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Olivia W.
 "Everything has changed for me."


January 2008
Gastric Bypass


Life Before Surgery

Life before surgery...was...nothing like it is now for sure. I can't look back through photos, because they are almost impossible to come by. I was always the picture taker, not by accident. I always had great sense of who I was, never put much thought into my size except on those days when I would go shopping or something horrid like that. Then the wake up call would always leave me frustrated and upset. 

On the regular days, I was a confident. outgoing and happy woman whom I thought was very attractive 'for my size'. I had a fantastic personality and never had any issue talking to anyone or making friends. I was "busy" but not ACTIVE. I certainly never ran a day in my life before surgery. I had lots of issues that plagued me growing up, from corrective shoes and leg braces as a toddler, to two broken hips in the fifth grade. Back then- they put me in a bubble. I was not even allowed to take Phys Ed in high school, years later, for fear of what could happen. If it happened to a child now, they'd do surgery and put them in the Olympics the next week. We now know, the faster you move, the better off you are. The mind set even in the early 80's set me up to be a very inactive child, teen and then adult. My genes dealt me a bit on the sturdy side as it was but the lack of mobility put me over 130lbs in the 5th grade and up from there.

I eventually got to a point where I was finding the 'regular days' had more discomfort in them. I was at a point where I started to feel suffocated by my fat. I was suddenly aware of it constantly and could feel it all around me. I felt like I couldn't move and couldn't do anything without feeling disgusted.


Making the Decision

It took me two years to make the decision to have bariatric surgery.  My husband and I were initially scared of the surgery.  I discussed the surgery with my family doctor, as well as my concerns with the risks and complications.  She recommended Barix Clinics as the starting point for my journey, because "that's all they do there".  I went to the website to gather information, read the message boards and found reviews from former patients.  Then I scheduled my consultation.  I was immediately put at ease with the facility--the large chairs in the waiting area were the first indication of their focus on bariatric patient needs.  After meeting the surgeon and his staff (many of whom have had bariatric surgery), I felt a sense of peace that solidified my decision. 

I chose to have the gastric bypass over the lap-band because I decided that I needed the "built in controls" to help me change my behaviors.



My Barix Experience

My insurance required that I complete six months of nutrition counseling before they would consider approving the surgery.  I was able to fulfill this requirement at the Barix Clinics in Groveport, Ohio.  I was, like a lot or people I am sure, thinking that I didn't "need" the presurgery counseling.  And I was not thrilled that I had to pay for it.  It was so very helpful in easing me into the post-surgery lifestyle.  My nutritionist was great.

Barix also walked me through the entire insurance process--they had it down to an art.  The surgery went without a hitch.  I love my surgeon.  They took the time to educate me and prepare me for my new life.  They offer support groups.  The dietitians were amazing and really understood the struggles I encountered.


Making Success Happen

The most common misconception about weight loss surgery is that it is the "easy way out".  It is not easy to read every menu, to plan out your day and make sure you have meals with you when you need them, to learn to eat and drink all over again, to learn the thresholds of what your belly can hold, give up sugar, caffeine and carbonation, or to have family and friends police what you eat. 

Although many things about this surgery are difficult, there are lots of things that are easy.  For example, after just one month, it is easy to tie your shoes.  After two months, it is easy to climb the stairs.  After four months, it is easy to chase your son in the yard.  After eight months, it is easy to go to Disney World for eight days and walk for twelve hours a day without being sore or tired.  After ten months, it is easy to let people take pictures of you, easy to take up a sport, and easy to fit into single digit clothing sizes for the first time in twenty-five years.


How My Life Has Changed

This is an amazing, life-saving, life-changing surgery.  The day of my surgery is one of the most important days of my life.  I have lost 135#; gone from a clothing size of 26/28 to a size 8-10; gone from a size 10 shoe to a size 8; and even my wedding ring size changed from an 8.5 to a 4.75. 



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