Newschannel 6 is at the halfway point in our year long journey with a Texoma woman allowing us to document her path to a new life.
This past summer,Newschannel 6 anchor Ashley Fitzwater took you inside the operating room as Irene, 44, underwent a popular weight loss surgery called the gastric sleeve.
Irene says the surgery has always been about more than being thin and beautiful.
It was about a woman struggling with diabetes and high blood pressure.
She was tired of the yo-yo weight loss and demanded a change.
Just 6 months after her weight loss surgery, Irene has lost more than 70 pounds.
She started at 305 lbs and is now down to 262 lbs.
She is happier and healthier and is diabetes free.
"It's big! It's huge, extraordinary for me!" said Irene. "I wake up happier, I wake up feeling I have a purpose."
Feeling alive has also opened doors for new things. She went shopping for new clothes in November and is now embracing other things that focus on her self-confidence.
Things like wearing make-up. Which also made for another first for her and her daughter.
"I asked her if she would teach me how to put on makeup and because I didn't teach her." said Irene.
And it's those moments, of just taking time for her self that are building more confidence.
"I grew up not liking what I saw in the mirror and now I'm actually looking at myself and thinking, hum I'm actually kind of pretty." said Irene.
"I'm just really proud of her because I can tell that she's finally accepting that she is losing the weight, and accepting the happiness that comes with it." said Irene's daughter Arianna.
But she isn't stopping with the surgery. She is staying active and hitting the gym.
"It just makes such a big difference in your life if you can wake up and know that you are healthy." said Irene.
She even joined Cross Fit to help build muscle and tone her body. A challenge many weight loss patients have to overcome.
"It's hard, I feel very out of place there but I also feel accepted." said Irene.
But her daughter Arianna says not everyone is always as supportive.
"A few people are like, I know people who were able to lose weight on their own. So that was a little discouraging." said Arianna.
But, it's how her mom handles the feedback that blows Arianna away.
"She knows that this was the best for her no matter what anyone says. I really think that's what's going to make her happy in the end," says Arianna. Knowing that she has self confidence and that she can do whatever she wants to do."