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Aimee J.
 "I needed to love myself first."

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May 2009
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

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Life Before Surgery

Before undergoing gastric bypass surgery, waking up each day was something I feared because I hated leaving my home.  For most of my teenage years, I was overweight and after a major back surgery in 1999, I slowly gained weight until I reached my highest weight of 326.  Each day was a struggle and there were many days that I barely managed to get out of bed.  Personal and professional relationships were severely strained because I had become so depressed; I wouldn't even leave my house unless I had to work, attend class or buy groceries.  In additon to the depression, I was a borderline diabetic.  All throughout my life I had been the person who would always do for others and I never considered myself a priority. 

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Making the Decision

Several experiences in my life validated my need to have gastric bypass surgery.  I can recall being humiliated when I went to a baseball game with my family and I couldn't sit in the seats reserved for us.  I was incredibly uncomfortable the entire time and I vowed to never again go to a place with stadium seats--including theaters.  As my weight increased, I found it harder to find clothes suitable for a young woman.  I would always cry as I tried on clothing because I could never find apparel that was flattering for a curvy body.  After overcoming denial, I realized being fat wasn't flattering.  

Two of the most eye opening experiences that guided me to surgery included being accepted into Michigan State University's Master's Degree in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner program.  I worked diligently for years to be accepted into this program and I completed the first year with a 4.0 grade point average.  When the second year approached, I realized I would have to go on-campus for the last two years, and I allowed my weight to control my life.  After going to college for eight years, I dropped out because I could not go on-campus feeling and looking the way I did.  I was so ashamed and embarrassed and I did not want to be in public anymore than I had to.

The last experience that pushed me towards surgery was the birth of my son, Keaton.  I knew that I had to make drastic changes in my life if I wanted to be a good mother to my son.  I wanted to be healthy, active and loving.  The bottom line was--I couldn't be any of those things if I didn't lose weight and I needed to love myself first.
 

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My Barix Experience

Dr. Schram and Barix Clinics were highly recommended by my aunt who underwent surgery a few years before me.  The office staff was well versed with how to obtain insurance approval and what documentation I needed to have before my consultation.  I found out within 24 hours of my consultation that I was approved for surgery and I was elated!  The hospital staff were highly educated and specifically trained for care of the bariatric patient.  I knew what to look for because I had worked as a nurse in a bariatric program for several years.  The nursing staff anticipated my needs before I even asked.  The care was top-notch! 

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Making Success Happen

At the consultation, my surgeon stressed to me that he creates the tool and 99% of the work would be mine.  I have followed the Barix Program completely.  I focus on eating protein rich foods (lean meat, chicken, turkey, reduced fat cheese and fat free milk) first then take bites of fruits and vegetables.  I stay away from juice as I find it is a waste of calories (120 calories for 8 oz and way too many carbs).  I measure and weigh my food--knowing that many people underestimate food portions.  I love to try new high protein recipes--it has become my new hobby.   I follow the Barix Bible guidelines like not drinking 5 minutes before or 30 minutes after meals; chewing food extremely well; keeping fat intake low; focusing on healthy high protein choices rather than calories; and avoiding foods with more than 2 grams of added sugar. 

I started using the elliptical for 30-45 minutes a day two weeks after surgery.  I later added resistance training.  As my self-confidence soared, I joined a gym and I am now training for my first 5K run in April! 

The surgery is most definitely not a quick fix, but with the right mindset and commitment, the procedure will change your life!

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How My Life Has Changed

I have not reached my one year surgiversary, yet I consider myself a forever-changed person.  My health has improved greatly--I have lost 112# so far going from a size 26-28 to a 12-14.  I am no longer hypertensive or borderline diabetic.  My levels of self-confidence and self-esteem have gone through the roof!  I can complete intense workouts without being severely short of breath. 

Besides the positive changes in my health, my personal and professional relationships have changed drastically.  I graduated with my master's degree in nursing, majoring in nursing and health-care education.  I am now applying to several doctoral programs, knowing that I will have to complete a dissertation in front of several colleagues and teaching a classroom full of students--something I never would have done prior to surgery. 

My life has been enriched by the surgery itself and the endless amount of support I have received from my family, friends, and co-workers. 

The only regret that I have about undergoing weight loss surgery is that I wasted a decade of my life before going through with it.  If you have hit rock bottom and you know that you are ready to commit to a lifestyle that is challenging, yet rewarding, weight loss surgery can help you. 

   

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