Well hello there and welcome to my story….
My name is Bianca and I am currently on my 21st….22nd…rotation around the sun. As of August 2016 I am engaged to my best friend Anthony, and together we welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Luca Jeremiah in April of 2017. I am an Animal Science student at the University of Connecticut with the hopes of applying to vet school within the next few months, and then if all works out well I want to pursue a career in wildlife medicine with the intent of opening up a wildlife conservation/rehabilitation.
I chose to begin blogging because I felt that I had a story, and my hope is that with this story I could touch at least one person in a positive way. My hope is that with this journey I am choosing to document, along with the journey I’ve already endured, I will be able to show someone that no matter the conflicts they face, the negative comments they may hear, or the lack of support they may have, they can still conquer their dreams and become the person they want to be. My hope is that if there is anyone out there who feels, or has felt, even the slightest way I did for at least two-thirds of my life, that my story might help them see that somehow, some way, there is light at the end of the dark tunnel, and you will make it through.
So, here we go…
I was always a big girl and no one, and I mean no one, was ever afraid to remind me of that fact. Currently I stand at 5’11/6’0 tall and my highest recorded weight was 406lbs. A lot of my childhood consisted of people being my friends one day and then doing 180’s and siding with those who chose to bully me for my weight. It got so bad that I remember at twelve years old I thought cutting my own skin would ease the pain that I couldn’t see, but felt every minute of every day. By the time I was sixteen my anxiety and depression had gotten so bad that the only thoughts I had were to just end it. I hated being in my own skin, I hated my reflection in the mirror, but most of all I hated the voices that reiterated every single negative, hurtful thing I had ever been told in my life. “You’re not good enough.” “You’re so fat.” “Please don’t eat me.” “You’re so fat you must smell.” “You’ll never be anything more than a fat blob.” And the worst one: “What’s the point, just kill yourself.” I believe I thought the last line more times than I care to remember.
My smallest vs. largest
In 2012 I had to be admitted to a psychiatric ward for the fear that I would not wake up the next morning. At this point I had stopped attending school, my junior year of high school was down the toilet, and my parents were at a loss on how to help their only child. I was admitted with suspected bipolar NOS, panic anxiety disorder, and cognitive OCD. I stayed at this facility for a week before I was able to go back home. My only saving grace that week was the daily, sometimes twice daily, phone call from my grandmother that I received. When I came home I thought I could do anything. I’d been “cured” of my psychiatric distress, but I still didn’t grasp that my mental illness was not something to be ignored, but something to accept and work with in any way I could. I didn’t realize it still lingered until the summer of 2012 when my grandmother passed away very unexpectedly. My world crashed once again and skin was the harvesting ground of the feelings I could not express. I didn’t know what to do.
Later that year my great-grandfather had a stroke that led him to being diagnosed with the on set of dementia, meaning he could no longer live by himself. My great-grandfather was my favorite person. He took care of me when I was younger, watched me while my parents worked, picked me up from school at least twice a week, and made me chicken soup when I was sick. I could talk to him for hours on varying topics such as religion, and our families troubles. He was more than a grandfather, it was like having another father. When he got sick I vowed to take care of him and moved in with him by myself to make sure he took his medication, to pick him up when he fell in the shower, and to give him some company he long needed since his wife passed in 2000. At sixteen I took it upon myself to make sure the man that had long taken care of myself and my family was well taken care of. A few weeks after I graduated high school in 2014 my grandfather passed away from stomach cancer. All I can remember is being mad at him the few weeks prior to finding out because of how mean he’d become from his dementia, how angry I was at my mother the day before he passed because he wouldn’t wake up from his pain medication and she would let him sleep, and the night before he died crying and telling him I’d be okay if he went. Strange how the negative memories take such prevalence over the positive, even if they don’t come nearly close in number.
So I went to college, my boyfriend now fiancé, and I eight hours away in Buffalo. We went through the ringer in the first few months. Me, letting my emotions get the best of me, became very lax with my birth control and a few weeks after I began my freshman year of college we found out we were having a baby. A few days later that baby was no longer with us. By this point I’d reached my highest weight and even in college I could not escape the looks, the comments, and the pain looking in the mirror brought me. In December of 2015 I was approved for weight loss surgery and in total I lost 211 lbs by my 1 year post op mark.
