260lbs Lost Naturally!!! Need Skin Removal Surgery

Hello Everyone!


This is my inspiring sister, Catherine.

She started her weight loss journey 3 years ago, when she was being treated by her doctor for numerous medical issues.  Immune system disorder, pcos, high blood pressure and diabetes. In light of the possibility for additional medical conditions, her doctor urged her to take drastic measures, such as weight loss surgery.  Knowing that she didn’t want to take the risks associated with those procedures, she decided not to have any of the gastric bypass surgeries.  That day sparked a change--at the time, she weighed 418 lbs. Finally, she knew that her lifestyle was no longer an option, and it was up to her to make the change.  From that point she moved forward, and never looked back.  She devised a diet plan and held  a strict schedule for exercising because she wanted to lose the weight naturally.  I wondered how she gained all the weight, so I asked her, and this is what she shared with me:

 “After being told that my husband and I may not be able to fulfill our lifelong dreams of having children due to my pcos, I started to comfort myself with emotional eating— this is where it all really began and then started a downward spiral that I thought I would never defeat.  I let food control every part of my life, since I felt out of control in every other aspect.   I thought by feeding myself whatever sounded good at the time, it would make me feel whole, and give me peace about what was going on around me.  In reality all the years of junk food was slowly killing me.  Although, this hasn’t been the only time I’ve had struggles with food, and emotional eating.  I’ve never been considered a skinny person—I’ve always struggled with my weight and growing up with 3 skinny sisters I never understood why I had to be the “fat” one.  Little did I know, that it wasn’t something i was going to grow out of, or leave behind in childhood.  I started to say that it was just in my genes somewhere down the line or that i was just ‘a big person’ and used that as an excuse to just eat more.   Thinking that it didn’t matter because I was already fat and what’s one more cheeseburger, one more cupcake.  The day I got engaged I remeber thinking this is it. Now is the time to lose the weight!  Sadly,  I ended up gaining more weight and got married at 330lbs, and just like moving from childhood to adulthood, the food addiction didn’t end, it just got worse. Watching everyone I grew up with start families, my beautiful sisters all having 4-5 kids. I let that all fester inside of me and my emotional eating went into hyperdrive. I lived off of fast food and anything that made me feel good at the time. I told myself everyday I needed food to make me feel better about myself, to feel better about my situation, to just feel better for a few minutes or hours about the world around me.  I was at the point where I had no idea what to do, or if I would ever make it through.  Food had controlled my life for so long—What would I do when I was sad or disappointed?  What would I do if I was bored, or worried about something?  What would I do while watching a tv show, etc.  Food filled my life and was always my go to for everything.   At 418 lbs and sick of allowing food to dictate my every move in life, it was time for a change. 
Food was the hardest part for me because I allowed it to control me for so long. Beating the food addiction was the hardest part of the process, because everyone has to eat, and that made it harder, but it gave me the biggest feeling of freedom to take back control of it. So thankful I was able to turn my life around for the better”.

 The last 3 years have been filled with blood, sweat, and tears as she worked hard to transform her body and help motivate others along the way.  Through her dedication to both diet and exercise, she has lost 260 lbs.!  As of her last doctor’s appointment, all of her previous medical conditions have been reversed.

This year brings a new chapter to the journey--skin removal.  While she has reaped numerous health benefits from her efforts, she is facing new challenges as a result.  Excess skin hanging from all over her body is now causing severe back and knee pain, making it difficult to walk/jog and carry out daily activities.  She is now at a point where surgery is the only option and has met with many surgeons to discuss her options.  Most surgeons have not had the confidence in completing a surgery that will remove the excess skin to provide relief from this pain.  After many months of searching, she has found a surgeon who is confident that they have the ability to complete this surgery.  The surgery needs to be completed in two parts over a 3-month period., and will be concentrated on the thighs, lower abdomen, and buttocks.  Even though she has received reports from numerous medical professionals that a surgery like this is medically necessary, her insurance company has refused to cover it.  The surgery to remove this excess skin and provide relief totals $40,000.  My sister loves to help people and would do anything for anyone—my wish is to help her get some relief.

She has worked so hard, and has had a goal to not have any surgeries on this journey.  Since they are medically necessary and the only option she has left, she is willing to endure the pain and extensive recovery times to alleviate her pain.  I know that these surgeries will be the answer to the pain she is experiencing, as well as her overall quality of life.  Please consider sharing her story, and if you are able to make a monetary donation, she would be extremely thankful for anything you can do. 

If you need a little inspiration you can follow her through this link in her motivation group and on her Facebook page.  She has worked to inspire others as she shares her story, and with your help she will be able to get these surgeries completed.  Thank you all for taking the time to read this and I hope you become as motivated and inspired from hearing her story as I have, as well as many others.

5 Month Life Update:

Hello Everyone,

I have the following note from Catherine:

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported and contributed towards my skin removal journey so far—it truly means the world to me. To everyone who has shared my story, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wanted to give a little update as to all the craziness that has come about these last 5 months.

