NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Never give up and believe in yourself. A Nacogdoches woman shared that advice after losing 185 pounds. The weight loss saved Carolyn Moore's life and opened so many doors of opportunity.
Jeffery Moore is giving a special 35th wedding anniversary present to his wife Deborah. He wants people to know she's a Survivor.
"She's a true survivor of life, with all its ups and downs," Jeffery said.
A lot has changed in Deborah's life over the last decade, including her appearance.
"I was 357 pounds. Because when you are depressed, you eat," Deborah said. "And I would sit in the garage and I would eat, smoke, and drink Coke."
Deborah's health deteriorated, fast. Her heart stopped.
"I was on life support seven times," Deborah said.
Finally Deborah was told by a stern doctor she had only one choice if she wanted to live.
"If I didn't have a gastric bypass, I would only last for two years," Deborah said.
Deborah realized if she died she would be letting down the ones who depend on her, including her 88-year-old mother.
"I'm going to stick with her," Deborah said.
"Yeah, that's good," Deborah's mother said with a laugh.
And then there are all those grandchildren she enjoys so much, eight in all.
And finally, Deborah came to terms with her mental and physical illnesses.
"And I'm going to tell everybody this," Deborah said. "If you're really depressed, you need to get help. And I didn't know I was depressed until the doctor told me."
The weight loss and medication for depression boosted Deborah's self-esteem.
"You put your mind to it, you can do anything," Deborah said. "It's like me going to the Christian Women's Job Corp. This right here is what I struggle with, and the Christian Women Job Corp is helping me."
In between illnesses, Deborah has gone from a third-grade reading level to a fifth-grade reading level. Her goal is to achieve a GED.
Jeffery got a little emotional hearing his wife's success story.
"Anytime you love somebody, you're emotional," Jeffery said.
"We had a lot of struggles, but we're going to make it," Deborah said.
Jeffery and Deborah Moore will celebrate their 35th anniversary on Nov. 22.
If you have a survivor story to share or know of someone who has overcome a life challenge, send an e-mail to email@example.com.