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Dispatches From Fat-Burbia: The Beginning

The Diagnosis and the Doctors

Where do I begin? Well, as the saying goes, start at the beginning. March 3, 2016. That's the day everything changed. I had been having problems breathing and just chalked it up to being almost 500 pounds. Of course I was out of breath everywhere I went. I was HUGE! You try walking around with that wrapped around your bones and see how far you get without needing to pass out. This was different, though. I was still recovering from viral pneumonia and my breathing never quite seemed to get better. The doctor said it was just bronchitis aggravated by the pneumonia, but I just I ended up taking the day off to get some rest. A good friend came by to hang out and watch 600 LB Life, which for a fat person is required viewing. It always feels good to see the next fat person escape from Fat Island. It must have been what it felt like to see your loved ones make it to the lifeboat on the Titanic. It makes you feel better because you see one of US go on and live the life you wish you could.

At this point, going to the bathroom had become an ordeal because I was having panic attacks from being in an enclosed space. Why? Because not being able to breath would bring on panic attacks, which made it even harder to breathe, which would make me panic. Get it? It was a vicious cycle to be in and the thought of going to the bathroom was pure torture. Close to midnight, I once again had to go to the bathroom and the panic set in. As I sat on that toilet gasping for breath with tears running down my face, I heard the voice of God as clearly as I here Adele right now telling some man he sounds like a song and looks like a movie. He told me to go to the emergency room. Now, here is where you have to understand. I HATE NEEDLES!!! That means I avoid the doctor like the plague because blood work is always involved. No sir! No doctors for me! This is common knowledge among my family and friends, so when I walked out of the bathroom and told my friend I needed to go to the hospital, she immediately jumped up and made sure I got there.


And Off We Went

As soon as I got to the ER, they heard my wheezing, saw the severe edema in my lower extremities and saw the color of my skin. I was rushed into a bay and given an IV in BOTH arms. People were shouting orders around my head. I had been plunged into an episode of Grey's Anatomy. Where was that super hot black dude with the grey eyes? He wasn't there. Where's Mer and Der? They weren't there either. It was just sterile, painful and confusing. A mask appeared from nowhere and was placed on my face. All of a sudden I could breathe! It was like a miracle. Then several nurses and doctors appeared on either side of my bed.

Miss Cobb, you are in active heart failure and renal failure. My heart sank and I needed to vomit. Heart failure? Kidney failure? All I could think was TRANSPLANT...DIALYSIS...DEATH! Those words were playing on a loop in my head. I heard nothing else. Then another doctor came by to say I was being admitted to the hospital and being taken to the Cardiac Critical Care Unit.


The Decision

Things got MUCH better once I was admitted. I was placed on a low sodium/low potassium diet, given all types of medications (via IV and orally) and I felt like a human being again. In the days that followed, I ended with a cast of thousands passing in and out my life. My doctors, who I dubbed the Gang of Seven, consisted of a Hospitalist (the ring leader), a rheumatologist (kidney duty), a nephrologist (back up kidney duty), a cardiologist (supporting player), an interventional radiologist (biopsy expert), a dietician (savior) and a hematologist (the blood dude).

With the Gang in place, a plan was hatched to get me better. Upon admittance, I weighed a whopping 472 pounds. Upon release (10 days later), I was down to 460 pounds. That's where this whole thing begins.

How About You?

Me at almost 500 pounds


The Plan is Afoot

Once I left the hospital, I was placed in the care of the Cardiac Care Center. It was their job to equip me with the tools necessary to continue the weight loss in the hospital. The thought of working with them was daunting. How could they help? What did that help look like? I didn't need anyone else in my life judging me on being a failure at being healthy. As it turns out, they were awesome! They gave me recipes, called me everyday to check my progress and encouraged me the entire time. I still work with them to this day and things are going very well.

By sticking to a low sodium/low potassium regimen, I've been able to lose 78 pounds so far, which caused me to create this blog. There are millions of people like me and all we need is support, encouragement and love.

Walk with me as I continue my success. If we're walking together, then you can see me fail, see me succeed and maybe I can inspire just one person.

Great Tools for Tracking Meals and Weight

Here are some tools I can't live without right now:

  1. A Fit-Bit. Tracking your steps is invaluable. You have to maximize your walking, get a good night's sleep and get up at least once an hour. Even if you just stretch and sit back down. Any activity is good activity. The Fit-Bit reminds you to move.
  2. My Fitness Pal. This app tracks your food, calories, nutrients and allows you to see your weight on a graph that shows clear progress or room for improvement.
  3. Yummly. This app is free and has thousands of recipes to keep you on track. The best recipes have no more than 6-7 ingredients and are ready in no time.
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Moving Forward

As I share my journey with you, check back for some healthy recipes, funny anecdotes (can't wait to talk about my hatred of chairs with arms) and helpful tips to get over the hump when you hit a set point.

Remember: Taking the first step is hardest part, but the destination is so worth it.

Me reaching Goal #1 (399 pounds)


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Joanna on April 11, 2016:

Thank you so much for sharing your story and being brave enough to bring others with you on your journey. You are already inspiring, and you have lots of people with pom-poms ready to be your cheerleaders! Let's all move forward together!

Deborah on April 09, 2016:

Natasha, You have inspired me to take definitive action and make this happen instead of just thinking about it and collecting recipes!

Cindy on April 09, 2016:

Hey Natasha! Your team of Toastmasters is supporting you and we are here to go thru it with you. By the way, when you hear GOD talking you need to listen. :) I hear the voice thru FROGS showing up. F ully R ely O n G od I am a phone call away any time for you!

Cassie on April 09, 2016:

My goodness Natash thank you for sharing your story! You're one of the most determined people I know so I'm sure you are going to nail this! I've recently brought my Fitbit out of retirement and have been doing really well during the week. The weekends are a different story. I think I'll burrow some of your courage! Rock out my friend! Oh and put a workout playlist together for your next blog maybe? And I'll even consider Barty Manilow for cool-down

Ursula on April 09, 2016:

Natasha...your story will inspire others and help hold you accountable. You have done a great job thus far and as many of us know...once YOU put your mind to is Done!!! Only you could take what seems like doom and gloom and turn it into a positive with a little comedy. I am glad you did not give up. I wish you continued success on this journey and I plan to be with you all the way...looking forward to the next post.

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