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Mary Valentineís Success Story

Hi Barbara,

I just wanted to share my story.  I had my RNY surgery on 12/13/00.  I weighed 293 pounds and was only 29 years old.  I have 3 sons of my own and 5 stepdaughters and I wanted to be around to watch them grow up.  I was in constant pain. I suffered from bouts of insomnia, sleep apnea, painful joints, and you name it!  I found a wonderful doctor in Whittier, CA - Dr. Thompson.  My mother had the surgery 13 years ago with the same doctor and had wonderful results, so when I finally decided that this was the way for me as well, I chose the same doctor.  Needless to say, I was scared to death!  Dr. Thompson has a wonderful support staff at the Whittier Surgical Weight Loss Center and they discussed absolutely EVERYTHING with me regarding my decision to have the surgery.  I met with Dr. Thompson for my pre-op consult just 2 days before my surgery (my initial consult was conducted over the phone because I live over 3 hours away from Whittier).  He spent about 2 hours discussing every aspect of the surgery, what to expect post-op and even drew diagrams for my husband so he could have a visual of what to expect.

On the day of my surgery, I was in tears.  I was excited about the journey I was about to embark on, but also fearful.  Everyone in the hospital was so supportive from the admitting nurses down to the janitorial staff.  When I awoke in ICU immediately post-op, I was in such agonizing pain!  I thought, "What did I do to myself?!?!"  I was given morphine and slept much of the first day.  I was moved to a private room the second day.  I was walking from the first day.  I only got up to use the restroom in ICU, but by the second day, I was walking the short distance across the hall, then gradually it was increased to walking the entire floor.  By the time I left the hospital (5 days later) I had already lost 10 pounds.

I went through the usual adjustment problems with figuring out how much I could eat and I overdid it several times, but I have never regretted my decision.  I have a very strong support system in my friends and family.  I am now 1 year post op and weigh 144 pounds.  I am down from a size 26 to a size 10!  I had never, ever worn a size 10 before in my life!

On 10/29/01 I had a tummy tuck.  It has done wonders for me.  No more sagging tummy!  My clothes look wonderful and I can wear those "clingy" fashions that I never could before.  One of my best friends underwent the laparoscopic surgery just 4 weeks ago after watching my success and another friend is awaiting approval from her insurance company.  My whole lifestyle has changed in such a positive way.  My children are no longer ashamed to be seen with me.  In fact, my oldest son even brags to his friends about my before and after photos and talks about how great I look.  My ex-husband and his wife are even contemplating having the surgery!

I hardly ever take an elevator now.  I much prefer to take the stairs and I don't get winded or have pain when I reach the top.  I am now in the process of starting a support group in my area for anyone who is thinking about having gastric bypass surgery or has had it and wants to help others.  The first few months are the hardest.  I had to adjust to my new-found lactose intolerance as well as say "good-bye" to my beloved sweet tooth, but it was all worth it.

I hope you can use my story, shorten it if necessary and feel free to contact me at any time at

Thank you,

Mary Valentine


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