Now what about the pain and mental illness I spoke about before that could never go away? Well, it didn’t. I had gotten so good at masking the emotions with food that when it was taken away I no longer had a scapegoat. I could no longer sit in front of the television with a bag of chips and dip and just eat, or down an entire tub of ice cream in one sitting. Drive-thru’s were no longer a thrilling ride, and food no longer controlled my “what is there to do in____ city?” searches. I had no where to go when my thoughts acted up, when my anxiety left me bed ridden for the day like it did in high school on so many mornings. I was also still mulling over the fact that I had lost a baby, and trying to fill so many voids I had forgotten still existed in my mind and heart. I needed to seek help again.
And I did. I went back to therapy and a psychiatrist and began the tumultuous journey of finding my correct cocktail of medications to make me the person I needed to be. Through this medication journey I moved home from Buffalo to make sure I was close to doctors, I transferred schools to find one with the animal program I needed to continue to pursue my career goal of becoming a vet. Then came 2016.
January 2016 seemed like a promising year: I had finally gotten into the University of Connecticut Animal Science program, I had settled back home, my fiancé and I were in such a good place, and life just seemed so great. However in February of 2016 my gallbladder decided to act up and after two weeks of back and forth trips to the emergency room and missing classes they realized that it needed to come out. It took me weeks to fully recover, and by then the semester was almost over. All I could think was that I failed again. I wouldn’t graduate on time; I wasn’t going to vet school. I ended the semester with a 3.0 GPA.
During this time I had began to feel tingles in my arms and legs, pain whenever I sat for too long, headaches I could not explain, and my nerves always felt like they were on edge. I went to go see a neurologist who genuinely believed I just had a care of pseudotumor and I would just need a bit of medication, but when he did his spinal tap he found a bit more than his simple diagnosis. There were bands in my spinal fluid and after further MRI’s I was given the diagnosis of the on set of Multiple Sclerosis. My world shattered again. I began profusely googling my new diagnosis, crying when I saw the world wheelchair, and begging God to stop punishing me for whatever I had done. I lost all view of my future. Vet school wouldn’t be possible, having a family would not be possible, I was going to lose everything. I had to stop, I had to breathe, and I had to be strong, but I could not. A few weeks later I began my shots to help ease the Multiple Sclerosis. A few more weeks later I found out I was pregnant.
And a few more weeks later I heard my son’s heartbeat. A few more weeks later I found out I was having a boy. A few more weeks I felt him kick for the first time. A few more weeks later I watched as my stomach moved from one side to the other.
Everything seemed to stop. The panic, the worry, the fear.
I can’t count the amount of times I have been told in life that I can’t do this, or I can’t do that. When I became pregnant the negative comments did not stop, in fact they increased, but the only difference was I had someone to fight for, someone worth fighting for. I was told on countless occasions that I had ruined my life, my fiancés life, and I would now accomplish nothing because of this baby. This fueled my fire more to continue to overcome every obstacle I was faced. You see, I fought my entire life to be seen as much more than the fat girl. I fought to be able to love myself in a way that I sought so long and hard to find from someone else. It’s okay to be bruised and scarred, and to sometimes feel like you’re not worth the risk, but it’s not okay to believe it. I believed it for so long that I almost threw away my entire future; my son. Believe me when I say that no matter what someone throws at you, the negative hurtful comments they make, there is a fire inside of you that burns bright and is so much stronger than their hate.
So, here I am on my 21st….22nd…rotation around the sun. As of August 2016 I am engaged to my best friend Anthony, and together we welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Luca Jeremiah in April of 2017. I am an Animal Science student at the University of Connecticut with the hopes of applying to vet school within the next few months, and then if all works out well I want to pursue a career in wildlife medicine with the intent of opening up a wildlife conservation/rehabilitation. And I won’t give up.
I hope you enjoy following the journey!