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Before & After
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John Alexander, M.D.
Liked him very much. Was very informative and seems his office has a lady named Sabrina that will fight hard. I liked the fact that he was very assuring of safety and risks before I asked. Didn't really dislike anything but I've only seen him once (Jan 15th). The literature said a great deal about aftercare and stressed that they would continue to work with me afterward. So far overall rate is very good. 1/19/01 Received copy of letter that Sabrina sent to insurance company. The letter was very professional and was sent exactly when I was told it would be. I've been scheduled for my EGD and Sabrina called and made sure my appointment was correct. She has been very informative in every aspect of the procedures necessary to try and get this approved.
Yvonne McCarthy's Journey
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Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
I've been on a diet since the 4th grade. The only time I was thin was in college and I was literally starving myself to death. Every time I lost a lot of weight, I gained it back plus more. I was depressed and in the end wouldn't go out in public because I didn't want anyone to see me. I went to the grocery store and work and that's it.
Latest Surgery Support Comments
Breaking free from the burden of obesity. Puberty hit. I was in the fourth grade. Being thin as I knew it was over.
My mom just wanted me to be happy. Fighting weight most of her life she researched Weight Watchers for kids. After all, I was only in the fourth grade and I was starting the first of hundreds of diets I would try in my lifetime. Being very athletic and playing sports didn’t help either. I found out very early that there was a clear dividing line between being popular because they wanted you on the team and being popular. My size was already teaching me that to “be someone” you couldn’t be overweight. When I was thirteen I was able to go without food for a week often times. I could drop twenty pounds but of course it would come back….plus more. My family would tell me I was just pleasantly plump or big boned but I desperately wanted to be like the other girls. My dear sweet mother would always say “You have such a pretty face”.In the sixth grade I was playing softball, singing in the church choir, was a Girl Scout, took music lessons and also wanted to dance. The ballet teacher that I studied with would make comments that we should all “go eat at Yvonne’s house” because we obviously ate really well. I was just a little girl and it hurt. I wasn’t even obese…yet. I continued being “pleasantly plump” until my freshman year in college. Still trying every diet in existence and nothing worked. The pressure from college really started to show and I gained even more weight. After pulling off a major weight loss again through starving, I found the best way to stay thin…thinking I was in love. For a couple of years I managed to just eat cottage cheese, tomatoes and crackers. I became alarmingly thin and went blonde. Wow!! There was a new babe on campus and I really resented the fact that I was being treated so differently, even though I was the same person before the change. All of a sudden I was being nominated for the beauty pageant and was the Phi Mu Alpha sweetheart. I was third runner up in the beauty pageant for Northwestern State University.
After college I couldn’t maintain the starvation so I went back to more diets and the yo-yo weight gain and loss. I got married and it was very apparent that if I gained weight I would lose my husband. No one tried harder than I did to be the perfect wife but I failed. The dreaded weight that I reached when I lost my husband was a weight that I would have loved to have maintained later in life. Deciding that I was too fat anyway, I ballooned an extra sixty pounds because I just didn’t care anymore. I was also taught the lesson again…I am not worthy.
About three years ago I faced the loss of my mother to cancer. This had to be the hardest thing I had ever faced in my entire life and I didn’t want to live. Cancer took my mother and the depression was unbearable. I am 5’7” tall and I weighed 260 when she died. She told me before she died that she just wanted me to love myself. That was impossible.In December of 2000 I heard Carnie Wilson’s story and started reading everything I could find. A local media personality had a doctor listed on his website and I called for a consultation. I wanted it and I wanted it badly. Telling my dad was scary because I thought he wouldn’t approve but I would not be stopped. After a great deal of work I was finally approved by my insurance company and had gastric bypass (open RNY) surgery on May 30th, 2001. As I have often said, the emotional pain I was in due to weight was unbearable and if I had been told that I had a 50/50 chance of survival, those odds would have been good enough for me.
I wrote these words in my profile on obesityhelp.com on the day of my first consultation. I remember tears streaming down my face as I typed.1/15/01 Since losing my mother a few months ago, my depression is beyond comprehension. If someone told me I might die in surgery, right now I wouldn't care. I cannot deal with living the rest of my life feeling like this or looking this way. I was in beauty pageants in college but I'm invisible now. I am qualified to do just about any job from accounting to computer graphics, art, music, photography but I can't put myself through looking for another job knowing what my weight will do to my chances no matter how experienced or good I am. The surgery would give me a chance to get a better job and feel good about myself for the first time in years. I am so capable but not like this.
When I found out that all those years of dieting completely reset my metabolism, I knew that losing one hundred pounds wasn’t possible on my own. To borrow this analogy from a wonderful lady I met through obesityhelp.com…imagine strapping on three thirty pound dog food bags (or more) every day and going about your business. The doctors told me I was carrying the equivalent of a twelve year old boy on my shoulders. That was pretty much an eye opener but I just felt more defeated. To this day, after the weight loss, I now feel as if I am walking on the moon.Sometimes when people see my before and after pictures, they are utterly amazed and say “I want to lose weight but I wouldn’t do anything that severe.” Now I truly know the depth of my emotional pain because I would have done anything short of take a life…except my own. When asked if the surgery was difficult I respond “ Compared to what?”. I had major back surgery several years ago and all that did was fix some physical pain. My emotional pain was far more debilitating. Being acutely aware of those that talk to me now that wouldn’t have given me a chance before can be distracting at times. It’s not something I hold against them, it’s human nature. Sometimes I detect a shyness in email that I receive from pre-ops. They believe that because I am thin now that I will treat them differently and the opposite cannot be more true.
Less than a year after surgery, I met my future husband. After losing 130 pounds, I am no longer a prisoner of my weight and cannot begin to describe the beauty of life post WLS. Working with my husband from our loft in Dallas is a life beyond anything I could have ever imagined. My photography career is doing well and I was recently featured on barebulb.com in the “Emerging New Artist” section.My surgery was over two years ago (currently almost 9 years ago) and my weight has not varied over ten pounds. I am a firm believer in drinking your protein shakes and taking vitamins every day. Often I am asked where I work out and I don’t! It has to be the protein shakes that give me such great muscles. I have recently taken up golf and nearly every day I go to the driving range and hit a couple of buckets of balls. It’s something I like and it gives me a good workout. Many women email me about plastic surgery before they have even had WLS. I tell them that I did have plastic surgery but it’s not something to worry about ahead of time. Nothing compares to having that burden of obesity lifted. I remember being excited when I wasn’t a plus size anymore but nothing compares to the excitement of being able to buy clothes at Victoria’s Secret and I’m not even a “large”! Gastric bypass is not for everyone but it was definitely for me. Last summer my husband picked out my first bathing suit that I’ve had in thirty years. He was so proud to be able to do that for me. Since then I’m sporting a two piece these days. My dad is very happy for me and I thank God for my life and having the love of an incredible man. I know my mom’s looking down and smiling because now I can say I fulfilled her last wish….loving myself.