I want to offer a special thanks to Nannette Ryan. Here is her
Although I was not a fat teenager, I was large and on
the "voluptuous" side -- wearing a size 14. Because I had lots of
curves in all the right places, I was not considered fat.
Then, when I was 18, I left home and moved to another state. It
was the first time on my own, and I found a job waitressing at a
local chain restaurant where they had lots of ice cream flavors! I
worked the "graveyard" shift from 11pm to 7am five days a week.
Well, of course, during the slow early morning hours, I sampled the
various ice cream flavors. It wasn't long before I had ballooned up
to a size 18. But, that was only the beginning.
I moved back to my family home state, met the man
whom I would
marry and started the weight climb -- weighing 180 when I married,
200 when I got pregnant with my first child, 225 when I got pregnant
with my second child and eventually over the next 18 years went up
to 300 pounds!
Around that time, I resolved that I had to get my weight under
control, and entered a weight loss program. I successfully lost
about 70 pounds in the next six months and kept it off for about a
year. Then, my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and the
stress eating started all over again.
By that time, it was decided that all the medical treatments he
went through weren't going to beat the cancer and he was terminal. I
had once again ballooned up to over 300 - hitting the scales at 340
By this time, I had developed Type II diabetes, been diagnosed
with severe sleep apnea, and suffered from stress incontinence, high
cholesterol and severe arthritis. I knew that stress eating had
always been a problem for me, and knew that when my husband died, I
would probably end up eating myself to death if I didn't make a
drastic change in my life and get healthy. It was the only way I
would have a future.
I had been thinking about gastric bypass surgery for almost two
years - always chickening out by thinking that it seemed like such a
drastic step and that I should be able to lose weight on my own. Of
course, this wasn't the case and I realized I had to take a drastic
step to save my own life.
In June 2003, I had Roux en-Y gastric bypass surgery at a
starting weight of 336 pounds. Luckily, I had done my research and
prepared all the documentation that my insurance company required
and I was approved on the first try. I followed my surgeon's
protocol and have never had any complications.
I helped to found a local Weight Loss Surgery support group and became an
advocate for others seeking weight loss surgery information.
Helping others on this path helped to keep me focused on my own
Unfortunately, my dear husband never got the chance to see me
realize my ultimate weight loss goal. He died in May 2004. Although
expected, it was still tough to deal with, and being almost a year
out and being able to eat more at that time, I had a short time when
the stress eating started again. But, by being aware of the
pitfalls, and keeping up my exercise program that I had started at
only five weeks post-op, I was able to get a handle on it fairly
Now, at almost 19 months out, I have lost a total of 180 pounds
and am now seeking to take the next step with plastic surgery to
remove the excess skin. I hope to be able to complete all my
plastic surgery goals in 2005.
Whenever anyone asks me if I would undertake this weight loss
surgery journey again, I
always respond -- "in a heartbeat." I wish I had been brave or
knowledgeable enough about weight loss surgery to have done it
earlier in my life.
Good luck to all wherever you may be in
your weight loss
surgery journey. It's definitely a ride!
I love good news. If you have good news, a
success story to share, or inspiration,
please send it to me at
Barbara@WLScenter.com so that I can
include it in future issues.