Debbie is a part of RMAP Patient Advocate Program. She has extended her support to those interested in learning more about weight-loss surgery. You can contact her at the resources listed above.
I began gaining weight in my early twenties shortly after I was married. The emotional roller coaster of infertility added to my weight gain. To the delight of my husband and I, I finally became pregnant with our first child and weight gain continued. By the time I delivered my sixth child I was 237lbs. On a small frame and a 5’ 1” body the weight had limited my abilities to be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I was ashamed of myself and my self-esteem plummeted. However after the birth of my last child I was determined to change things. I had tried loosing weight between my children and was unsuccessful loosing the same 20 or 25lbs over and over. This time I was sure would be different. I changed my eating habits and began an exercise routine my efforts were rewarded as I lost 60lbs. It was short lived however. We made a major move, which took our family away from the close proximity of the gym.
The weight came back and then some. I began to have serious health issues. had been warned several times about my blood pressure being to high, I was borderline diabetic, and was diagnosed with fatty liver disease. I was told numerous times by my doctors to loose weight but everything I tried failed. To be honest I had never contemplated weight loss surgery as an option in fact the thought terrified me. But after two years of dieting and talking to a good friend who had recently had the weight loss surgery I began to consider it as a viable option for me. My friend loaned me her surgery binder (RMAP bible) and I read it cover to cover. Then I talked with my husband and extended family all were very supportive. I talked to others I knew who had had weight loss surgery as well and read a lot about it. Finally I attended Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians’ (RMAP) Risks and Benefits seminar and from there I never looked back I knew this was what I needed to do.
What has Gastric Bypass Surgery meant to me? It has meant everything. It certainly hasn’t been easy but nothing worthwhile is. It saved my life. I am now rid of all the co-morbidities associated with my obesity. I feel like I have been given a second chance at life. My self-esteem has improved immensely. Physically I am able to do things I never thought I would. My pre-surgery weight was 230lbs; I have lost a total of 103lbs bringing my current weight to 127lbs and am still working towards my doctor’s goal weight for me of 120lbs. I have started running and in the past year since my Gastric Bypass Surgery I have ran the Race for the Cure 5k, Firehouse to Firehouse 10k at HAFB in which I placed third in the women’s category, and I ran the Snow Canyon Half Marathon. On my list this year I have taken up biking for my next event which is the Legacy Duathlon a 10k run and 22mile bike ride April 14th, I am also signed up for the Hill Air Force Base half marathon in May, and will be running the Snow Canyon half marathon again in November. Exercise has become fun and something I really enjoy doing. I look at food entirely different it is for nourishment not a source of therapy when I am stressed or bored or just because its there. I make conscious decisions about the food I eat making sure I am eating for the right reasons. I’ll admit I’m not perfect at it but I am so much better at it now then I used to be.
I know Gastric Bypass Surgery has been the best thing I could’ve ever done for myself and have no regrets about going through with it. It is something I am willing to stay committed to for the rest of my life not just for now but forever.
Find activities you enjoy doing, and do them!
Push yourself! Every workout push yourself just a little bit further than you did the day before.
Believe in yourself! You have the power and strength within you to succeed.
Remember, there is no finish line, this is a lifestyle change, and you have to commit to making permanent changes to your life.
Gastric Bypass 12/2010 with Dr. Sherman C. Smith
Over 100 pounds lost!
RMAP Forum: Bumble6
Linda is a part of RMAP Patient Advocate Program. She has extended her support to those interested in learning more about weight-loss surgery. You can contact her at the resources listed above.
I’m sure I am not unlike other weight loss surgery patients who have struggled with obesity their entire lives. I had plenty of excuses – genetics, medication, depression, inactivity and, of course, FOOD, but the loosing/gaining weight loss cycle was cruel and always left me more bitter, resentful and hopeless in the end. So what was it that made me finally decide I had to stop that vicious, unforgiving cycle?
Flash back to fall of 2010, I was on an extended family vacation in Florida and we were at Bush Gardens. I was looking forward to this day more than any other on the vacation because I love, love, love roller coasters! First roller coaster – it took 3 attendants to push on the safety harness before it finally latched, but I made it. Whew! Close call! Second roller coaster – made it again, but couldn’t breathe! Third roller coaster – never made it… I was too big. I had to be asked to get off in front of my entire family. Embarrassed, mortified, hurt, angry are just a few emotions I experienced as I took my walk of shame down the exit ramp. Crumbling into a ball of tears, not caring what people thought of me, I made a vow with myself that day to do something about my weight – for good!!! I was referred to Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) soon after I got home and my WLS journey began.
