9 months after surgery
75 pounds lost
Location: New York, NY
Weight lost: 70 pounds
Surgery date: 1/23/09
Presurgery BMI: 37
Current BMI: 31
I’ve been overweight my entire life. I was born with a partially formed hip joint that wasn’t discovered until I started walking. Since I was immobile for long periods of time, my family used food as a way to soothe me. I’ve carried that habit into adulthood—using food as a device, not only to comfort me, but also to alleviate boredom.
As I got older, my size didn’t prevent me from having friends, finding love, a career or having a family. But along with that extra weight, I also carried a terrible self-loathing that overweight people sometimes have. I would make fat jokes about myself no matter how uncomfortable it made other people. I figured if they’re laughing with me, at least they’re not laughing at me.
Why I chose to draw the line against living with obesity
Cut to 2008. I was more than 100 pounds overweight and, outside of work, I was basically a shut-in. I realized it must affect my two sons (now ages 8 and 13) to have a mom who is so overweight. I refused to have any pictures taken with them because I couldn’t bear to see what I had done to myself. I kept wondering if they were embarrassed to have me attend school functions because of my appearance. That was when I decided to draw the line and do something about my health.
About 3 years ago, my oldest sister told me that she was going to start the process for weight loss surgery, specifically the band. Within the first 9 months after surgery, she lost over 60 pounds and became her doctor’s unofficial support group leader. She discussed the process with me in detail, and it seemed like something I should look into with my own doctors.
On May 8, 2008, I went to an information session at the NYU Program for Surgical Weight Loss. My sister’s doctor had recommended Dr. George Fielding. That evening, Dr. Marina Kurian, another physician in the practice, went through all the different types of weight loss surgery that were available. It only confirmed what I knew I wanted—the gastric band.
My insurance company required 6 months of doctor supervised weight loss attempts prior to approval for the surgery. I also had a psychological evaluation and met with a dietitian. During Christmas week 2008, I received a letter from my insurance company that I was not approved for surgery. I immediately left a message at Dr. Fielding’s office, distraught that my last chance for help was taken away. Within a couple of days, Dr. Fielding’s office had spoken to the insurance company, and had gotten approval for me to have the surgery the following month.
How my life has changed
On January 23, 2009, I had my surgery. In those 10 months I have lost 70 pounds and my BMI has gone down to 31. I am still considered obese and a long way from goal but I feel secure in knowing that I have the proper tool to help me continue losing weight. I have every confidence that after a lifetime of battling my weight, I will finally be able to say “Mission Accomplished.”