Procedure: Lap-Band
Surgeon: Ki Oh, MD
Date of surgery: July, 2007
Height: 5' 4
Weight before surgery: 285 lbs.
Total weight loss: 166 lbs

What life was like before weight loss surgery?

Living was tiring, I couldn't run and play with my kids like I wanted to. My feet, back and hips hurt all the time to the point of tears at the end of the day. I had high blood pressure & high cholesterol. Everything took more effort and even tying my shoes got to be a chore.

Why did you decide to have Lap-Band surgery?

I was sick of letting my weight hold me back from life. I had tried many diets, some with short term success, but the hunger pains and weight would always come back along with a little more. Then my health really started to diminish - I had chest pains, blood pressure issues, cholesterol issues. Then one of my family members who was close to my age had to have open heart surgery. As I sat there waiting for her to get out of surgery I knew that could - and most likely would - be me if i didn't do something about my weight once and for all. I just wanted to be happy and healthy and be able to play with my kids and to see them get married and have their own children someday...

What has been your biggest challenge with Lap-Band surgery?

My biggest post surgery challenge has been to get my mind wrapped around the new me... seeing myself as others see me now has been a challenge. I look at pictures with me in them and I think who is that? then I realize its me. It's exciting but mind blowing at the same time that i am actually a healthy, normal-sized person now. A lot of people have told me along the way I took the easy way out. Make no mistake, this is not the easy way out. The surgery is just a tool and must be treated as such. I still have to have self control when it comes to sweets or lattes.

How life has changed with weight loss surgery:

My life has changed so much since the surgery. I am healthy, my blood pressure is great and so is my cholesterol. I don't sit around worrying that I will drop over dead from a heart attack all the time like before. My feet, back and hips don't hurt at all anymore. Best of all I can play with my kids. We go for long bike rides, hiking and swimming. I can fit in a booth at a restaurant without fear of getting stuck! A bath towel wraps around me now...(maybe not a big deal to a normal-sized person but to a bigger person it's a big deal to have a towel fit around you!). I have more confidence now. I am willing to put myself out in the world and do things that my weight has always held me back from.

Advice for others considering weight loss surgery:

This is a journey not to be taken lightly but one to be excited about! When you go from living to eat to eating to live it can be hard but it is so worth it in the end. I would take this journey with the ups and downs all over again in a moment. It has made me realize how strong I really am and how precious this life is. Thank God for second chances and don't forget to take your vitamins!