During my appearance on the NBC’s Today Show (http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/46428557) , it was highlighted that God has been my strength during this 4-year weight loss process. While I’ve had to put the work and effort into losing the 180 plus pounds that I have loss, I am completely aware of the fact that God has been my source and my strength during this process. During recent interviews I have done, post-appearance, I’ve been asked, “How has God been your strength?” Initially it was very difficult for me to answer that question because, while I value the art of communication, there is a reality that the human language has its limitations on being able to fully communicate the realities of life. However, there is one major way, of the many, that God has been my strength during this process. I have come to realize deep in my heart and in my experience, one undeniable truth:
“I am a firm believer that God orchestrate the affairs of your life in such a way that He inserts at the perfect time that which you need to hold on, to endure, to make it to the next level!!”
With that stated, let me share some insights on the consultation that I had with an amazing plastic surgeon, today and how I even got to this point. As many of you may know, I have struggled with weight and obesity the majority of my life, since elementary, and in 2007, at the age of 21 and a weight of 356 pounds, I decided to yield myself to God and the process of losing the weight. I wanted to be free an I knew I had to do what seemed impossible to me.
Over the course of these four years, I have worked extremely hard and my body has changed in remarkable ways. I am grateful for how the elasticity in my skin has snapped back pretty well but I have been left with excess skin and fat tissues that no amount of exercise will remove. On December 31, 2011 I created a video blog expressing my desire for surgeons, tv shows, anyone to sponsor my surgery (http://www.youtube.com/user/thequeenliana?feature=mhee). I have put a lot of effort into this process and have endured through difficulty but I am a struggling college graduate with loans and barely enough money to provide for my necessities. I put my video out there and I decided to leave the process in God’s hands. Time went on and I continued with my life. I had not heard any concrete feedback but I didn’t doubt but there were still moments of fear and discouragement in this process. See, even though I just got back from New York, from doing the Today Show, for some reason I started experiencing some fear in my heart in relation to my relationship to food and this weight loss process. Many people wouldn’t understand but when you are addicted to food, this is a daily process. Yes, I have lost 180 plus pounds but I still have my days where I feel overwhelmed by the tug food has on me. I beg God to shut off the desires that are ever-present in my mind and body and as much as I want Him to remove them, he hasn’t but what he has reminded me and continues to remind me that “His grace is sufficient and in my weakness His strength is made perfect. He will give me all I need to conquer and be victorious over the enemy and over my addiction. ”
On Wednesday, February 23, 2012 I went out to dinner with one of my amazing mentors, Dr. Nicole LaBeach and while we were conversing, fear and pain led me to tears. I did not ever realize how much I was allowing myself to be tormented by the thoughts that my addiction would win and that I would gain the weight back….God knows I want my story to be that I was a success and not that I relapsed. I want people to look at me and believe that difficult is not impossible and that this thing can really be conquered. I want to endure until the end but sometimes it just feels like I am too weak to fight – and I cried and we talked – she encouraged – I cried some more and I was just real with where I was in my process. The last thing I want people to think is that this thing is easy for me but even more so, I want people to know that just because something isn’t easy, it doesn’t mean you can just throw in the towel and quit. Anywho, I went home that night feeling a little encouraged but still working through the fear – BUT GOD…..
Thursday morning I woke up to the most amazing email ever. Please please people, hear me and hear me clearly, “GOD SEES YOU.” One of the greatest joys in my life is to just sit back and think long enough to conclude, “GOD SEES ME!!!!” – I received an email from a remarkable woman, my angel, Debbie!!!! The email stated:
My name is Debbie, I'm a Registered Nurse at Kaiser. I was so amazed by your story that I sent a request to Dr. Pousti, a well-known Plastic Surgeon in the San Diego Area. Below is the information that I forwarded to him. I also sent before and after pics and a link to your youtube/blog. Please give him a call at your earliest convenience, also check out his website. (http://www.poustiplasticsurgery.com/)
By this point, I was in tears. I had not even yet read the actual email that she sent to Dr. Pousti. I was just honored by the fact that someone cared enough to stop and selflessly share my story – I’m amazed by the beauty of the human spirit – the blessedness of connectedness – the power of love.
The email she sent him stated:
Hello Dr. Pousti,
My name is Debbie. I am a Registered Nurse at Kaiser. I have heard of your surgical procedures and makeovers in the San Diego Area. One of my co-workers spoke highly of you, and I enjoyed seeing the transformation in all of your clients on your website. I also did a little research, check your rating/scores, and was very impressed. You are one of the best Plastic Surgeons in the country. Sometimes in the distance future, maybe a year or so, hopefully we will meet for a little Makeover myself, but still working on me at the present, 50lbs down and more to lose.
