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It’s frustrating to see a detour while  traveling to your destination.

Our bariatric journey is filled with ups and downs. It often takes longer to arrive at our destination than we originally thought. It is in those moments of frustration that we decide our fate. Do we continue forward and keep pushing toward our destination, or do we quit and give up any chance of ever arriving?

I remember when I made my decision to check out the weight loss surgery options available. I went to a seminar offered at the hospital and took notes about the choices and outcomes. I took my packet of info home and started to complete the paperwork for my first consultation.

As I was completing the paperwork, a question asked if my insurance covered bariatric surgery. To make sure that there would be no surprises, I called the insurance company . But, instead of answering my question, the customer service agent said my insurance had been canceled two months earlier.

I was on a COBRA policy through my previous employer. I made my payments directly to them in order to continue my insurance coverage.  They had accepted all my payments which were delivered to them, with written confirmation. Yet, they had been out of business for two months. No one had informed me, not the employer nor the insurance company. DETOUR NUMBER ONE.

After regaining my composure I called an insurance company to purchase an individual health policy. I was told that open enrollment had closed 45 days before and I could not apply until it opened again seven months later. DETOUR NUMBER TWO.

After regaining my composer one more time, someone referred me to their insurance agent for help. They said that I could apply for an exemption. If my exemption was approved I would be able to get insurance before the next open enrollment period.

It took another three months to get all that settled. I did get the exemption and was able to purchase an individual health policy. I asked my agent for help in picking the correct plan that would cover my hospital choice and bariatric surgery. I followed his advice and had my insurance coverage.

Finally, I was able to set up my first consultation.  I called the bariatric department to schedule my appointment. They asked for my insurance information. After all the hard work I had been through, I proudly read them my information. But, instead of setting up the appointment, they informed me that my insurance did not cover their hospital as an “in network” provider. DETOUR NUMBER THREE.

I hit so many detours that I lost count. I could have given up at any time along the way. I thought about giving up more than once. But today as I look back, I thank God that I didn’t quit.

I don’t know if I would be alive, and if I was, I would still weigh 394 pounds or more. Instead, I’ve lost 200.5 pounds and am 23.5 pounds away from reaching my goal.

I am as excited about life today as I was back in my 20’s. I’m constantly expecting and looking for the next big adventure. I’m finally happy to be alive again.

Wherever, you are on your journey, don’t give-up. Even when it seems the darkest, as long as you are alive, there is hope for a brighter future. When I was at a low point before my surgery, I read a quote from Neil Gaiman. It said “You are alive. So live.”

When had I stopped living and just begun to survive?  I’m not sure. It just happened slowly over time. But, finally, something made me consciously decide to LIVE again. “You are alive. So live.”

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