Testimonial From a Gastric Bypass Patient

“The battle of obesity has been my personal war from my day of birth – 12 lbs, 8 ozs. In all seriousness, my battle with the control of my weight has been very difficult. Food was always plentiful in my home. My fat – was USDA Grade A – meat and potatoes – and not McDonald’s French Fries and Big Macs. Throughout my elementary school years, I was always the last picked on any team and I always had to have a designated runner. Buying clothes, was a dreadful experience. I always ended up in the Men’s portly department.

By college, I had already experienced Weight Watchers – with no success. I entertained all of the weight loss fads of the sixties and the early seventies. On graduation day, I received my BA in my cap and gown wearing a 58 waist pants. My next venture was to seek employment as a schoolteacher. While no formal statute existed pertaining to weight discrimination in the work place, when I went for my interview, I was received in a less than favorable light. I would have never received my first teaching position without a well-placed political phone from my father’s attorney to the Board of Education.

I now embarked on my first teaching position. I spent the next 33 years in the classroom and yo-yoing with my weight gains and weight losses – Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, Diet Watchers were all visited by me. In each program, I gained and lost the weight. While I would experience minimal success, I would always gain back what I had lost and even more. I even succeed at the miracle weight-loss program of the 1980’s – OPTI-FAST liquid diet program. I went from an obese 428 pounds to a svelte 271 in 18 months. I became a poster boy for the program, appeared in the local newspaper, and became a weight-loss celebrity. My fame was fleeting. Just liked all the rest of the weight-loss programs – “I failed this test.” As soon as I came off the liquids, my abnormal behaviors resumed and I once again started my upward scale of weight gain. My second marriage went down in flames as well. I was, I thought, at my maximum weight ever and was presented with a major medical malady, Type II diabetes. Typically, I thought pills and insulin needles would control the sugar. However, while taking five needles of 150 units of insulin and every diabetes control pill a day, my weight loss was nonexistent and my sugar levels were still high. I figured it was time to do something because I was now in serious medical trouble.

Bariatric surgery seemed a definite possibility and I started to look into having the procedure. Of course, living near New York City, I opted to go to one of the biggest and best known bariatric programs in the area. I learned that bigger is not always better. I was very disappointed and remember overcoming my disappointment, after leaving the doctor’s office in the city, by stopping at a Nathan’s and having four hot dogs and a double order of fries with cheese!!!! I rewarded my hurt and disappointment by eating. A good friend, and teaching colleague, then suggested that I consider having the operation done locally in White Plains.

I met with the Bariatric surgeon in July, 2000 and discussed very openly and honestly, the weight loss surgery procedure. When I left his office, I knew this was the doctor for me. The wheels were set in motion and the date was set for August 17, 2000; a Thursday. To “celebrate” my impending surgery, my teaching colleagues took me out to dinner August 15, 2000. This is now known as the “Night of the Last Supper.” I went to an all-you-can-eat Mexican restaurant, had eleven main dishes and four desserts, including “Fried Ice Cream.” I washed it all down with 4 or 5 frozen margaritas. Twenty -four hours later came the surgery. My weight was 447.5 pounds on the hospital scale, the only scale, to this day, I will weigh myself on.

As of this writing, August 2002,1 have lost 235.5 pounds and now weigh 212 pounds naked. My waist is a 36-38.1 have dropped about 30 to 32 inches in my waist and I have gone from a 6X-7X to a large-extra large. Needless to say, my whole life is changed. I am still a diabetic, but I now have normal sugar levels and I no longer take any needles or pills for my diabetes. This is the key to post-bariatric surgery life.

There are no guarantees in life. The Bariatric Surgery Team, and the support team s available to you. It is up to you to follow the guidelines given and attend support group meetings. The Bariatric Support Group is an outstanding asset to the post-op bariatric patient. Few programs, even the “big city” hospitals, have the network that provides the support one needs after this type of surgery.

In conclusion, I would like to take a moment to thank all the individuals who have helped me “gain” a goal — a goal I thought was not possible: losing weight and keeping it off!!!”

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