- HEALTH TRACKER
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As a teenager, I participated in all the fad diets along with the rest of my size 8 girlfriends because that’s what teenage girls do, right? I lived on Diet Coke, Peppermint Certs, and Trident gum and ate only one meal each day to achieve my biggest goal…fitting into my boyfriends Levis (size 29)!
I didn’t really struggle with the issues of real obesity until I started having children. I never quite got rid of that last few pounds after the first baby and then added about 20 more after the second. I was in an unhappy marriage for several years and my weight continued to creep upward until I reached a new high of 240 pounds. It knew it was time to make some changes for myself and I divorced my husband. I began to feel better about myself, regained my self confidence and self esteem and lost 70 pounds. A few years later, I remarried and after the birth of my third child, my weight began to increase again. After struggling for over seven years on my own, I decided to research bariatric surgery. I decided that the Duodenal Switch was the right surgery for me, even though there was a 6 month wait for my surgeon, Dr. Henry Buchwald.
While I waited, I had to ‘convince’ my husband and that was not an easy task. In fact, it was not possible. He believed that I just needed to “try harder” and that I hadn’t “exhausted all of my options” yet. I started the Atkins® diet and began to lose weight. I heard a lot of, “I told you so” but, I tried to ignore them and I really hoped this time the weight would stay off and, as much as I hated to admit it, maybe my husband was right. I cancelled my duodenal switch surgery date for Dec. 2002 because I lost 85 pounds on Atkins®. It was the most success I ever had with a single diet. However, in Feb. 2003, I required treatment at the Mayo Clinic for slow colonic transit and was asked to stop the diet by my doctors. I did, and then rapidly began to regain weight.
By July 2003, I was well on my way to having regained everything I had lost and probably more. I scoured the internet and printed out everything I could find regarding the favorable outcomes obtained by duodenal switch patients and placed it on the table in front of my husband. I wasn’t asking for his permission at that point, I just wanted him to be well informed, because I was moving forward. By the time my surgery day came, my husband was on board and very supportive.
On the morning of surgery, I weighed 285 pounds. My duodenal switch surgery was preformed as an open procedure and after 5 days in the hospital, I returned home and had a completely uneventful recovery. I have lost all of my excess weight with absolutely no weight regain. I wore a bikini for the first time in my life the week I turned 40 years old. I have gone from size 26 to size 0. My pre-op BMI was 48.9 and now is a healthy 20.6.
"I have lost 165 pounds and in the process, have gained more self-worth and self-esteem than I’ve ever had in my life.”
I now lead local and online DS support groups, I'm writing a handbook for duodenal switch patients, I volunteer at local hospitals, and assist with insurance appeals. I try to lead by example and I've dedicated my life to giving back by paying it forward.