After some more conditioning I had decided to enlist. I talked to a local recruiter and before I knew it I was signing the dotted line. I was excited.
     Everything was going great. I joined the delayed entry program for the marines, I had a ship date to bootcamp, had a beautiful girlfriend (who is now my wife) and I was in good shape. But, eventhough I lost all the weight, and was physically fit, I still had an excess of skin hanging around my chest and abdomen. For a time I thought it would go away, so I didn't think  anything of it.
    Its been nearly 4 years now, and the skin hasn't reformed at all. It gets pinched everytime I have to wear my flak jacket, its gotten stuck in car doors and windows, and it hurts my abdomen everytime I run. 
     I've been through so much, and worked so hard to get where I am, but it feels as if I have nothing to show for it except for more problems. I can't take my shirt off at the beach while spending time with my wife, my clothes don't fit right, and I am always finding new places to get my skin wedged into, or pinched.
I have reached out to the Marine Corps and Tricare, but unfortuately there is no way that they can pay for this life changing surgery. This is my last resort, and I cannot even begin to explain how incredibly grateful I would be to finally be able to not feel so held back by this extra skin anymore.
All the funds would strictly be used for paying for the surgery out of pocket. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my story and for all your help. My gratitude for you all is eternal.


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Steven Roberts 
Kaneohe, HI
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