I was browsing around on Facebook, minding my own business and came across an amazing young lady. Her name is Liana. She's an in debt college student from the Los Angeles area. This woman has lost over 180lbs without surgery (4 year weight loss regimen) and is looking for assistance to have excess skin removed. Take a look at her video, for more information. I truly hope you can help her.
She has also been a guest on the NBC Today Show - I think she may also bring in great publicity for your company. I do not know her personally. But, I do admire her strong will-power and endurance.
Dr. Pousti then responded:
Thank you for the very nice email. I would be happy to see her in the office to see what we can do to help her. Do you know her personally? If so, please ask her to call the office to set up a consultation for her and I to meet.
I look forward to it. Again, I appreciate your kind words and look forward to meeting you in the future. Have a wonderful week end!
Tom Pousti, M.D.
I called the office that very day and set up an appointment and within days, Dr. Pousti had emailed me personally. I had no idea how I was going to make it to San Diego. My car is not in shape to endure the drive on top of the fact that I don’t do well taking drives alone. But once again, I didn’t fret. I setup the appointment on faith, trusting that God would make a way for me to make it to this consultation. Normally, a consultation fee is $100 but they waived the fee. However, if I missed the consultation, they were going to charge me $100. I setup the appointment not knowing how I was going to get there but I knew I did not have $100 to waste and that God was going to get me there. Long story short, my sister and I swapped cars for the day and my mother was available to take the drive with me.
(Side note, it was amazing because over the past week God has miraculously been healing my relationship with my mom so for her to be the one available to take the trip with me was nothing but the sovereign hand of God all in and through this entire situation)
My visit with Dr. Pousti was nothing short of an amazing God-thing. I really wish I could communicate with my words what my heart is bursting to share. I mean, really my eyes are filling with tears as I sit here and type this blog. His staff was extremely personable and accommodating. They handled me so well and once I met Dr. Pousti I was fully convinced that he was the man God placed in my life to make this surgery happen for me. I was blown away by him and he was blown away by me…LOL…Beyond how remarkable his experience is, his heart and compassion is even greater. A man of his expertise and experience stopped by to see about little-oh-me. He said to me, “Liana I have done thousands of surgeries and over my years of practice you are on the top 10 list of most inspiring people I have met.” – WHAT??????!!!!!?????!!!!???!!!?? Are you kidding me? This man has been in his field for over 20 years. I was 5 years old when he started doing surgeries and he walks in and tells me that I inspire him. I refused to cry in that office but wow, I felt so affirmed. To top it all off, one of my greatest fears is that I would walk in there and he would tell me that I have so much weight left to lose before I could be operated on. As I changed into my gown to be examined, I just didn’t want to hear those words. I’ve put so much effort in, the last thing I need to hear is how much more weight I need to lose. He took one look at my body and looked back at me and said, “You’ve done all that is humanly possible. You’ve done the hard work. At the most you have 5-10 more pounds to lose but really, you’ve done all that is humanly possible to do.” – and I think to myself, isn’t that all that God requires of us, to do only what is humanly possible. – I wish I could go more in depth on how this entire process, over the past 4 years of my life, have had enormous spiritual implications. God has taught me so much about life lived in Him, through this process of losing weight.
After Dr. Pousti examined me, he sat down and spoke with me and stated, “I am going to do all that I can do to help you.” I said, “Dr. Pousti, what does that mean?” He then explained to me that the cost of this surgery are not all him. Meaning that the plastic surgeon is only one piece of the pie in this whole process, when it comes to financial expenses. He can only promise his portion but he can’t guarantee the rest.
4 Major Components of the Financial Process
1. the plastic surgeon (Dr. Pousti)
2. the anesthesiologist
3. the medical facilities where the surgery is performed
4. the medicine prescribed to manage the pain during recovery
However, Dr. Pousti has agreed to be an advocate for me and he will share my story with the other parties in an attempt to help me out as much as possible. I gave him a business card that has my blog/youtube/facebook etc. so that he can share it with his colleagues. We will be in touch. However, I am convinced that God is going to make a way for Dr. Pousti to do my surgery. I trust him. I trust his work. I trust his heart and from one short visit, I feel safe in his hands. He said to me, “Liana I am a very blessed man. I have been blessed to do this work and to make good money. If I can help you, I will. You are an inspiration and you have done the hard work.” – MAY GOD BLESS DR. POUSTI AND MAY HE GRANT DEBBIE (MY FRIEND WHO INITIATED THIS PROCESS) THE DESRIES OF HER HEART!!
Continue to pray for this process, and remember, there is #Freedom2Live and do it now! Why wait? #MondayNeverComes. With that stated, I’M OFF TO GO SIGN UP FOR MY ½ MARATHON….Who wants to join me in the OC ½ Marathon? Or do the 5k? Just come out and do something. I want to enjoy a quality of life with each and every one of you. Sign up here (http://www.ocmarathon.com/registration/information.aspx)