21st February 2007 and I was anxiously waiting for news from an emergency funding appeal board to see if I had been successful in being approved to have a lifesaving gastric bypass on the NHS. I had turned 25 the day before and weighing in at 443lbs was told that I was at ‘catastrophic risk of spontaneous fatal thrombosis’ before reaching 30. My BMI was 57, I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without having to stop halfway and I was wearing size thirty six clothes. I couldn’t roll over in bed, I was having chest pains regularly and was taking nine different medications a day. I had already been turned down twice for NHS funding because I didn’t meet their criteria, and we were reaching the point where my GP was wondering whether I should try and gain the additional two stone to push my BMI up to 60 and to a point where they would have to fund me.
Yes people out there will be saying that I had done this to myself, and I’m the first to agree with them, however there is no way a woman eats herself to death’s door without serious underlying issues. I had tried every diet going, but the deluge of crap inside my head about me, my life, my past, my future, my worth as a human being and my place on the planet was too much to take and I always resorted to food. I’d passed the tipping point where I could get myself out of this situation without intervention and that was when Shaw Somers came in to my life.
It was a lady called Laura who phoned me and I remember her saying that she would normally have sent a letter but was so pleased the decision had gone my way that she wanted to phone and be the one to tell me, I had been approved for funding and would be put onto the waiting list to have the operation that was going to give me a second chance at life. On the 18th July 2008, I was put to sleep at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester and woke up a few hours later with a stomach the size of a small plum and a scary sense that life was never going to be the same again.
Adjusting to not being able to rely on food to soothe me and to push down any unwanted feelings and emotions has not been an easy ride, it’s one I’m still struggling with on a daily basis but my life has changed infinitely since I woke up on the operating table. I realise that I was given a miracle and so somewhere deep down, the chance to help others with miracles of their own was what prompted me to sign up for the Great South Run before I could run for a bus…
In three months and 2 days time I’ll be taking my place at the start line to run (jog, walk, crawl) the 10 miles along Southsea seafront with my wonderful sister in law and my friend from work both of whom will leave me in their dust (!) and I’m hoping to be able to raise money for my chosen charity Miracles, to enable them to continue providing many miracles for others. At home through their work with child carers, respite breaks and crisis grants to their work abroad, including the Miracles Centre for Prosthesis and care helping land mine victims in Bosnia, Miracles offers help to those in supreme need and turn despair into hope.
I was in supreme need and got the help I needed to get my life back on track, six years ago it was unimaginable that I was going to make it to 30, let alone be 31 and in a job I love with a newfound passion for running. Being out pounding the pavement makes me feel alive, it clears my head of the backlog of crap and makes me feel like I can take on the world. Now it’s time to repay my miracle and offer hope to those who are still suffering and may not be able to see a way out.
This is where you come in – there are lots of wonderful people doing amazing things to raise money for very worthy causes however any money that you can spare will be so gratefully received and put to very good use by the Miracles team. If you’d like to sponsor me to bust my arse round the course, please visit Alice’s Justgiving page