Dr. Yolanda Castro
18 months after surgery
68 pounds lost
Weight lost: 68 pounds
Surgery Date: 11/5/08
Presurgery BMI: 39.1
Current BMI: 25.8
Dr. Castro's Story
Why I chose to draw the line against living with obesity
I guess I felt the walls caving in on me. My older sister had two heart attacks by the age of 49, had five stents put in, was diabetic, hypertensive, and obese. My youngest sister was diabetic, hypertensive, obese, and had elevated cholesterol. And there I was—diabetic, hypertensive, obese, and had elevated cholesterol. I had to make a change if I was going to be around to enjoy my five children.
I had found myself depressed and frustrated with many different weight loss attempts and obvious failures. This led to eating more and withdrawing from all the fun family activities that I used to enjoy—swimming, dancing, vacations, and sports. As a physician, all I do is help others try to get their lives back on track—how ironic that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was hiding behind my white jacket in many ways.
Two years before my surgery I went to two different surgeon’s offices as a patient. I heard about bariatric surgery—or at least gastric bypass. Very humbled and scared, I tried to convince myself that this was the only way. But without the support of my family (they thought bypass was too drastic), I chose to wait. Then I began to hear about the REALIZE® Band, and I went back to the surgeon’s office 1 year later, convinced that this was the right surgical procedure for me. I was only 5 feet tall and weighed 200–205 pounds, and I suffered from the comorbid medical conditions that allowed me to qualify for surgery.
I went through the required psychological and nutritional consultations, and with determination and support from my husband, I chose to take control of my weight and take back my life. On November 5, 2008, I had surgery and quickly returned to work. I was happier, self-confident, and had changed my eating habits. People began to notice a change in me—and as the weight slowly came off, I felt determined to share this life-changing surgery with everyone.
How my life has changed
Since the surgery I find myself busier than ever—no more excuses. I go to my kids’ sports activities and practices when I can. Before surgery I would prefer to sit in the car and stay away from people because of how self-conscious I was about how I looked. I will even go out there and kick a ball at soccer games and run after some of the kids. I try to spend time with my daughter who loves volleyball and soccer.
I used to hate shopping, and I have to say that my wardrobe was very old-fashioned—you know, the long dresses and baggy clothes that so many people wear when they’re trying to hide. Now I love to shop—it’s even dangerous. I am wearing trendier clothes and more fitted outfits. My daughter and I can share clothes—not bad for a 50-year-old mom.
Of utmost importance is how my patients now see me—healthier, thinner, energetic, more confident, and more approachable about their weight problems.
I am attending more dinner meetings and networking with other physicians in an attempt to help them bridge the gap that I know can exist between patients and their physicians. I promote within the Hispanic community via television spots to address the obesity issue. I could not do all of these activities if I had not had the surgery.
My marriage has benefitted from my weight loss, too. I no longer feel embarrassed about my body. You know what they say—if mama’s not happy, then nobody’s happy.
My family and I took our first family vacation in 10 years. It was awesome. I spent most of my time walking on the beaches and lying by the pool (not hiding from it). I even went parasailing for the first time. And can you believe it—I wore a two-piece bathing suit.
I haven’t been on medications since the surgery. I look at least 10 years younger than I did before surgery. I used to think that my wedding band and was the most important band in my life, but I have to say that the REALIZE Band is the most important one—without it I wouldn’t be enjoying my life.