• Wow! September, you are such an inspiration! I am going to share your story with friends who will love to hear your encouraging message about change. All the best to you and your family as you continue your journey!

    From Leslie
    July 8, 2010

Get H3 Inspired: September Kanigowski

September K.

Today marks one day since I began my journey at H3.  As you know, I was given some pretty bad news about my lungs.  The COPD had gone from bad to worse and the doctor felt that I would need oxygen in order to function.  The news of this did not go over well with me at all.  The doctor told me that if I could lose weight, it would help the breathing and that I could almost regain 25% of my breathing capacity.


My first instinct was to have bariatric surgery.  I went through orientation and evaluation, and I was turned down.  My previous history and surgeries made this a dangerous option for me.  Having been denied the surgery, I knew that I had to do something – but the question was what?


As you know, my two very good friends heard of my situation and quickly, without hesitation, came to my rescue.  They showed up with the questionnaire and information about H3, and they told me that they were going to pay for me to go.  My first reaction was of sheer elation and disbelief.  I could not believe that someone would do something like this for me and I suddenly wondered what I did to deserve it.  After that, I became filled with guilt for letting myself get to this point.  I felt guilty that my friends had to spend their money to help me fix a lifetime of problems.  I also felt relieved that I had somewhere to go and some hope for my future. 


I was concerned that I would be the only “fat” person there.  I thought that I would be alongside a lot of wealthy women who had a few pounds to lose and no one would be able to relate to me.  When I walked up the ramp to the door, I saw a pool full of people who were a lot like me and a big sigh of relief came over me and I suddenly knew that I was in the right place at the right time.


Everyone there made me feel like I was worth it.  Like they wanted to help me with the journey and that they had faith in me.  Isn’t that amazing!  It was also the first time that I was not presented with all the things I could not do but instead – all the things I could do.  I could make choices- unwise, better, best.  I could eat what I wanted to, but there is a price to pay for doing so.


As you know, breathing was especially difficult for me during exercise.  Walking and riding a bike were almost impossible.  I could do many of the other exercises and much to my surprise I took 3-4 exercise type classes a day.  I could not work out at full capacity but I did it to the best of my ability.  Thanks to your encouragement, I finally decided to use the oxygen during a treading class, and I surprised myself by working on the nu step machine for 55 minutes.  Everywhere I turned there was support.  People at H3 knew my name; they made it personal and I loved it.


The hard part came when I had to leave the environment of having someone cook for me and having someone tell me what type of exercises to do.  I had to go back to the real world where my kids liked that I cooked big trays of lasagna and manicotti.  My kids liked that I made them meatballs loaded with fat.  The same roadblocks that were there in the past were still there.  The difference is I became a bull dozer to the roadblocks.  I made it clear to those roadblocks, who were sometimes family or friends, that there was no room for roadblocks any longer.


My husband was with me throughout this process.  I am proud to tell you that the day after we got home from H3, we joined a gym.  We have worked out six days/week since we came home.  Most of the time we workout in the gym but occasionally we work out at the gym and then come home and do an hour of water aerobics.  Sometimes we do water aerobics instead, but we always do something.  We keep track of our daily food and exercise through our app on our iPhone, Lose It.  We even hired a trainer who works out with us once a week.  He helps us learn how to do things the right way.


As of today, I have lost 39 lbs. (in 30 days) and my husband has lost 21 lbs.  Today I went to my pulmonary doctor who had not seen me and he immediately noticed my weight loss.  He was thrilled and even more thrilled when I told him about H3.


I make it clear to everyone, I am not on a diet, and I am changing my life for the better.  I am making better/best choices everyday for my family and for me.  I still enjoy a treat or two but I feel better and my doctor says he is seeing improvement.


Thank you and thank all the staff at H3 for their help during my journey there.  I hope to come back one day.



September Kanigowski

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