Of course there have been bumps along the road, and the journey has been excruciatingly difficult both physically and mentally, but I’d do it all over again and again to be where I’m at today. Not only am I conscience now about what I put into my body, I am more active than I have ever been my entire life. Every morning at 5:00 AM sharp, I’m at the gym running, weight lifting or doing circuit training. It was just a few weeks ago that I tried a spin class for the first time. Long story short, the instructor came up to me after class and said, “Wow! If you wouldn’t have told me it was your first time, I would have never known. I can tell you are a very active, fit person.” As my eyes filled with tears, I thanked her and smiled. There is no way she could have known how much such a comment meant to me. She couldn’t have known that a little under a year ago I weighed over 300 pounds and couldn’t even have walked to the end of my street!
I feel one of the biggest lessons that I have taken from this journey is that I can choose what is best for me and my body. I ran my first 5K at the Walk From Obesity Event last October, and when my legs and lungs were telling me I couldn’t go any farther, my heart and soul were telling me that I could – and I not only finished the 5K, but finished almost 10 minutes faster than my goal! Now six months later, I’ll go outside and run 3 – 5 miles on top of my other workouts just for fun!!!
I’m so proud to say that I have taken this opportunity by storm and made every second count. I feel so empowered and love how it feels to finally be in control of my life. Dr. Smith and RMAP, I thank you, my husband thanks you, and my little girl thanks you so much for giving me my life back. Now I’m ready to show everyone on the outside how fabulous I feel on the inside.
Christina is a part of RMAP Patient Advocate Program. She has extended his support to those interested in learning more about weight-loss surgery. You can contact her at the resources listed above.
My decision to have weight loss surgery was not quick or easy. I actually attended the Risk and Benefits Seminar at Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians approximately 2 years before I finally decided to forge ahead. So what pushed me over the proverbial edge? Well, I weighed over 430 pounds. I was a Type II diabetic, with hypertension and several other medical complications. I was terribly depressed—severely depressed. I hardly ever left my house and when I did, I couldn’t do it alone without my husband. I could barely walk out to the street to the mailbox. I felt so awful when children would point at me or call me names. If I went to a restaurant I always had to wait for a “special” table because I couldn’t fit into a booth. I had to buy all my clothes online. I spent much of my time crying because I felt useless, ugly and worthless.
In the fall of 2009, my 87 year old father had a heart attack. While spending time in the hospital ICU with Dad, I met Bryan, my dad’s critical care nurse who had undergone gastric bypass surgery. He spent several days talking to me about the gastric bypass procedure and how his life had changed. By the end of the year I was ready to take the plunge and possibly change my life for the better. I could finally see a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
In February of 2010, I met with Dr. JoAnna Erzinger for the first time. One of my health insurance requirements for the surgery was a six month period of trial weight loss to see if I could follow a program. I also began seeing Social Worker, Leslee Miller, in order to prepare emotionally for the difficult road ahead. I was able to meet my insurance requirements by losing approximately 30 pounds before the surgery.
So—did I get my life back! Yes, I did! Over the last 17 months I have lost over 235 pounds and lots of clothing sizes. My diabetes and high blood pressure are gone. And what did I trade the weight for? Well, I gained a ton … of terrific friends in my support group! My confidence has returned. I love to walk 3 to 4 miles a day and enjoy being outside. I can drive my car again. I have enjoyed traveling and hiking and buying clothes in a real store. I can fit into any seat in a theater and any booth in a restaurant—although I don’t eat much. Not only have I changed, my family has changed. My oldest daughter has lost 50 pounds and my youngest daughter has lost 40. My husband, perennial couch potato, has learned to ski and he went from Clark Kent to Superman—at least in my mind.
Some of my best moments since gastric bypass surgery: Losing the first 100 pounds, my 50th birthday being the best I’ve ever had, hiking the Valley of Fire, going to my first baseball game, walking the entire length of the Las Vegas strip, Phantom of the Opera for my 27th wedding anniversary, my daughter not recognizing me as she came off the plane, being a proud, confident mom at opening night for the new Museum of Natural History, Christmas Day 2011 reflecting on my blessings and contemplating a bright future.
What is in that future? A daughter’s wedding later this year, travels to exotic places with my husband and going back to college for a second degree. After that, who knows? The possibilities are unlimited now. So, much gratitude goes out to everyone at Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians, who made my “second life” possible. And thanks to my really cool husband who always says: “Do or do not. There is no try.”