I had Duodenal Switch surgery on August 21, 2016 with Dr. Steven C. Simper, so I’m 2½ years out with a surgery starting weight of 275 and a goal weight of 150. My highest weight was 297. Although as a small child I was tiny. At about age 8 I began to get a little pudgy. I was referred to by my grandmother as her baby elephant and I was teased by kids at school for being fat. My mother took me to a pediatrician, and he prescribed my first diet; Atkins. The next diet was macrobiotic at about age 10. Then the parade of fads began.
By the time I was 15 I really wanted to be skinny because it was obvious even then how discriminatory life was with regard to individual weight. People were always telling me I had a beautiful face and I knew the thought that was left unsaid; if only my body matched. I went to weight watchers for the first time and lost 25 pounds and got down to 120. That’s the lowest adult weight that I’ve ever achieved, and I was 18 at the time. This weight loss gradually dissipated as I married at 19, had a baby at ages 23 and 26. My mother constantly made comments and gave me diet ideas. She felt every health issue I had was weight related and even told me I was going to die, and she didn’t want to be raising my children. I yo-yo’d in my weight throughout my 20’s and 30’s and then had a third child, my own business and a series of unfortunate events in my life.
I continue to yo-yo in my weight through my two divorces, a third marriage and into my 50’s. My health was beginning to show signs of serious co-morbidities. I had developed asthma, high blood pressure, pre-diabetic blood sugar levels, knee pain and injuries, a herniated disc in my back, ankle pain and injuries. I needed oxygen at night and I didn’t sleep well because my hips and back hurt all the time. Of course, all those things came with a list of prescription medications for various symptomatic relief. I could only get up a few steps before having to stop and catch my breath, and we lived in a three story townhouse at the time. My pulmonologist told me that although losing weight would alleviate the need for night time oxygen, my chances of losing weight and keeping it off were less than that of an alcoholic getting sober and staying sober.
Socially and professionally I was finding myself being passed over for promotions and positions, not included in gathers and special projects, not respected for my knowledge and professional experience. My son went to a private school and I wasn’t like the other moms. I was fat. The promotions and projects at work were going to the young and the attractive, with little or no experience and no education. I needed to make some hard decisions. I couldn’t do anything about aging, but I could get healthy and change my lifestyle.
I wanted to live a long time. My father had just died from an abdominal aneurysm at 71 and my mother had died previously from ovarian cancer at 62. I didn’t want to continue a pattern of unhealthy living that would lead me to an early death. I knew from what I had read that bariatric surgery was not an easy way out, but it was a permanent commitment to a lifestyle change, and the harshest reality is that it’s a solo journey. I didn’t want to diet anymore. I was done. I knew this was the path I needed to go down. Up until the moment I checked into the hospital for surgery, I wasn’t sure I’d go through with it though. I was petrified of the possible complications and very few people on the outside had positive things to say about the procedures available. All I heard were stories of failure. I was determined to be a success story.
It was scarier than I thought. But that’s okay. It was an amazing experience and it was effective. I reached my goal weight in less than a year, losing 120 pounds, and maintained it for 18 months prior to getting follow up plastic surgeries. My husband was the greatest support that anyone could ever hope to have. If it were not for him, I may not have persevered. He helped me through the emotional and physical trials. He most recently has supported me through skin removal surgery and other body modifications to put my parts back where nature intended.
My health is so much improved it’s truly a miracle to me. I stopped using oxygen immediately after surgery, and the only RX I take now is for mild emotional support. I am seeing a marked difference in how I’m treated at work, and in many social and public settings. I’ve also become something of an Oracle for women at work. Two friends in the office have had a bariatric procedure since mine, and one of their husbands also did it. I feel my results and openness about what I’ve done helped them make a positive choice for change in their lives.
The biggest change is on the inside. I am now able to say I’m comfortable in my skin. I’ve successfully manifested myself from the inside out.
Surgery Date: August 21, 2016
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