My skin removal surgery was scheduled for July, and everything was going smoothly, when my surgeon noticed I had very large veins bulging in my legs and that they would need to be addressed before the surgery could happen. I went to see a vein specialist and they explained to me that the veins in my legs were both on the surface and further deep down.  They told me that I would not be able to have the skin surgery, because one of the veins could be punctured and lead me to bleed out during the procedure.  The veins would have to be taken care of, so that there wouldn’t be any complications with the skin removal surgery.  To an extent, that’s all we knew about the surgery, not knowing how involved the procedures would be, but this was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through.

Fast forward 4 months, through 14 weekly excruciating treatments.  My body was subjected to pain, both physically and mentally, and I was restricted from going to the gym.  I had reached my limit physically, emotionally, and mentally.  Twoweeks before my scheduled skin removal surgery, we knew thatmy body would not hold up for another extensive surgery, and that it would need to be postponed.

After my last vein treatment, having spent most of the last 4 months with my legs propped up, with no exercise and experiencing a massive amount of pain, I was down. This was not what we thought was going to happen.  The vein treatments were so unexpected, that I was unprepared for that part of thisjourney, and the toll it had taken on my body, our finances, and my overall well-being--I was scared, frustrated and very down. Two days before my original skin removal surgery, I started having horrible pain in my upper right leg and lower stomach, and I knew something was very wrong. We ended up going to the ER, with what they said was a femoral hernia and would need to see a specialist ASAP.

The next day. I was scheduled for an emergency hernia repair, and I was devastated. Now, there was no skin removal, and Iwas having a completely different surgery, that wouldn’t address my loose skin.  My frustration was high, because I worked so hard and wanted to start a new phase of my journey. Thankfully God knew everything that was going to happen, and he was taking care of me. My surgery ended up taking much longer then they had planned. I woke up from surgery and my husband told me I didn’t even have a hernia--I couldn’t believe it.

A vein wrapped around an inner artery causing pain and eventually would have torn through and become extremely dangerous. My medical caregivers said if I had the skin removal surgery, it was possible that the artery could have broken, and caused major bleeding issues. That was all I needed to hear to know that God was protecting me and that my body wasn’t ready for such a 12-hour surgery. In the last month, I have been cleared to get back to workouts and I’m so excited. I gained roughly 30 lbs. over the 4 months of vein procedures. Thankfully, I’ve lost around 20 of those lbs. in the last 6 weeks,and my goal is to lose the rest by the new year.

When I started the vein procedures, we closed the gofundme, since we didn’t know what the future held for me concerning theskin removal. We were also surprised by some of the vein treatments not being covered by insurance. My husband and I both picked up part times jobs in the evening, in addition to our full-time jobs to try and get these bills paid off as soon as possible. This way we can resume saving for my skin removal. :) As of right now there is not set date, but I anticipate having it in 2020 or 2021. We are hoping to get the remaining funds raised by then.  The money that we have previously raised is in a surgery fund that will be combined with the remaining funds to pay for the skin removal.

I appreciate every person who shares my story. To those who have felt inspired by my story or feel led to give towards my skin removal surgery, I can’t say thank you enough to each and every one of you.  Sometimes life doesn’t go away and that’s ok. I’m ready to start this journey again. I get asked almost daily if I’m sad or depressed that nothing happened how we planned. A couple months ago I would have said yes, and that I was struggling to keep a positive mind. Now I know that everything happens for a reason and I’m trusting God through it all.

I’m ready to crush it, get back to the gym, and do this again. Will it be hard?  Oh yes! Will I fail? I’m sure many times. I won’t give up. I won’t quit. If I fall, I’ll dust myself off and get back to it.  Follow my story, because if your betting against me I would get a refund. Through this process, I’ve found that I’m worth it, I’m worth spending time on myself to be the best version of myself. You are worth it!  You are worth getting heathy and changing those unhealthy life choices. If you know your health needs to improve. Change it! Maybe you have fallen so many times and think you can’t do it. Listen to me--I’m noone special. I told myself every day that no matter what the day brings, I will get up and keep going. I will hold onto my “why”and keep going. Ask yourself “what is your why “.

Why do you want to get healthy? What is your “why” to keep you going on the hard days? Are you a mom, sister, brother, dad, wife or husband? Whatever your “why” is, hold onto it and write it out. You will always have it near to keep you motivated to keep going even when you feel like giving up. Today is your day to start this journey. So get up and make today your day!! You got this


Added to this will Include an extra $5,000 for doing some extra grafting on the upper abdomen. 

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000071905961 This is my Facebook page. 
I also have a group called it all starts with you healthy living tips and motivation  in the link below :) 

https://m.facebook.com/groups/257148841442153This is a motivational group - if you want to follow my journey or you would like to get started on your own journey. We would love to have  you join. https://m.facebook.com/groups/257148841442153">https://m.facebook.com/groups/257148841442153 

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Catherine Shank 
Oklahoma City, OK