"Life-altering is an understatement."
Date: May 2006
What was life like before your
I hated getting my picture taken. I always thought I looked better or skinnier
in the mirror than I did when I saw myself in pictures. How could my eyes deceive me so?
In December of 2005, my best friend and I were having a "girls' weekend." Getting ready to go out,
I casually said, "I need to lose some weight." Expecting the usual, "No, you look good," response, I almost
fell over when I heard, "Ya think?" come from the next room!
I thought I was healthy, if you didn't count the rolled-up towels under my legs at night because my back hurt, or my
swollen ankles, or the asthma that took multiple medications to just barely be controllable. But I didn't have high blood
pressure, and good genes kept my good cholesterol number high enough to convince me that I didn't have to worry about
I even worked out regularly--I could lift weights and work those machines.
But I couldn't walk up a flight of steps without being winded, and running lasted all of three, maybe four steps!
What led to your decision to have the surgery?
I dont' think there is a diet I haven't
tried. I counted calories, carbs, protein, and fat. I drank liquid protein with Oprah, became a regular at the local health
food store, hired a trainer, and took prescription and OTC diet pills. Every diet had some
degree of success - but there were always two things that didn't change: Why I ate, and how I ate.
I could find lots of resons to explain
away the weight gains - new relationship, ending a relationship, new job, old job, new house, happy, sad. Bottom line, I was
turning 50 and I knew there was no way losing weight would get any easier.
One Sunday afternoon I sat down and looked at where I was, where I'd been, and where it looked like I was heading...it
was a pretty sobering experience.
Do you know the definition of insanity? It's
doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I needed a different result. I needed
to do something different.
Who wants to be 50 and fat? I started to look at the options. I spent hours on-line
looking at websites, reading stories like this one, understanding the differences between the procedures, trying to calculate
my BMI, identifying programs and facilities in my area.
I settled on the gastric bypass surgery. Where to have
it done? I looked into one program where to even be considered for it you need to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol,
sleep apena, and diabetes. I think they took great offense when I told them I wasn't going to wait to have one foot in the
grave before I got my weight under control!
I found myself at an info session at the Barix Clinic in Langhorne,
PA. I knew it was the right place for me the minute I walked through the front door.
was your experience with Barix?
Barix, there is only one focus - helping people like me get a chance at a new way of living. The surgery
itself was the easy part - it's getting to that day that took the real work.
Everybody wanted something:
- The insurance company wanted nutrition counseling and support group meetings.
- The surgeon wanted blook tests, a sleep apnea
test, chest x-ray, and no weight gain.
- The respiratory therapist wanted me to practice blowing into some machine to help me breathe.
- The nurse wanted to do isometrics to firm up
my stomach and butt muscles.
I just wanted my surgery.
loved my exerpience at Barix. Everyone was so nice and professional. The staff was truly amazing. I loved
my surgeon! My sister is a nurse - I wanted her to hire one of the nurses for her hospital!
How is your life after surgery?
Having weight loss surgery was the absolute best decision I have ever made. Life-altering
is an understatement. In the four plus years since my surgery, I have completed four 100-mile bike rides, went on my first
cruise, gone parasailing and skydiving, and started running in 5k races. I signed up for my first 19k run and I'm starting
to think about triathlons and half marathons.
I facilitate a bariatric support group at Chestnut Hill Hospital. I eat better than
ever before. I can wear my sister's clother! Life is so different now and so much better than ever before. I'd
be lying if I said buying size 24s is just as much fun as buying a size 8.
On May 21st, I started a new career - as
a Deputy Sheriff. I was the oldest, and only woman in the class.
What would you tell someone considering
Make sure that you are doing it for you. Discuss
it with the folks who will be living with you. Be prepared to put yourself first. Talk to your friends and your family. You
need to let them know and help them understand what will be happening to you in the days, weeks and months after your surgery.
Don't be surprised when people aren't as supportive as you expected them to be - it happens to all of us.
Be ready for a whole new life!