“Females don’t Fall” – Tammy

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What is your full name:

 Tammy Greiss

How old are you?

44

Give us a little biographical information about yourself

 Ok here we go…. I have struggled with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) my entire life. I was obese my whole life because of PCOS. I was in my first children’s weight loss camps at 8 years old. I have always been self-conscious of my weight since as early as I could remember. It was a horrible way to live. I could never understand why I was so different from my friends. Why could they eat cake and pizza at a party but if I did I gained weight? I was more active than most of my friends too! I was not diagnosed with PCOS until I was 27 years old. I was kind of happy that it wasn’t just me and my lifestyle that caused my obesity. I finally had a reason behind my weight problem! But at my heaviest of 289 lbs. it felt hopeless… At 27 years old and newly married my only goal was a baby. So for the next several years that is what I worked on. I did have 2 amazing boys through the grace of God! It is very hard to conceive with PCOS. So I am so blessed!

So now I have these 2 amazing son’s and I think life is great. WRONG! Now I find out that my husband has not only gambled away our entire life savings, but he is also online dating!! What??!!?? Now I am really hating my life. I was 34 years old and I think this was my lowest point. I was so broken. I felt like why am I even here? Then we found out that our 13 month old had cancer. Well now my husband’s issues got put on hold because I needed to focus 100% on my baby. From the day I found that tumor to the day of his surgery was less than 2 weeks.

Through all the testing, mri’s, cat scans, needles, blood work this poor little boy had to endure, all I thought was, please God let him get through this! Please! I promise to take care of myself if he is ok. I promise to get healthy and live a better life for him! The day of his surgery came and I was surprisingly calm. I knew he was in God’s hands and I just had to trust in him. When the Dr. came in to tell us how the surgery went, he told us that we hit the lottery! He said it was nothing short of a miracle. The tumor was benign!! He could no believe it! I could not believe it! My prayers were answered! I was so happy! Nothing else mattered anymore! My son was going to live!!!

He did have 3 years of 6 month check up’s to make sure the tumor did not return. It still has not! He is now a healthy 11-year-old and has no memory of the ordeal he went through. He is my miracle!

After his years of testing and no more tumor, it was time for me to keep my promise and get heathy. I was 38 years old and at this point I have done every weight loss program out there! I could lose weight, but I could never maintain it. So I joined weight watchers for the umpteenth time. In 1 year I lost 85 lbs., I was on my way! I got to 199 lbs.! ONEDERLAND! Then, my husband’s issues with gambling and woman surfaced big time again. They did get brushed under the rug over the years, but more so I think I just didn’t want to face them. But now I was ready to. I felt good about myself so I was going to kick him to the curb. It was very ugly for about a year or so. In and out of court, lawyers, police. It was a nightmare. Then on my 40th birthday I was sitting on the beach with friends celebrating, and he said he couldn’t come because he was tired and had to work that night. But I found out that he was online chatting with someone and rather talk with her than be with me. That moment changed me forever. I didn’t even get mad. I just stopped feeling. I became numb to him. I packed my boys up and left. No warning. No letter… nothing!

This was the day I started to put me first. Before anything, even my children. The next year I focused on my health, both mentally and physically. I met with my doctors and we all decided that weight loss surgery was the best thing for me  and my PCOS. I thought it over and researched it for about 8 months then went for my consultation. I had the Verticle Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) on 2/4/15 and I have never looked back! I have lost a total of 130 lbs. from my heaviest weight, I have maintained it for almost 3 years now and I have become an avid runner and I train in Crossfit!

 

The best news is through deep therapy and Gambler’s anonymous meetings and counseling, my husband and I have mended our crazy relationship! It took a lot of patience and understanding on my part and a lot of soul-searching on his part. He is the amazing man I always knew was inside of him! He also had the VSG surgery almost 2 years ago and lost 175 lbs.! We have been through so much in our 25 years together that we decided to renew our Vows this past summer! It was such an amazing day! Even better than our Wedding Day! We both encourage each other to live healthy and stay both mentally and physically healthy! He now counsels people with their addictions and I run a support group on Facebook for PCOS and weight loss surgery! We love helping others and sharing our crazy love story with the world!

