Bariatric surgery — it will change your life

Bariatric surgery success story with Judith

I can remember being chubby in grade school. I was the one who didn’t want to get on the scale so others could see what I weighed.

You name the diet, and I’ve been on it – but after awhile your motivation lags, and you go back to your old ways.

At my top weight, I hurt all over. I couldn’t find clothing to fit. I felt ugly and discriminated against. I could feel people laughing at me and it hurt. My son had just graduated high school, and I hardly spent time with him because I didn’t want to go anywhere. My life was in a downward spiral. I would look at myself in the mirror and say, “I hate you.” I was in a severe depression. I actually considered suicide because I was so unhappy with how I looked, how I felt, and the way people reacted to me.

It was then I got the motivation to get my life back.

There was no question in my mind that I needed to have the surgery. I wasn’t afraid. I emailed University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and said, “Please, you have to help me. I’m at the end of my rope.”

At the start of the program, a whole group of people met with me. They interviewed me and did a lot of tests. They wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting involved with. They needed to see a sense of commitment from me. Once they realized I was a good candidate for the procedure, I had Roux-en-Y surgery.

Before the surgery I was depressed, inactive, and reclusive – a couch potato. First I started walking, then started running. Now I’ve started running 5Ks. I’ve placed and even won a few! I ran a half marathon at Disney World. When I ran a 5K at Camp Courageous, somebody found out about my background, and they gave me a trophy for being the most courageous runner that year. I’m so proud of it.

Because of the weight, I was having congestive heart problems, but now I’m fine. I was on quite a few medications, but now I'm just on two. I had a great deal of difficulty breathing, and now I don’t. I still have sleep apnea, but I hope that improves soon also.

Best of all, I don’t hurt all over anymore.

One of the greatest things was that for the first time since 1980, I was able to go shopping and go to the regular-size department to buy clothing.

After my surgery, a friend wanted me to talk to someone who was considering having bariatric surgery. She wanted to know what she would be able to eat. When I told her she would have to change her diet permanently, she said, “I can’t give up potato chips and butter.” So I told her, “If you can’t do that, you’re not ready.” Because you have to be ready. You have to do it for yourself, nobody else.