The following was written by guest blogger Stephanie Woodbury, winner of our social media contest for a free year of Yoga. Stephanie shares her journey with us.
So, this year so far … has been a year of challenge, perseverance, growth, and acceptance.
You see, when I was picked to receive this AMAZING GIFT of yoga for a year, I thought: “Yay, overweight mommy is finally getting her butt in gear and gonna drop these POUNDS! Let’s DO IT!” What I didn’t know is, I was about to get all of that and more — but not the way I thought.
I had never done a single class of yoga before this year. The first class I attended was the all-levels flow class. It kicked my butt, in the best way possible.
However, as soon as I started to hit my stride with classes, I got horribly sick for a week with something that I thought was a stomach virus. I had been having nausea off and on, but it was getting worse as the weeks went by.
In February, I finally went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with gallstones and my gallbladder had to be removed. So, on March 15, out it went, followed by 6 weeks of physical restriction, which meant NO YOGA. It stalled my momentum, but little did I know that this would be the least of my problems.
I knew that I might have problems with eating after my gallbladder was removed, but I literally couldn’t eat ANYTHING after my surgery. If I tried, it would either run straight through me or I would immediately be sick. This went on for weeks and weeks.
I went to another GI doctor and had an EGD and colonoscopy done, but at first, she couldn’t find the cause of my problems. Then she discovered I had a condition called post-cholecystectomy syndrome, a severe response to having your gallbladder removed. It can last for weeks or even months before finally, slowly subsiding.
The weight just dropped off me because I couldn’t eat. Although I was happy about the weight loss, the way I was losing it wasn’t healthy. I was 334 lbs at the end of February. I am now 271 lbs — I’ve lost 63 lbs.
While I was going through all of this, I was also struggling with my future. I had taken a year off from nursing school after getting my associate degree, to home-school my 3 kids during the COVID-19 pandemic. I had intended to start nursing school this summer, but because of my health, I missed the deadline to reapply. I would have to wait yet another year and a half before I could even start nursing school again.
This forced me to re-evaluate if nursing was truly the path for me. After several weeks of prayer, talking with my husband and family, and doing some MAJOR soul searching, I decided to go back to UALR. In the fall, I will pursue a new degree in business management with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.
It took me a while to let go of my nursing dream, but it allowed me to follow another dream I’ve always had: to own my own business.
I am thankful to report that as of the past few weeks, my appetite has slowly started to return, and I’m starting to tolerate food in small amounts. I have good days where I can kick butt and do my yoga classes, but I also have bad days where I am sick as a dog. Lately the good days have started to outweigh the bad days. YAY!
These past several months have taught me that, more than anything, we have to keep getting up when life knocks us down. I’ve had to learn that plans sometimes change and I have to be prepared to go with the flow.
Life doesn’t always look the way we thought it would. Life changes unexpectedly; I just have to be okay with not being in control sometimes. Sometimes, I have to say “Okay God. This isn’t what I wanted, but it’s clearly what I needed. So please help me to navigate through it.” I’m going to continue on my weight loss journey and continue to get stronger with yoga classes. So watch out, this girl isn’t done yet.