If I asked your closest friend, to give me 5 words they would use to describe you, what what he/she say?

  • Determined
  • Faithful
  •  Strong
  • Loving
  • Fighter

Do you see yourself the same way as your closest friend does? Yes/No explain.

Yes I do now. It took me just about my whole life to finally see my worth. I was always very insecure an unsure about my capability to achieve anything in life. Then one day I wasn’t anymore. That day was 4 years ago when I turned 40. I finally started living my life in my 40’s!

What does happiness mean to you?

Being content with the way my life is going.

 Not worrying about fitting in or pleasing everyone around me even if it meant my life suffered. Making sure I take care of me first makes me very happy and makes me a better wife, mother and friend.. just a better person all around.

What are some things that stand between you and complete happiness? Nothing… I have finally found my happiness. My weight and my health always stood in my way. But I found a love for myself at my heaviest weight first.. I had to in order to make changes.

If you could send a message to the world in 30 seconds, what would you say? Live your best life for you and no one else! You’ve got this!

What chances have you passed up on in your life that you now regret? There were many when I was younger because I was too insecure to think I could do anything. I stayed in my “comfort zone” and out of the spot light!

How do you apply the learning from this regret to your actions today?

The past 4 years of my life have all been about getting out of my comfort zone. I stopped passing up opportunities. No matter how scary, I now face them head on! I am not scared to tell my story. That was a big fear of mine. To let people know that I was obese and I had a failing marriage and my life wasn’t perfect. I am not afraid to take chances at work and I am no longer afraid to let people who treated me poorly know about it. I called each and every “friend” out on it and let them know they could no longer walk all over me. I now know who my real friends are. I can count them on one hand and I LOVE that!

 

What would you do differently if you knew no one was judging you? Why do you care if people are judging you?

This was a huge obstacle for me to get over. Judgement… It is a horrible thing to feel. I always felt I was being judged for my weight and my willingness to work out my marriage. I now do not care if someone judges me. I know my story and I am proud of it. I am not scared of judgement anymore.

What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you and how did you continue to move forward?

The worst thing was finding out about my husband’s online dating and gambling. All explained in question 3.. lol!

What is the best thing that ever happened to you and what did you learn from that?

The day I found my confidence! I learned that I am in the only one in control of my life. It is my choices that make my life good or bad. I took some horrible situations I was faced with and I chose to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I chose to not let it break me. Because of my choices I am happy. Because of my choices my children are happy. Because of my choices I live my life on my terms.

If karma was coming back to you, what would happen to you?

I honestly think my karma would be good. I think I put out positivity into the world!

What terrifies you the most?

I have always been terrified of losing my children. Like that they literally get kidnaped. They are 15 and 11 now and I still fear this! The thought of them just not coming home one day and not knowing where they are, if they are scared, if they are hurt… it terrifies me!

What did you want to be as a kid, why? Are you doing that now? If not, why not?

I wanted to be a rock star and/or Wonder Woman.. lol! I am no rock star even though sometimes I think I am. I love pretending! And as far as becoming Wonder Woman, I did for Halloween if that counts! Lol! Some say I am Wonder Woman because of how I changed my life around.. I’ll take it!!

Whose life have you had the greatest impact on?

My husband’s. I honestly believe that if I did not come into his life when we were just 11 years old, that he would not be here today.. he tells me that everyday.

Who has had the biggest impact on your life and why?

My mother! She is my Wonder Woman! She is one of the strongest woman I know! She was raised by a strong woman too, my Nana! My mother endured a lot in her life also. Her father died when she was barely 7 years old. My Nana was left with 3 young children, when he died, and she raised them all to be strong adults. As my mother did with my brother and myself. My mother was also married to an addict. My father was an alcoholic and could be quite a handful at times. He became sober my senior year of high school and stayed sober for 22 years! He was a wonderful man and we loved him more than life, but he succumbed to his disease and died 6 ½ years ago. Addiction is so hard. She struggled with his disease and fought hard for her marriage. I guess that is why I refused to give up on mine. She is so independent! Even widowed, she never gave up. She learned to live alone. She is super active in her new senior community and she found a “friend” that makes her so happy! I am so happy for her! She has never let the obstacles in her life bring her down. She always found a way to face them and move forward.

