The biggest obstacle that I have ever overcome is losing my self-confidence.
Four years ago, this March I had a total hysterectomy. I had been putting it off for 4 years but finally had to move forward with the surgery.
Prior to the surgery I was a 5’9 140-pound size 8. I had confidence in my body and my looks. My flat stomach and long hair were the things about me I was most proud of. I worked hard with exercise to stay that way. I never worried about what I wore, everything looked great and I was never embarrassed about my body.
Then 4 months after my surgery everything changed. I started gaining weight no matter what I did or how hard I thought I was exercising. Nothing helped. I went from a size 8 up to a size 20. I didn’t think it could get worse and then it did. My hair started falling out and my body started to ache. I was starting to have memory problems. All the doctors blamed it on hormones. Finally, my new GP found out I had very bad vitamin B12 deficiency.
After a month of loading doses, I started feeling better. However, I had to get my hair cut short to fix the mess and I was still overweight with no energy. I was mortified at how I looked now. I started wearing bigger clothes and crying every time I looked in the mirror. I was so miserable. My amazing husband stood by me and did everything he could to make me feel beautiful. But none of this helped. We started hiking, trying to make me more active and he told me everyday how amazing I was.
During this time I found an amazing friend by accident. Her name is Hilary, and she owns a plus size consignment shop in Winchester VA. She made me realize what beautiful really means. She had me do photoshoots and a fashion show. I started to gain my confidence back. But I still was not completely happy. I just could not accept how I had changed. I could not see that I was beautiful and strong.
My husband kept pushing me. We hiked all over Virginia including Old Rag. Even though I cried and had a few fits on the way I made it to the top. He talked me into joining a gym. I felt out of place and didn’t give it my 100 percent. Then we changed gyms and I started water Zumba. I started getting my body back. I didn’t lose weight, but I gained muscle. I became confident because I was having fun and so I pushed myself more and more. I started out in a long sleeve boy short bathing suit covering as much as I could to ordering my first bikini from Victoria Secret last week
Slowly over time I am starting to learn that I did change from my surgery, I became tough and strong. I started looking at what I went through with the surgery and after. I realized that I went back to work at a jail 9 days after major surgery. I hiked Old Rag, one of the most dangerous hikes in Virginia, just one year after surgery. I did photo shoots and a fashion show for a small business in Winchester. I know now going through all this helped me finally become the woman that I was supposed to be.
However, during the last month, I have found that people can not accept you for who you are, they want to change you and bring you down. I have been made to feel like no matter what I do it is not right or not enough. I am determined to fight and not let those people take back the confidence that I have again found in myself. That is why I am so glad I signed up for Mud Girl and become an ambassador. I want this challenge to show women that we are good enough, strong enough and beautiful inside and out. I want all women to realize that we need to build each other up and not the opposite. I want every woman at Mud Girl to realize how beautiful and strong of a person you have become. Fight everyday to be that woman and help each other fight.