shawns medical treatment fundraising
$1,290 raised
4% of $30k goal
7 contributors
4 Years running


my name is Shawn Tennent and I am 48 years old. Back in 2012 I was up over 500 lbs and I honestly believed that I was going to be dead by age 50. I was over 570 lbs. I could not walk without feeling like I was having a heart attack. My blood pressure was 143/95, my cholesterol & triglycerides were high and I had a fatty liver. My back, hips, knees and ankles were all damaged and I had to see my doctor every week for other health issues related to my weight. So I got it in my head that I needed to change my lifestyle. I needed to eat better and I needed to get out walking. The first step I took was going to see my doctor and I asked if she could get me in touch with the Ontario Bariatric Network Clinic at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario.

My doctor got me the referral to the Ontario Bariatric Network Clinic at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hospital. The first thing my doctor said to me after I decided to turn my life around was that she was waiting for me to ask for help with my weight. She understood how important it would be for me to make the choice to live healthier myself. I am very glad she is my doctor and is on my side. I truly believe that she saved my life and I can not thank her and the whole staff at Mcmaster Family Practice enough.

I had my orientation was June 28, 2012. That was the day I truly came to grips with my weight and health issues. It was that day that I first really understood my addiction to soda. That was also the last day I had any soda of any kind. I used to drink 3 litre a day and I'm proud to say it has been 3 years and two months since my last pop and I will never go back to drinking sodas again.

During my orientation on June 28, 2012 I decided to get gastric bypass surgery. The doctors at my orientation gave the group of us three choices:

1. Go for it, have the surgery and all that it entailed.

2. Take time to think it over.

3. Back out all together.

I took the first option and it was the best choice I ever made!

I started getting appointments about 2 months after my orientation. I had to see a dietitian, an internist doctor, and a psychologist. There were sleep studies, I had to have an endoscope and more blood work then I ever had before.

From the sleep study I found out that my breathing was stopping up to 10 time a night. As a result I was put on a CPAP machine and it has helped a lot. From the blood work I found out a lot more about what was wrong with me. My cholesterol and triglycerides were very high and I was borderline diabetic. My liver was very fatty and was being damaged. My kidneys were not working right either. My nutrition was really bad as well so I was put on vitamins, calcium and a high protein low carbohydrate diet.

I am not saying gastric bypass was a fix-all in my case. It fixed a lot of things; I am healthier than I have been since I was 19 years old. That was when I started to push people away. I started to eat when I stressed out and when I was depressed. It was always the bad stuff I turned to. Hot Dogs, chips, pasta, pop and coffee full of cream and sugar. Most of the food I ate was enough to feed 2 or 3 people. I believe I was eating over 12,000 calorie a day without getting any exercise. These days I might eat 1,200 calorie a day and walk 2 to 3 hours a day everyday.

I do not eat sliced bread, rice or pasta. I have potatoes very rarely now. I have not had a burger in over 3 years. I might eat a quarter of the red meat I used to eat in a day every 3 months.

I eat a lot more vegetable than I ever have. When I was a kid I did not like vegetables at all; I think I've finally grown up.

My diet 3 years ago was in no way healthy. I did not eat breakfast. I started with lunch which would be 3 to 4 sandwiches with a 570 ml bottle of pop. Later in the afternoon I would have 2 more 570 ml pops and a couple more sandwiches. Then supper was pasta, potatoes, with ground beef. Never vegetables. I would eat a half pack of hot dogs in one sitting with buns. I have not had hot dogs in over 3 years.

My diet these days is much healthier and better for me. Now I always have a healthy breakfast: 2 eggs and a glass of milk or a wrap with peanut butter and a glass of milk.
Lunch might be a can of tuna with cucumber salad or a wrap with cheese and ham or a wrap with cheese and tomato. As for snacks, it is much different. If I feel I need a snack during the day I'll have a bottle of water or a bottle of juice. Maybe once a month I might have popcorn. My dinners are far from what they used to be. It might be salad or chicken with vegetables, mashed potatoes or a wrap like lunch.

Most dietitians, and the ones that I've spoken to, will say most people cannot be on a diet all of the time. Most will break and go off the diet. I learned that a long time ago from the at least 60 times I tried to diet before. I'm not saying I am on my diet 100% of the time but it is at least 95 % of the time. I am determined to stay on my diet as much as I can.

There are some things I miss from my old life.
I miss Christmas breakfast waffles. I cannot eat them anymore without becoming sick. I also miss Christmas and thanksgiving dinners. I can still eat most of the food at these family dinners but not like I used too. I can't take full plates and go back for seconds and thirds. I also miss pop. I miss pop everyday and some days it is a struggle but I made up my mind and I know it is unhealthy for me.

I do not eat salt, bread or rice. I don't drink alcohol, coffee or pop. eat bread or rice. I don't use any illegal drugs, I never have and never will. I am trying to live a good and clean life. I am just trying to stay healthy and happy.

I have worked out the math and we will do the low side of the scale.

My torso, from my pelvic area to rib cage has about 8 inches wide 1 inch thick of fat. There are 38 inches from my belly button all the way around. That would be 304 cubic inches of excess that needs to be removed.
Both of my legs need to be done which works out to about 142 cubic inches of excess to be removed. All together that is about 25 lbs of excess that will be removed.

I have given this journey to being healthier and living better everything I have. I have done a complete 180 in terms of diet and lifestyle and now I need your help to take the final step. I am trying fundraise $30,000 for reconstructive surgery that my OHIP will not cover. I just want to look normal and not like a deflated balloon. Thank you for your time and any help you can give.

If you have any question please don't hesitate to email me at

Thanks again

Shawn Tennent

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