20 months after surgery
75 pounds lost
Location: Bridgeview, IL
Weight lost: 80 pounds
Surgery date: 11/28/2007
Presurgery BMI: 50.5
Current BMI: 36.3
Why I chose to draw the line against living with obesity
For years I knew I needed to do something. I had been heavy as a child and was consistently going the wrong way and getting heavier and heavier. I had looked into surgery for about 3 years before I actually had surgery. I felt that I could lose weight on my own or that I was not heavy enough for surgery. These and lots of other answers showed I was in denial about what my weight actually was doing to my body. I was also held back by frustrations with insurance coverage and the inability to pay cash for the procedure.
At the time that I started working for Dr. Watkins [a bariatric surgeon], I was excited about the new opportunity to be in a position where there was constant support and a constant stream of people who know what I am going through and who understand how being overweight affects otherwise normal people.
I was nearing the 300-pound mark, and I was scared and ashamed of that. I decided to draw the line when I brought up the idea of being banded with Dr. Watkins. He would make it happen, and he did. In fact, he made it easy. I still came across old stumbling blocks-I knew I had a blood disorder, factor VII deficiency, and that postponed and rerouted my surgery to another facility, which was heartbreaking at the time because it is such an emotional journey. Obviously, in the end, it happened. It was a successful surgery, and I was on my way. Now, I am lucky enough to be able to make the first step easy for other patients. The first step is always the hardest and most overwhelming one.
How my life has changed
The most important thing to me is the comfort in knowing that the band is forever. I finally feel like I have come to terms with the fact that this is a permanent weight loss this time. I can finally get control over what is going on with my body—maybe not with my life, or things that affect me, but I can control how I react to those things, and eating is not the answer.
I am also so proud of myself for being able to lose this much weight. Before surgery, it was always my goal to lose over 100 pounds, but I have never lost this much. I would get to about 40 pounds or so and want to reward myself by going off the plan and then gain it all back. Nothing feels worse than accomplishing so much and being back at square one.
Now that I know what the state of my health was before surgery, and looking back on how I looked, not only aesthetically, but seeing the unhappiness and despair of my facial expressions, I wish this could have come sooner. I was prediabetic and had high triglycerides, not to mention that I could not walk upstairs or walk quickly for a short distance.
Things I can do that I couldn't do before
The things that I really wanted to be able to do before surgery were simple, and I have gone above and beyond those things.
- I am able to do whatever I want.
- I can walk upstairs without gasping, wheezing, and having chest pain when I get to the top of one flight.
- I can play with my 5-year-old niece, and recently I was able to take her out for the day. We played games at an arcade all afternoon and then went to the park, and I was able to keep up with her. Before surgery, I remember having her over for the weekend and sometimes not being able to get off the couch, or falling asleep in the middle of the day, or not letting her go outside and play because I didn't want to.
- I don't have to park in the closest spot at work or the store, because it's okay if I have to walk to get where I am going now.
- I can ride a bicycle.
- I can walk when I go downtown, instead of taking a taxi.
- I can go dancing.
- I can wear high heels and not have to take them off after an hour, either because of either pain or swelling.
I know these all sound trivial, but they are a big deal to me!