Ashley’s Essay

I am not applying for this just because it’s free. This is something that will save my life!

For the last three years, I’ve been fighting with my insurance company, UHC, to cover this surgery. I appealed their denial with the assistance of my PCP. Still, since it’s stated in the policy from my employer that “weight loss” is not covered, it was denied again.

I have dieted: Weight Watchers, on my own, Optium 500 with Sparrow Health Center, the cabbage diet, Atkins, not eating; nothing has been able to keep the weight off.

I don’t let my weight hold me back, but it does. As a child, I was involved in dance while being overweight and I was colorguard captain in high school. I can’t SCUBA, zip line, fly in a hot air balloon, or ride a mule into the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I worry when I’m in a crowded elevator. When I fly, I have to use a seatbelt extension and I still worry about flowing over into the seat next to me.

I’ve been called every fat name you can think of and then some.  It’s something that has followed me even into my profession today. I am a sign language interpreter. The Deaf community is blunt. They are visual. Every day I am told: You are fat. You should stop eating. Wow, you’ll never get married if you are fat! I know that shouldn’t affect me, but it does, and I know there is a truth to some of what they are saying. Hey, I’m the 32-year-old fat, single girl.

I am not a lazy person. I am very energetic and I have been involved with many activities. This year, in 2013, I have completed 10-5k’s, 1-10k and the Nike Half Marathon in Washington DC. I am striving to develop healthier habits. I have worked up to walking an 18-minute mile pace and purchased a Vitamix machine.

At the end of the day, the weight that I am carrying is taking a toll on my body. It’s slowly killing me. My heart works overtime. My lungs work harder even while I’m sleeping. I want to be able to have a family, to be able to have children of my own. I know the stress my entire family goes through worrying about my Dad being morbidly obese. It’s in my genes. This is the hand that God dealt me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the person I am. I feel that being overweight doesn’t define me, it motivates me to work harder. I’m not embarrassed of who I am. I don’t like it when people put themselves down or let their weight be an excuse for not living.