About Arizona Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center

Dr. John W. Cory and My Weight Loss Struggle

This is a guest blog post from Julie Sims who is a patient of Dr. Cory’s. Read her touching story and follow her journey further on her blog!

My Story

I grew up in Sedona, AZ during a time when we didn’t have TV or video games. All we had was Oak Creek Canyon, our bikes and the Red Rocks. Yet even though I was active, I was always overweight as a kid, with a parent who I could never please.  The weight struggle continued into my high school years and beyond.

The first significant weight loss I had was at age 20,  under a doctor’s care I was put on a liquid protein diet and in three months lost 55 pounds.  At twenty four I married and moved to Seattle, WA.  I gained weight within the first two years of marriage, got pregnant and was significantly overweight when my daughter was born. Between my first and second child, I had lost 125 pounds. I gained it back and then lost 130 pds the second time in 1994 and a divorce. After the second weight loss I had excessive skin that needed to be removed in two long surgeries lasting eight and five hours, to the tune of twenty thousand dollars.  I managed to keep the weight off for about two years and remarried someone who faced his own challenges of being bi -polar and an obsessive compulsion disorder.  The relationship suffered. The weight came back plus some.  In 2000, I once again lost 130 pounds and the husband.

In 2000, I met my soul mate- my wonderful husband who has never judged me and has loved me regardless of my weight struggles.  But we got comfortable in our lifestyle and once again I gained the weight back.

In 2007 my daughter announced she was getting married and I realized I had one year to get the weight off -, this time for good, or so I thought. I once again lost 127 pounds and  managed to keep it off for two years. I really thought I had learned whatever lesson I needed to learn, through a lifetime of being overweight.  Well the story continues, because I “didn’t”  learn and apparently became unconscious again.

Soon after my son graduated from high school, he too began a life changing event. He lost 150 pounds by himself and has managed to keep it off.  His struggle began in elementary school and I feel guilty that I didn’t have the skills or the knowledge to lead him down a healthier road. He is one of my biggest inspirations. He has kept it off- something I was never able to do. He said something to me that I think most people who have gone through this battle of losing weight will understand. He said, “once you lose the weight you are just like everyone else.  People aren’t praising you or encouraging you, and it hurts to know that people don’t understand the pain that goes with this battle”.  I thought about this question for a long time.  I clearly understand now, that in order to “not” be like everyone else you have to be willing to put yourself out there and try and make a difference. Your light shines from within; it just depends on how bright you want it to shine.

In additional to a lifetime of weight issues, I have terrible allergies and face sinus infections frequently. I was prescribed Levaquin and utilized this antibiotic over the course of two years every three or four months.  I was out walking one day, when I felt a pop in my right calf muscle. The pain wasn’t horrible, but definitely noticeable. I was able to walk home and didn’t think too much about it. As time went on, my ankle got worse.  The weight came back and finally the doctor ordered an MRI.  On the morning of the MRI, I went to reach for something and I felt two pops in my lower right leg. It took me to the ground and I sat in my closet for half an hour, holding my leg.  The MRI revealed a ruptured Achilles tendon.  Surgery was the only option for repair.

I am a big believer in signs from our higher powers. Call it GOD, Buddha, Spirit Guides; I happen to call them my angels. I asked for a sign that I could not mistake, as to whether this surgery was the right thing to do.  On the morning of the surgery, I checked into the outpatient surgery center and when weighed In I weighed 313 pounds. The nurse led me to my bed and then a few minutes later, she  came back and told me I “wouldn’t” be able to have the surgery at the outpatient clinic because I was over the weight limit.  I got the sign I asked for right smack in the face.  I also believe that when you ask for a sign and get one, you must follow it. As I left the outpatient center, I thought to myself, I could lie to my family and tell them there was a scheduling conflict, find a new doctor and never come back to this outpatient clinic. Ten years ago, that is what I would have done, but I didn’t.  I realized that my entire life had been about weight loss and lying to myself. I called my physician and told him personally, how embarrassed I was and how sorry I was. I told him that I wanted to reschedule the surgery for two months later and that I would lose enough weight to be under the weight limit.  I am not so sure he believed me, but went ahead and rescheduled it for Dec 26th.  He wanted me to go see a nutritionist who could help me lose the weight.  That’s when I told him. This ain’t my first Rodeo.

