I want to offer a special thanks to Brenda
Duenas. Here is her story:
My name is Brenda. I am 40 years old and feel
like Iíve been given a new lease on life.
I come from an obese family. When I was growing
up, every family gathering was spent discussing my weight even
though I was not yet obese. My obese grandmother, aunts, and mother
would tell me that if I continued eating like my brothers, I would
weigh 300 pounds. I was very thin at the time! The boys got huge
servings of dessert, while I only got a very small serving. Thus
began my feeling of being deprived and punished. My grandfather and
hero would tell them to leave me alone, and lose their own weight!
How I loved my grandfather. But none the less, the words hurt and I
began to believe that something was wrong with me!
I married and became a mother at the age of 17.
I went on to have 5 children and with each child the weight piled
on. I led a very inactive life, the only exercise I got was chasing
after my children. I lived up to my relatives prophecy, I topped out
at 315 pounds.
Iíve tried every diet I could. Weight Watchers,
Atkins, pills, Richard Simmons, Kaiser Medical
Program....everything. I would lose up to 60 pounds at a time and
then just give up!! It was like the weight had become so massive it
was like climbing a mountain without a rope. I could get so far and
then slip back down.
In September 2001, my husband became disabled
by two heart attacks and my brother who later died of obesity at
more than 400 pounds, spurred me to do something! If I didnít do
something about my weight I would die too and my children could be
faced with losing both parents. My youngest child was only 3.
I began researching weight loss surgery. My
primary care physician was not cooperative and required that I go
through the weight loss program offered by my insurance carrier,
Kaiser. I did and lost about 40 pounds and then regained 60! I
pushed for him to begin the process to allow me to have weight loss
surgery. He reluctantly scheduled me for appointments with the
nutritionist, the clinic behaviorist and the psychologist. All of
them agreed I was a perfect candidate for the surgery. My BMI was
65 (I am only 4 foot 11
inches tall). I had sleep apnea, and a strong family
history of heart disease and diabetes.
My PCP reluctantly sent in my first referral.
Life got busy and I didnít stay on top of it. Six months went by and
I hadnít heard anything. I began calling everywhere to find out
where I was in the process only to find that they had never received
my paperwork!! I called my PCP who told me that since it had been so
long I would have to re do my appointments with the nutritionist and
psychologist. I did even though I felt it highly unfair since it was
his fault. I called and tracked down the correct fax number he was
supposed to send it to and finally confirmed that the approval
department had received it. I waited 6 agonizing weeks and found I
had been approved!!
Three months later I had my orientation and
consult with Dr Fisher in Richmond, California. I had my gastric
bypass surgery on August 19, 2003 almost two years after initially
going to my PCP wanting it! I had no complications at all. I am
very fortunate to have gone through a program that really stresses
education and support.
I am now 15 months post op and am down to 148
pounds. I have gone from a 30/32 jeans to a 12, a 3XL top to a
medium, and can go into any store and shop!! My BMI is down to 31
and my sleep apnea is gone! I feel normal for the first time in my
life. I had my apron and bat wings removed on September 1, 2004 and
love my new body.
My whole life has changed. I donít worry about
if I will fit into chairs. I exercise everyday. I smile more. I
laugh and I love each new day. I love to shop!!
This surgery gave me the rope I needed to climb
the mountain!! I have 13 more pounds to go to get to my personally
set goal and I know I will get there. I am worth this journey!! I
would do it again in an instant.
Bay Point, California
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.