My new normal after bariatric surgery

Bariatric Surgery Success Story With Molly

Molly PetersonMolly Peterson was tired of feeling embarrassed.

“I am a music teacher, and I direct many concerts and shows,” says the 47-year-old from Wapello, Iowa. “The view my audience gets of me is my backside. I was becoming more and more embarrassed to direct my concerts knowing I was so large.”

On Labor Day weekend of 2012, while attending a wedding on the North Shore of Lake Superior, she began her journey to better health.

“The wedding site was down by the lake, while our condo was up a lot of steps,” Molly says. “Like, a lot. I had to stop several times on the way up to catch my breath. Others were passing me. I was so embarrassed.”

She weighed well over 300 pounds, and she wanted to live her life differently.

“I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be able to feel comfortable being outside and messing around with my teenagers. I wanted to be healthy so when those teenagers were parents, I could play with my grandchildren, not watch them from the couch.”

During the party that evening, Molly had a chat with a woman she hadn’t seen in five years. The woman had undergone bariatric surgery 18 months earlier.

“I did not recognize her,” Molly says. “Her only regret was that she hadn’t done it 20 years earlier. That was the conversation that made me decide to go for it.”

That night, Molly visited the bariatric surgery page of the University of Iowa Health Care web site, downloaded the paperwork, and sent a request for an appointment. Six weeks later, she had her initial visit.

Because of the requirements of her insurance plan, Molly had to wait seven months before having her surgery. But she calls that waiting period “absolutely a good thing.” It gave her time to make crucial adjustments to her habits and lifestyle, “changes you have to make forever.”

She gave up drinking pop. She learned what to eat and what not to eat. She started to exercise regularly. None of it was easy to do at first, but her perseverance paid off.

“For those first five months, it was all about following the ‘rules’ and doing the right things,” Molly says. “Then one day I realized I wasn’t looking at it that way anymore. I was just eating and exercising. It wasn’t a rule anymore. It was my new normal.”

Today, she’s at 197 pounds, and she enjoys life on her own terms—even when she’s directing those school concerts.

“I don’t even think about it,” she says. “I just do it. I dress silly with the kids, and I don’t worry about what my backside looks like.”