That day changed my life…. I enrolled at the YMCA in Carefree in water aerobics because that is all I could do with the injury I had. The instructors and fellow water participants knew of my impending surgery and my need to lose as much weight as possible for the surgery and were very supportive. My beautiful daughter went with me six days a week and on Dec 26th I went to that same surgical center, checked in and they lead me to my bed. I asked,  “Aren’t you going to weigh me in?”  The nurse said, “I can tell you are under the weight limit, just tell me what you weigh”.  I told her the story of the two previous months and that I had a battle to win with that scale.  I weighed in and had lost 33 pounds!  Dr Cory walked in and was truly impressed. He later told me, “You are not aware of how many people you inspired that day.”  I felt a power like I have never felt before.  Could this be my purpose? I have certainly faced the battle of weight my entire life.

I had to be off my leg completely for six weeks and rode a knee scooter.  I couldn’t swim and was very scared that the control I had going into the surgery would leave.  Let me say this.  My doctor, Dr John Cory, inspired me to continue. His humanistic approach to medicine touched me and he has given me the voice and the courage to undertake this battle for the last time.  I have never connected with a doctor the way I did with him.  He told me about his brother’s struggle with weight loss and his many patients who if they only could understand the health benefits of losing weight, could change their lives forever.  He asked me if I would be interested in helping some of the patients who may express an interest in doing just that.  My reply was, “Of course.”  At each visit I became more inspired by this man.  His true dedication to his profession and his patients is truly unlike any doctor I have ever encountered.  I can only imagine and hope one day, that I too can make a difference daily in people’s lives- the way he has in mine.  I will forever be grateful.

After six weeks of my leg in a cast and no weight on it, I was allowed to walk again.  You may think that would be a natural thing to do, but it did take some adjusting to and wearing a boot brought on additional challenges of how to keep your body in alignment-not an easy task. I was allowed to go back to the water and at six months since that reawakening day at the out-patient center, I can say I have lost 67 pounds and walk with the boot 2 miles a day, ride my spin bike 5 miles and swim as often as I can. It feels so good to be able to move again and not hurt or struggle to get out of a chair. I still have a long way to go and this time is will be the last.  I started rehab one week ago. My goal was for them to say, “You don’t need this, and you can go home.“  Well I wasn’t able to meet that specific goal, but they did say I would only need about four sessions and when the boot comes off in about a month, I should be good to go. Weight loss can be achieved, even with an injury!  “Your life can and will change.”

You may think, wow this woman really is a lost cause. How can anyone go through so much weight loss and gain and the pain that comes with it?  Whether Self imposed or society imposed or where ever it comes from, it is real and it has lingering emotional scares. I truly believe the wounding you receive in your life is what allows you to access self healing at a deeper level. It is also what pushes you forward.  Society in general places regulations; restrictions if you will; on how we structure our lives.  Would I change what I have encountered?  At one time, yes. But now, I look back in retrospect and see how far I have come.  Perhaps I look at this as learning to build the inner-being first.  Had I not gone through this long road of self inflicted humiliation, would I not carry the compassion for others who have not yet awakened to it?

It took me a lifetime to learn this lesson. I am writing this in hopes that someone can learn from my unconscious state and can find the inspiration to change their life.  Find people who support you and get rid of the ones who don’t. This may mean letting people go you have known for a lifetime.  Build your life around the people who can see YOUR inner visions. Find a doctor who will stand by you and encourage you.  And don’t ever forget that once you LEARN IT, YOU LIVE IT AND YOU PASS IT ON. Your power becomes yours and yours alone and it is the most wonderful gift you can truly give yourself.  I owe a lot to the people who surround me.  My husband, my daughter and son, my doctor, but in the end, it was mine to win. The finish line will never be in sight. I can never let go of the control I have or the lifetime of lessons that it has taught me. It is good to have an end to the journey…. but in reality, it is the journey that matters in the end.

Follow me on my journey at whenurlargeurnotincharge.wordpress.com.

John Cory

John Cory

Dr. John W. Cory M.D. is the Foot and Ankle Center orthopedic surgeon. Dr. John Cory is a fellowship trained, board certified foot and ankle surgeon. He specializes in sports foot and ankle injuries in Phoenix.

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