Why I Have Decided to Consider Weight Loss Surgery

December 9, 2020

ashley durham wisconsin blogger

Let me preface this blog by saying that this is super personal and I’m putting my deepest self esteem issue out on the internet in the hopes of it reaching the right people. I’m sharing about why I decided to consider weight loss surgery to battle my obesity. And I’m humbly asking for kindness in your hearts as you read.

ashley durham wisconsin blogger

My obesity is one of the most raw, embarrassing, humbling and deep-to-my-core topics I will ever talk about. But, I am not going to shy away from sharing because if I have learned one thing through my years of blogging: people connect here. And if I come across one person who can relate and let them know they are not alone, that I’m here – all the better.

I think the best way to start off my current situation of what I have decided to consider weight loss surgery to battle my obesity is to start from the beginning.

Why I Have Decided to Consider Weight Loss Surgery

I remember being the “big girl” as early as 4th grade, with a little double chin and belly, weighing 104 pounds. My mom had just gotten divorced and I remember eating nothing but quesadillas and chocolate milk, sitting in front of Nickelodeon for hours at a time. None of the kids wanted to be friends with me, and I remember feeling very alone and isolated because of my weight. I wasn’t like the pretty, popular girls who were stick thin and worthy of attention.

ashley in 8th grade

When I was in 8th grade, I used to like this kid at school and one day, out of the blue, he told me that I would be so beautiful … if I lost 20 pounds. I was 12 years old and weighed 130 pounds at 5’5” with C cup boobs. Now I look at photos like this one, and it breaks my heart, because I was beautiful just the freaking way I was.

I will never forget how worthless, ugly, disproportionate and awful I felt when he said that to my face with such a casual tone of voice. It’s been 25 years since my crush told me that, and to this day, I can still feel that little girl in me shying away from life.

Over the next four years, I put on another 10 or so pounds in pure muscle from swimming and water polo. I stayed a size 9, my boobs grew to a D cup and had a 4 pack and muscle definition in my toned arms and legs. I remember feeling so strong, but still not as thin, pretty or worthy as the girls who were smaller than me.

Then I Went To College

There wasn’t a day of the week I didn’t party and I made all sorts of really bad decisions. I ate crappy chow hall food and junk food and stopped swimming or working out consistently. I put on 15 pounds in a few weeks (hello, freshman 15 👋). Then, I dropped out of college and moved to Texas, where I got pregnant at only 18 years old.

I moved back to California, I was on welfare, I was a single teen mom renting a studio apartment. I ate ALL of my feelings … and ended up gaining 65 pounds in the last 3 months of my pregnancy. My blood pressure went through the roof from the rapid weight gain and stress of being a new mom. Not only was I super overweight, I was living a life I never saw coming.

ashley durham teen mom with baby danny

When Randy and I got engaged and married a few months later when we were 19, I remember feeling so ashamed. I refused to wear a real wedding dress, I covered as much of my body as I could under a Jean jacket at our courthouse wedding. Randy would tell me how beautiful I am, and instead of feeling loved I would feel ashamed because he never got to see me before I became obese.

Over the next 6 years, we would get pregnant 8 more times with our 3 additional children (yes, I have suffered through five miscarriages), and each time I would gain a little more weight. My weight hovered around 190 pounds no matter what I did, most likely because my thyroid was malfunctioning.

Obesity, Mental Health and Stress

When Randy was in the Air Force, I was so anxious all the time that I ate everything in sight. I tried every diet under the sun, and nothing helped; I might lose a little here and there, but ultimately I would never lose anything that stayed off. After I had Noah, I found some mild success with Weight Watchers, but after a few weeks I plateaued and quit. Of course, I gained every single pound back much faster than I had lost it.

Then, my gallbladder went out in 2015 and life as I knew it would never be the same. You see, without a gallbladder, my body can’t process fat the same way and so I started having really terrible GI issues. No matter what I ate, no matter what I did – it would lead to me being sick in the bathroom. It also prevented me from doing the keto diet, which is the only thing that ever worked for me over the years of my yo-yo dieting.

Over the course of the next five years, I would put on an additional thirty pounds. Unbeknownst to me, my thyroid had begun to grow cancerous tumors, and I developed Hashimotos disease (an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks itself; for me in particular, my body attacked my thyroid). In the early part of 2020, I was officially diagnosed with and treated for thyroid cancer.

As I’ve talked about before, part of the treatment for thyroid cancer is a total thyroidectomy. The thyroid controls so much of the body, including the metabolism, and for the last 8 months I have been battling never ending issues.

decided to consider weight loss surgery blog

I Hit My Breaking Point

When I finally tipped the scale at 251 pounds, the highest I’ve ever weighed in my entire life, I began to really consider what kind of life I wanted to live. Then I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and now recently I was diagnosed with mild obstructive sleep apnea.

As much as I hate to admit it because it’s embarrassing and upsetting, I am dangerously out of control with my weight and my health. I’m afraid of my future, and I don’t want my children or my husband to have to live without me.

So I have decided to pursue weight loss surgery as a possible option. This is not something that just popped into my head one day, and it’s not something I am considering lightly. This is not an easy way out, and weight loss surgery is not something that I ever thought would ever be in my plans.

What’s Happening Next

While I have decided to consider weight loss surgery to help me with my weight, to be quite frank I’m not sure I’ll even be able do it. I need to make sure I qualify mentally and physically, and I have to check with my insurance to see what they’ll cover since I do have some pre-existing medical conditions. I am meeting with a nurse next week to start the process, and to talk things through. 

In The Meantime

If you could, just send me some thoughts and prayers and kindness. If you have resources you think I might be interested in, post them in the comments below. It would mean the world to me. 




Leave a Reply

  1. […] last year, I wrote a blog about Why I’m Considering Weight Loss Surgery and I promised that I would share updates about the process. I got such a positive embrace from my […]

  2. […] get my weight loss surgery done and begin my new way of […]

see services

Joy-filled photography for families, boudoir, high school seniors and weddings. I've got you, boo! 

Let's Work Together

I'm Ashley! Family and wedding photographer in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, but I travel all over the country to hang out with the most incredible people. I am obsessed with puppies, extra hot coffee, incredible light and firmly believe that love conquers all.

Meet Ashley