Dana’s Story

Dana Rosser

Dana Rosser

After graduating from college with a marketing degree and landing a successful job, I thought I had a handle on most things in life.  I came from a good family. I had friends, a good church with a bright future. I was leading a relatively good life.  In 1992, I met the man of my dreams, James “Butch” Rosser, MD, a successful surgeon. I absolutely fell for him. Butch was from Mississippi and he had that “southern thang” going on, and I loved it.  His smile was contagious and his heart was like no other, so for the first time in my life I felt like there was someone in the world who loved me unconditionally. Butch was the one. Oh by the way I forgot to mention that Butch stood 6’4 tall and weighed 450 pounds. Yes he was morbidly obese. Forgetting that fact was impossible, because that was the trait on which everyone seemed to fixate on during our courtship.

As Butch and I started to date seriously, people were accusing me of being with him because he was a surgeon, because of course why else would a seemingly beautiful young lady (that is what I was told) want to be with a morbidly obese man… what could I possibly see in him? That was my introduction to Butch’s every day world of dealing with judgmental, insensitive people in which I grew to despise. Despite the naysayers Butch and I dated for three years and wed on Dec. 9, 1995.

Make no mistake I was not burying my head in the sand about Butch’s weight. I knew the seriousness of carrying that much weight and the possible co-morbidities (diabetes, hypertension, heart issues, etc.) that went along with it. It took a lot of soul searching on my part to really divulge my true feelings about Butch’s weight and how it affected me. On one hand I wanted to support and protect him from this mean cruel world of people who discriminated against the “nutritionally challenged” but on the other hand I needed to talk with someone about how his weight affected me. I remember worrying on a daily basis that I would get a call from the hospital telling me that my husband had a heart attack… I lived in fear of losing him daily.  Another “challenge” was the limitations that were put on our lives. There were times that I would like to plan simple tfor most people however in our family it would take great patience and persuasiveness on my part to accomplish the task. For example going to the movies, theatre, and out to dinner became a major undertaking.  I had to make sure each venue had appropriate seating for Butch.  Because of this Butch at times seem to be resistant to going out because of the fear of the variables. For Butch home was a safe haven because there was no one there to judge him or to constantly illuminate his struggle. Needless to say more often than not we just stayed at home which really depressed me… I lost Dana.

I became angry and frustrated at times of feeling deprived. Deprived from doing “normal” things that most couples/families do. But how do you communicate this to your spouse? You know that they know they have a weight problem, so why would you dare bring these things up to them and make them feel even worse. You are supposed to be the strong one and the one that protects them from this evil world. Right? Wrong!!!!  I wish someone had told me not to neglect my feelings in order to protect my loved one. Now I am not suggesting that you insult, berate or talk down to your loved one at all, I am merely suggesting to communicate in a loving manner how you feel about how certain situations affect you . Once I had the courage to talk to Butch openly and honestly he was shocked at how his obesity challenge affected me daily… he had no idea.

In researching this subject I was very surprised to find that there were no support groups to assist me with my unique challenges. There are family support groups for alcoholics (Al anon) or Nar-anon for those relatives and friends who are concerned about the addiction or drug problem of their loved one.

Because I needed support I wanted to create a non-judgmental (forum) website (facingobesity.com) that will encourage loved ones to express their feelings and emotions freely. By having positive dialogue I am hoping in some small way to heal the hurts of an extraordinary group of people that have sometimes been forgotten.