What do you want most out of your life?

To continue to live happy and healthy! I want to make a positive impact in the weight loss surgery community and PCOS world! I want people to understand that weight loss surgery is not the easy way out, or a lazy choice. I want everyone to understand how much hard work you must put in for the rest of your life. That surgery is just a tool to get you started and yes surgery is not for everyone. I want people to understand that PCOS is a real disease that affects your weight. That all overweight woman with PCOS are not lazy, most of us eat a healthy diet and exercise more than the average person to just maintain 200+ pounds.. It is a daily struggle with pcos. Some days it may work with you and you have a good day, but most days it is a struggle just to get out of bed. I want all my PCOS Cysters to know that they have a voice and there is an option to help them. That weight loss surgery is not scary and will help them as long as they are willing to do the hard work.

 

How do you plan on getting there? What is your goal and outcome to achieve # 19?

I want the support group that I started on Facebook for PCOS and weight loss surgery to grow! My group is calls “Our PCOS~VSG Journey & Support” I want everyone who needs this support to know it is there for them. I will do whatever I can to promote it. This is an awesome way to do that! So I thank you for your consideration to post my story! I know it will help others!

 

Would your life be better or worse, if you knew the time and place where you would die?

 I think it would be worse. If I knew, then I would just worry about that day coming and I don’t think I would be able to enjoy my life as much.

What would people say at your funeral? Are you happy with what would be said? Explain.

I think people would say that I was a good person and that I lived my life happy. They may say I was a dancing fool too!! I am comfortable with what people would say about me. I am happy with how I am living my life and I honestly feel that I am nice to others and that I have now made friendships that are genuine.

If not now, then when?

Always now. I try not to put off things to long. I have learned that tomorrow is never promised.

Are you holding onto something, you need to let go of?

Yes. I sometimes fall back into that ugly place where my husband and I were at our worst. Like a certain situation will make me feel sad about things we went through and sometimes I will allow it to ruin my day. But it is getting less and less. I work hard with my therapist on letting these things go.

Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?

Strength! It means you are in tune with your feelings and are able to let it out. It means you are secure with yourself and your feelings. It is a good quality to have.

If you had a friend/family member who spoke to you in the same way you speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?

Forever! The way I speak to myself now is good! It took me 40 + years to get to a good place with myself, but I did it! So if I had a friend/family member who was positive to me like I am to myself now, then that would be a life long friend!

When have you felt as if life was unfair? Explain.

When they told me my 13 month old had cancer. 10 years ago I found a lump on my son. Through 2 weeks of tons of tests from cat scans to mri’s and tons of blood work they told me he had a Rhabdomyosarcoma tumor. He needed immediate surgery to remove it then 3 days a week of radiation and chemo treatments. My world stopped! I thought why my son? Why us? Why now? Why? Why? Why? How unfair is life I thought!

Time or money?

Time! Definitely time! Money comes and goes, but time is limited and so precious. Memories last forever. Money is temporary.

What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?

I would regret not telling everyone in my life how much I appreciate them. I would regret not living my life happy.

What was the best or worst part about working on this activity?

The best thing was remembering what I have been through. The good and the bad. It has all brought me to this point in my life and I couldn’t be more happy and grateful for it all! The worst is trying to put it all into words. I want to say so much but it is so hard to put it on paper and make sense. Lol!

 Would you like your to be featured on our blog ? What is something you hope that other readers take away from your responses?

YES!! I would love to be featured! I really hope people would see that if you stay positive you can face just about any obstacle that comes your way. To never give up on yourself and your happiness. That you deserve to be happy and to put yourself first. You are the only one in control of your life.. You and only you!

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One thought on ““Females don’t Fall” – Tammy

  1. Tammy, you are an inspiration. Your determination, courage an strength is so admirable. I am blessed to share in your beautiful life….now write a book already! Xoxo

    Like

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