Fifteen years ago, Liz was morbidly obese. Just four-feet seven-inches tall and weighing 230 pounds, she was on a destructive path. Her emotional health wasn’t faring any better. Self-esteem and confidence were plummeting, and she endured frequent bouts of anxiety.
Early in life, Liz was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome, a debilitating genetic disorder that is accompanied by chronic and intense hunger. Individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome can control their insatiable appetites only through strict food access and dieting regimens. Without such supports, Liz’s life was in danger.
Knowing this, Liz’s parents set out to find an answer. The answer they found was Prader-Willi Homes of Oconomowoc (PWHO).
Initially, moving into a PWHO home was a difficult transition for Liz. The unfamiliar environment, structure, and new faces took some adjustment. Over time and with the help of PWHO’s caring and compassionate staff, Liz began to feel right at home.
Staff worked with Liz to develop healthy coping strategies for anxiety, which typically revolved around her eating schedule. With Liz’s help, they created a list of fifteen ways to reduce anxiety, including listening to her favorite music and talking with her boyfriend. It wasn’t long before Liz could verbalize her feelings and work through her emotions in a positive way.
Liz also enjoys support from seven housemates, all women with Prader-Willi syndrome. With their camaraderie and staff support, Liz has lost 120 pounds and feels better than ever.
The weight loss has given way to a renewed sense of self-worth and confidence. Liz has become very active in the community. She enjoys participating in the Special Olympics and going to movies and dances. At a local manufacturing company, she has become one of the most productive workers.
“Liz is truly a different person,” said Lizabeth Moser, a PWHO staff member who has worked with Liz for more than a decade. “I’m so proud of her and how far she’s come.”