Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
I was normal weight (170 lbs.) until I joined AA to quit drinking and doing recreational drugs in 1981, when I was 32 years old. I gained 60 lbs. in my first 90 days of sobriety and have yo-yo'd up and down (mostly up) for the last 19 years. I have done liquid diet programs many times, two different hospital weight-loss programs, The Atkins Center for a year or so, and numerous other diets (including Weight Watchers and OA) over the years. As I got bigger and bigger, my life became smaller and smaller but I didn't really notice this was happening because I maintained close family relationships and friends. Three years ago I found the Duke University Diet & Fitness Center which is an incredible organization and did very well as long as I was in the rigid structure of that program but would always be unable to maintain the program on my own.
What was (is) the worst thing about being overweight?
There are so many things but for me, the worst part is not participating fully in life. I can't go to many restaurants and most theatres etc. because the seats are too small. When I do go somewhere, there are always special accomodations that have to be made; aisle seat, no booths, etc. I can't fly for more than 3 hours or so becaue I can't fit into the bathrooms on airplanes and barely fit into a first class seat. My friends hardly ask me out anymore because they know I will make an excuse. Being stared at on the street and laughed at by some folks is very embarassing. Personal hygiene was becoming more and more difficult and my sleep patterns were totally screwy. I was exhausted and in pain (lower back and ankle, knee, and hip joints) most of the time. I also had significant edema in my lower legs which I was told would probably result in open sores in a short period of time if I didn't get the weight off.