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Michelle H.
“I do feel brand new”

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Surgery Date: November 2008
Surgery: Gastric Bypass

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What was life like before your surgery?

I don't remember much from before surgery. I always loved me. I knew I was a hot girl with lots of me to love. I never realized what I was doing to my body. Walking upstairs left me out of breath; my back always hurt, my knees hurt. I remember taking a 3-hour nap every day. I was always tired. I also remember getting on the plane and making sure I got the window or the aisle seat so I didn't bother 2 people when I overflowed into their seats. I had to ride with my smallest child at the amusement park so I could use the extra room in the seat.

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What led to your decision to have the surgery?

A friend of mine had the gastric bypass procedure. The winter had gone by and I never saw her. Then when I did the 7 months had made a huge difference in her. She had lost about 80 lbs and it left me a little jealous--not unhappy jealous, but the kind of jealous you feel when you watch the people on TV go on diets and you sit on the couch and eat chips and wish that that were you at the end. It was the chance of diabetes that scared me to surgery. I knew that that was going to be me and it looks like a horrible way to die.

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How was your experience with Barix?

Barix was so nice to us: made us feel at home and informed us of every detail. I had surgery with my best friend on the same day. We shared the same room and they did everything they could to help us share the experience together. By doing this we were able to go to the meeting together and all of our appointments and follow-ups. We do live in Ontario and it was 6 hours each way, so this kindness didn't go unnoticed.

The staff actually goes above and beyond to make you comfortable. I was not feeling well the day after my surgery and I don't do “uncomfortable” at all. The
medicine made me
feel a little sad and upset my stomach. One nurse just hugged me. Being from Ontario and so far from home and no family with me, it meant the world. They also made a makeshift heating pad and warmed it up for me every few hours. I love them all. When it was time to go back to work, life had to change a little and my eating choices had to change, too. The nutritionist’s hours were not the same as my office hours, so I thought that using her was out of the question. I then got an email from her one day; she and I started to chat by email and she had some great ideas about what to take to work.

You name it, they have thought of it at the clinic.
 

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How is your life after surgery?

Since the surgery, or should I say since the 120 lbs, life has changed. Not to be vain, but the size 4 label in my dress took the cake (literally). Shopping has been so much fun (it was fun before, don't get me wrong).  The best part about going to work is "what will I ever wear.” I took up running. I did it a few times, just enough to say I have done it. I used to tell people I was allergic to exercise. I can't believe how wonderful it makes me feel now to do it.  I don't have to worry at the amusement park if my back end will fit into the seat. For the first time, I traveled on an airplane and I only needed my own seat and no extension for my seatbelt. I am so interested in the nutrition values on the box now. I watch very closely what I put into my family and myself. My life has changed completely. My husband bought a motorcycle and we are now traveling all over the US and Canada. He never left our county before--now he is all over showing off his new wife. And I do feel brand-new. (I would never have fit on a bike before). I must say the best of all is when everyone says my 16-year-old daughter and I are sisters. Or "you don't look old enough to have kids that age"--I lost 10 years! If you add that to the years I gained, I gained more than I ever dreamed. I wish I had done it sooner. I wasted my life being overweight and I have so much living to do now to make up for it.

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What would you tell someone considering Barix?

Watching my family members die of diabetes with gangrene in their feet, and the horrible lives they had till the end—that will never happen to me. I was never nervous about this surgery even though I hate surgery. This surgery changed my life. It is only a tool, and how you use it is up to you. This is not easy.  You need to learn how to live all over again. But believe me, the new life is worth it. You will always be full. I remember wondering about that. Imagine...eating 1/4 of a Jell-O cup and being turkey-supper full. I also feel my choice is now making my family aware, and maybe we can stop the cycle of obesity in our family tree.   

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