Hello everyone! I have decided that the best way to tell my story is the way I told it to my surgeon - in letter form, and from the heart. If anyone wants to use parts of it to get screened in for surgery, please feel free to do so. Here goes:
February 17, 2007
To Dr. Christou and the Bariatric Team;
My name is Diana Dupont. I am a 33 year old married female who has been obese or morbidly obese for my entire adult life and overweight/obese for most of my childhood. I am 5’5” tall and now weigh 320 pounds.
I have tried every diet trick available to me to lose weight, yet I continue to regain the weight and my overall health has begun to deteriorate because of it. Some weight loss approaches I have tried in the past:
Ø Low Fat diets (many kinds)
Ø High Carbohydrate diets
Ø Low Carbohydrate diets
Ø Herbal remedies
Ø Appetite suppressant (such as Dexatrim)
Ø Prescription medication (Paxil for depression and anxiety related partially to my obesity)
Ø Fad diets – every one I saw I tried! Including such commonplace ones like the Grapefruit diet and Cabbage soup diet. Too many to count!
Ø Weight Watchers (twice)
Ø Weight Loss Clinic
Ø “Subway” diet
Ø Counting calories myself
Ø Atkins from October 2003 – May 2005 and from August 2006 to recent (including sometimes regular, sometimes sporadic exercise, due to knee pain).
Ø Herbal Magic from June 2002 – October 2003 and from May 2005 - July 2006 (including sometimes regular, sometimes sporadic exercise, due to knee pain)
Ø Therapy and counselling
I am in the prime of my life, but I am beginning to feel like an old woman. I haven’t even started a family yet, and my goals that I have had for myself are not being met – I have, over the years, put so much time, effort, and energy into losing weight, only to gain it all back that I have had little time left to plan my future. In fact, when something good materializes (like finally being able to afford an item I never thought we could; or a nice vacation) I am almost in disbelief, since this one MAJOR goal (losing weight) in my life has been fruitless.
I have so much time ahead of me, and I want to live those years in relative health. My knees are quite painful, although mainly in the winter months. However, I had no choice but to use a wheelchair in between rides/attractions on our vacation this past summer in Orlando due to the excessive standing, walking and long lengths of time on my feet. I also have GERD, and must take medication for this every day.
Mentally, my weight is a challenge that I must deal with every day and it impacts me both socially and emotionally. Humiliations that I have had to endure include these examples, although there are so many more:
Ø People staring at me in restaurants or in grocery stores – analyzing what I’m eating/putting in my cart, and making comments about it as if I’m not there.
Ø Being afraid to sit in chairs at restaurants since they can be so uncomfortable on the arms. I have come home with bruises on my hips and thighs several times because I was too ashamed to go elsewhere or ask for a booth.
Ø Standing in an elevator, or conversely; waiting in line for an amusement park ride – when people notice how large I am I have heard comments like “I hope this elevator / ride won’t break”, and sniggers/glares.
Ø Taking a flight on an airplane and having to ask for seat extensions, and squish myself in as much as possible if someone has to sit beside me. I had someone who was sitting beside me call on their cell phone mid-flight (when they thought I couldn’t hear – headphones) and described how hellish their flight was since they were stuck next to me. Some really horrible things were said.
Ø Having teens make the “Beeeeep-Beeeeep-Beeeeeeeeeep” sound that a large truck makes when backing up when they see you walk by.
Ø Having clothing rip or tear in public because they are so tight.
Ø Going into a clothing store and having the clerk get exasperated with you when you ask for help, or make rude comments on my size. I actually had one worker at an upscale clothing store tell me point blank as soon as I walked into the store that I was too fat to shop there!!
I have done my research with regards to morbid obesity, and the surgery itself (Laproscopic Gastric Bypass; RNY) and would never enter into something so life-changing lightly. I do however believe, in light of my multiple attempts at weight loss and my (currently minimal) co-morbidities that this procedure will save my life and allow me to live a normal life in relative health and comfort. I do know that if left unchecked, other medical complications could develop, especially:
Ø Degenerative arthritis which may ultimately lead to the loss of mobility
Ø Worsening of asthma symptoms
Ø Worsening of GERD symptoms, possibly requiring surgery
Ø Diabetes (I believe I am sugar-sensitive)
Not to mention the multitude of other risks that I cannot see in the near future, but all obese people are at risk for, including:
Ø Heart disease
Ø High Blood Pressure
Ø High Blood cholesterol
Ø Sleep Apnea
And many more….
Social complications are also a concern with some noted items like:
Ø Limited movements (ie: personal hygiene)
Ø Limited access to chairs and passageways
Ø Limited ability to walk, climb or even exercise
Ø Sexual limitations
Ø Clothing or shopping limitations
Neuro-Psychiatric complications are also involved and I have had to deal with such issues as:
Ø Social withdrawal
Ø Guilt over not being able to lose like everyone else around me, self blame
Ø Feelings of helplessness concerning weight loss
I am 5’5”,weigh 320 pounds, with a BMI of 53.3 (determined through your website at weightlosssurgery.ca) Clinically this is classified as “Morbidly Obese”, and I am a perfect candidate for this surgery. My “healthy weight” for my height and frame is between 113-138 pounds. This makes me nearly 200 pounds heavier, or about 2.5 times what I should weigh. I need this surgery for medical reasons and to ensure that I can lead the quality of life that I deserve, just like the rest of society. I am not a lazy person; I have tried many, many times to lose weight, and despite my best efforts have ended up back where I began. I am considered to be more active than the average person my size – When my knees are doing well I can dance the night away - even if I am in pain for a week after.
I just want to be normal. I love my husband, our financial stability, our cats, our family and any future children we want to have. I want there to BE a future. I have a medical illness that will resolve through this surgery (GERD) and others that will become less cumbersome with the reduction of my weight. I feel that I have given enough of my life over to trying to lose weight conventionally – and I am not a quitter! I tried certain weight loss plans for YEARS before switching.
I believe this surgery to be the final and only option available to me to lose a large enough amount of weight to give me a normal life. Please consider all that I have written for this request for surgery while my health is still relatively good and while I am still young so that I have a chance to increase the length and quality of my life.