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06-07-03: Family helps through thick and thin

Editor's note: Celina businesswoman, wife and mother Deb Borns, 51, underwent gastric reduction surgery in November to help her control her weight. Over 300 pounds at the time of her surgery, Borns hopes to lose half of her body   weight as a result of the surgery and the changes in diet and lifestyle that the surgery will enable her to make. She has agreed to share her story with Daily Standard readers.

By JEAN ZEHRINGER GIESIGE
Standard Correspondent

    When Mike Borns was a senior at Celina High School, he went to a record hop and met a girl who would change his life. One year behind him in school, Deb Nash was everything he was looking for.
    They were married in 1970. Over the years he has come to know the length and breadth of his wife's personal strength as they raised two children, and she started her own business from scratch.
    So he knew, when she came to him with a plan finally to control the weight gain that had been her own private enemy for most of her adult life, that she would find a way to carry it out.
    "At first, I wasn't too hepped up about it," he said. "But in 33 years I've never once tried to tell her she couldn't do something she wanted to do. And the more both of us thought about it, the better it sounded."
     The solution that Deb Borns had proposed was gastric reduction surgery, in which doctors give an overweight patient a new, smaller stomach, leading to rapid weight loss. Deb Borns underwent the surgery in November. Recently, she stepped on the scale and learned that she had reached a weight-loss milestone of 100 pounds gone.
    It has been an exhilarating, exhausting and sometimes exasperating process, and she could not have made it this far, she said, without the support of her husband and her family.
    But it wasn't easy for her family members to see her confront her problem with such a drastic approach. Gastric reduction surgery is a life-threatening procedure, and Deb Borns was well warned by her doctors of all the risks involved.
    The thought of it scared her mother to death. "I'm not a risk-taker. I'd rather have things stay on an even keel," said Borns' mother, Phyllis Nash of Celina. "I was scared for her, because I didn't know much about it. Anytime anybody says the word surgery, it scares me."
    Borns had to educate her family, and the more they learned, the more they accepted her choice. Her father, Bill Nash, thought the surgery sounded like a good option. Her adult children, Kim Borns of Columbus and Kirk Borns of Celina, cheered her on. And her sister, Vicki Weisman of Celina, was her biggest supporter.
    "I could see her struggle over the years with her weight. Why wouldn't I want her to have this chance?" Weisman said. "She always researches everything she does. So I knew she had put a lot of thought into it. I was frightened that she had to go to this extreme, but I thought that this might just be the answer."
     And it has been the answer, Deb Borns said. With 100 pounds off and more than 50 pounds to go before she reaches her ideal weight of 136 pounds, she calls the surgery an unqualified success.
     "The feeling of feeling 100 pounds lighter is unbelievable," she said. "When I look in the mirror, it doesn't look like me. The sight doesn't mean anything to me. But it's the feeling I feel so small. What I love is to feel my face, feel my hands, look down and see my ankles it's the feeling of feeling lighter that I love. It's beyond description."
    But it hasn't been easy. Mike and Deb Borns have had to readjust their eating habits, now that she can eat only tiny meals with her new, much smaller stomach. It's been hard on Mike Borns, who loves to cook and who has always been trim. "I keep making the same amount of mashed potatoes, then throwing half of them away," he said.
    In recent weeks especially, Deb Borns said she has been short-tempered and edgy, another byproduct of the sudden weight loss. One of her doctors theorizes that the fat layers of her nerve endings are melting away. Another thinks her mood swings are a function of low blood-sugar levels in her body.
    Whatever the reason, she said, she wishes it would go away, along with the sleep disturbances and the feeling that something big is missing from her life. "I'm still dealing with the psychological issues. Food isn't my crutch anymore, and sometimes I feel like I don't have anything. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't eat.
    What do I do for enjoyment?" she said. "I have to find a new form of relaxation."
    Her family is putting up with her with good grace, she said, and she loves them for it. When she snaps at her mother, her mother snaps back, then they can holler at each other or laugh with each other or both, and the tension is broken. And as for Mike Borns, who has been with her now literally through thick and thin, he has no intention of letting her go through the tough times without him.
    "I know this is just a stage that we have to get through," he said. "I'm proud of her for what she has done. I've always been proud of her."

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