I want to offer a special thanks to Anna
Mattaliano. Here is her story:
I have always been overweight, even since
childhood. My parents were raised in the depression era. When my
parents were growing up, food was a main concern, especially for big
families. Both my parents came from a family of seven children. If
food was on the table, everything was right with the world.
Food had become so precious during the
depression, that my family believed that food meant love. So, if you
loved someone you fed them, and if that person wanted to show they
loved you back, they cleaned their plate – no matter how many times
it was filled up!
By the time I was in high school and started
noticing the opposite sex, I was well beyond the “Twiggy” type
bodies of my peers. I tried everything – the banana diet, the
grapefruit diet, over the counter diet pills, the drinks, the
promises and even the prescribed diet pills of the 70’s. I was in
high school and on amphetamines, prescribed by my pediatrician!
When nothing worked, I just gave up. I became
the overweight person in the crowd, the one that never had a date. I
was the one that always felt left out and literally never fit in.
Time passed and I accepted whatever came my way.
I grew up to be an overweight adult who would
do anything for friendship and even more for a relationship with a
man. Abuse comes in many forms, and if you don’t care about
yourself it will find you. I saw my entire little girl dreams
passing me by - finding a nice man, having a big wedding, and a
family of my own. The one thing I wanted more than anything was to
have a baby of my own, a child to love and care for. I had so much
love to give and no one wanted it.
So by choice, I got pregnant at 34 years old. I
had a rough pregnancy and almost lost my daughter. My doctor put me
on complete bed rest and between that and some emotional problems I
gained 100 pounds during my pregnancy. Everyone said I would lose
it after the baby was born. But by the time my daughter was 5 yrs
old, I had ballooned up to 317 pounds. I was special ordering
t-shirts in size 7X just to have something to wear.
I had pain everywhere in my body but the worst
was in my back and neck. My neurosurgeon decided to do back surgery.
I had a diskectomy on my lower back, and a herniated disk was
removed. I also decided to see a counselor.
In the counseling sessions more and more things
came out about my past that I had never even dealt with. It shocked
me to hear what was coming out of my mouth for the first time in my
life. This made everything clearer to me. It just all fell together
like a puzzle.
I wanted and needed to get better. It was at
that time I met a woman who had gastric bypass surgery 12 years
earlier performed by Dr. Maguire. She looked good, was healthy and
happy. I started asking any doctor I came in contact with, who was
the best surgeon doing gastric bypass surgery in my area?
Dr. Maguire is who everyone recommended. I did
further extensive research on gastric bypass surgery and was finally
ready to meet Dr. Maguire and hear his orientation. As soon as the
orientation was over I started running around getting all the
paperwork the insurance company required. When the last piece of
paper was sent in, I breathed a sigh of relief and gave the whole
situation to God. I knew whether I was approved for RNY or BPD or
turned down for both, it was going to be the best choice for me.
On December 5, 2001 I had a Roux en Y gastric
bypass. The weight melted off and so did many inhibitions. One day
I found myself standing up in front of many people talking about
gastric bypass surgery as president of the New Life Surgery support
group. That is something I would have never even considered at 317
It was at the support group meeting that I met
my wonderful husband, Matt. He too had gastric bypass surgery only
two weeks after I did and I didn’t even know it. I had seen him
around the support group but with so many people there I never got
the chance to talk to him very much. I am so glad that one day I
found the time.
I believe God knows who your mate is but both
of you have to be ready before you are to meet. You have to be happy
with yourself first. So now at the age of 45 I am married for the
first time in my life. And also for the first time in my life I am a
size 12! This surgery is one of the best things I have ever done.
I have met many people along the way who have
had this surgery. I listen to everyone’s experiences. I do as much
research as I can and try to pass on the information to everyone who
is interested. I share my story with everyone who wants to know
about it. I believe if I spread the word, I might help that one
person who is feeling helpless like I did. I might give someone some
hope that they can have a better life, like the one Dr. Maguire gave
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.