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Melting: A woman's tale of losing weight — and finding that extra pounds weren't her only problems 

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My writing began to attract a small following of friends, and some strangers, who all wanted me to kick this weight thing's ass! Their comments and love became my lifeline. I wrote with a new vigor ... but for an audience. While I tried to be as honest as I possibly could, I wasn't being honest with me. For a while, the outside love and support helped, but eventually — as they always do — things fell apart.

Post-Op Week 16/17: ... And I feel some kinda way

June 26, 2009: This past weekend, I came face to face with that pink elephant that I've been ignoring. And oh yes, the bitch was back with a vengeance. It was making up for lost time. So here I was, waking up and still buzzed Monday morning — with not a clue as to how I got in my bed. I'm here to tell you, I was feelin' some kinda way.

I rode an emotional roller coaster for the two days and finally on the third day the cloud lifted, and I began to clean. I was gettin' rid of shit that I hadn't looked at or thought of in years but felt like I had to hold on to because I felt some kinda way about 'em. I felt empowered. With the support of my friends, I decided to take on the elephant: alcohol. Drinking could no longer be a part of who I was because — as a very dear friend of mine said — "you have an allergy to alcohol, and you had a SEVERE reaction."

Stacey — 290 pounds

Last Flag: We're off to the races.

I'm an addict, plain and simple. If it feels good, I want it; and I want more of it before I'm done with the first. While I'd known this on an intellectual level for a very long time, I finally decided it was time to do something about it. I went to rehab. (Amy Winehouse be damned!) It was truly the most freeing experience of my life. Baring your soul in front of a group of perfect strangers might sound a little off-kilter and slightly risky, but for me it was an affirmation that I wasn't the only one ... and, hell, I'd done it on Facebook right?

As with any rehab program worth its salt, I was told to go to 12-step meetings. This, I decided, was not an option. Hell, as if this certifiable force of artistic nature — this wild flower — would be ruled by slogans and dry rhetoric. I was special, dammit! Floating along on pretty words with little action behind them, I graduated my program and was ready to face the world, as Tony Montana would say, "Re-educated, rehabilitated, re-invigorated." And without a fucking clue that the cycle was about to begin all over.

Post-Op Week 27/28: Gimme a Break!

Monday, Sept. 14, 2009: My life moves at about 100 mph on slow days ... This Friday night as I am headed out — poised for a weekend full of art, culture, and friends — I'm moving at a ramped up 150 mph (because I am late). Zipping back down the stairs on the way to the shower, I don't notice the insignificant (soon to be very significant) piece of Dora the Explorer tupperware. I slip, my arms swing around in the air grabbing for nothing, and in an effort to just get myself to stop, I shove myself onto the floor ... right on top of my ankle. I pull my leg from under me to see something that could only come out of a horror movie (or one of those really bad Steven Segal joints): My ankle is this misshapen lumpy mass — and my foot for sure shouldn't be pointing backwards, but it is.

Finally (what feels like a month later), medics show up with all their magical morphine, and the world was set to right again. All conversations began to sound like Charlie Brown's teachers. I felt relaxed in the middle of chaos. I guess we aren't made to go non-stop. Yes, it took me crippling myself for me to come to this conclusion.

Stacey — 264 pounds

As I lie in bed for three straight months, looking at the same half-painted green walls, gazing into the same antiquated 13-inch color TV and refusing to eat, a steady stream of obsessive compulsive thoughts nearly drove me mad. My constant doping wasn't helping matters. The ever-present buzz of pain pills brought out paranoia. I was convinced my son loved everyone but me. I was sure that people didn't give a shit about me when they didn't visit.

I rebelled by breaking out and driving when I shouldn't have been. The pills masked the pain of walking on a partially healed broken ankle. That was until my prescription ran out and the refills dried up. Picture me camped out on my warped mattress locked and loaded watching Parking Wars, eyes big as saucers — physically unable to sleep for days. What did I do? I called my Doc for some Ambien for sleep and Xanax for anxiety.

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