Courtesy Kaitlyn Smith

The 19-year-old is sharing her experience with skin-removal surgery after losing half her size

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June 08, 2015 09:00 AM

Having once tipped the scales at more than 400 lbs., 19-year-old Kaitlyn Smith from Portland, Tennessee, lost 208 lbs. through diet and exercise. One thing she hasn’t been able to lose is the excess skin, a common side effect of extreme weight loss. As she gears up for, and then undergoes, several skin removal surgeries, Smith will be sharing her story at PEOPLE.com. Come back every week for updates on her inspirational journey. You can also check out Kaitlyn’s website and follow her on Facebook.

Recovering from skin removal surgery on my arms and legs has been rough these last few weeks. There was a lot of swelling and soreness. I still have some bad swelling in my abdomen, which is very uncomfortable. And do you know how hard it is not to use your arms? I couldn’t shower by myself, dress myself, do my hair or even carry my purse.

With the weather starting to get hot it makes this recovery even more challenging. It’s horrible when your armpits are cut open and you sweat! OUCH!

Luckily, my arms are getting better each day. I can now lift my left arm almost completely straight up. (My right, not so much!) But overall I am doing more and more by myself. I hate relying on people for everything. My sisters have been the real MVPs while helping me recover this time. I am so thankful for them.

Now that I’m not able to work at my job or work out which is killing me because I used to be a workout machine! I spend my days writing my book, responding to emails, talking and helping people, planning for things that will be happening for the future, and figuring out what I’m going to be doing after my third surgery!

My third and last surgery will hopefully be in mid-July or the beginning of August. We have to raise more money for traveling expenses: plane tickets, rental car, hotel room for two weeks, groceries while there, gas, and stuff I need for after surgery. I hope to have it done before my birthday in late August! I would really like to be home for that special day.

But overall I’m getting really excited for stage three! I’m ready to see what I’m going to look like after I’m fully recovered from all three surgeries. I love what I’m seeing already.

Kaitlyn

This Woman Lost 208 Lbs. – Here’s What She’s Doing Next

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