My story is familiar to so many overweight people. I was a tiny child until I reached puberty and then the weight just kept adding up every single damn year. There were times that Junior High and High School was absolutely miserable for me because of some of the comments I heard from classmates. I can still remember clearly the 3rd week of Junior High when a classmate who I had the biggest crush on called me Pudgy Pam and all the class laughed. Inside I cried and at times it seems those tears never stopped. That was the first time I remember hearing anyone say a disparaging remark about my looks. I went home swearing off school ever again. My weight has always been a private hell for me and has also always been a vulnerable spot in my armor. I have tried all the gimmicks, all the programs; I have starved myself, sustaining only on water and crackers until I passed out from malnutrition. I have joined gym after gym after gym and I have hired personal trainers. I have joined a few different hospital treatment programs over the years and I have sworn so many times that “this” time would be the last time I have to deal with obesity. I have ordered just about every infomercial product that claims fast results. All those diets did was made me crazy and made me fatter. And poor! If I had all the money I spent on gadgets, Slimfast, diet programs and gyms, I could seriously retire now. WLS is something I have been thinking about for a few years now. I went to my first seminar in January 2008. At that time my insurance didn’t cover it and I convinced myself I didn’t need surgery. I am a strong willed, intelligent, active woman. I don’t need surgery and I would do it on my own. And I am active. I don’t consider myself to be sloppy obese, I do not sit on my arse at home doing nothing but eating junk food; I am not a closet binge eater. I try to make relatively good food choices so the failed weight loss attempts and continued weight gain was puzzling. I have been tested, prodded, and poked to make sure there is nothing physiologically wrong that would cause weight gain. Not surprising I am hypertensive, have high cholesterol, and am borderline Type II diabetic. That’s what happens when you carry around a whole other person every day. February 2010 I attended another free seminar and this time something clicked in my brain. I did lots of research, talked to two different bariatric centers, attended support groups and was on track. My insurance now covers it as long as pre-op requirements are met and the last 6 months has been spent jumping through insurance hoops and I found out September 7, that I was approved for the surgery. I understand there are some health risks associated and that there is a slight chance that I might die as a result of the surgery. But I would rather die fighting for life than to continually passively kill myself sitting on the sidelines. One of the requirements of both my insurance and the surgeon I selected are psychological evaluations. Those time with the psych doctor have helped me understand why the attempts have failed in the past and what I need to do to succeed in the future. The surgery is just a tool and I know that I still have to mentally and physically beat it.