|On 16 August 2004, we received the following story from P.S. in Nashville, TN:
"I just want to tell people my incredible story. I was never heavy until I hit my 40's. I had always had a distorted vision of my body all my life. A poor image which was perpetuated by friends and family members commenting on my weight loss or gain throughout my life.
At 4'11" I was actually a very petite child and young woman, but always felt fat even though I only weighed 100 pounds in high school!
By the age of 47, I had struggled for the past seven years to keep my weight under control, only to lose control each time and, finally, I hit an all time high of 225.
In January 2003, I went to my doctor and, for the umpteenth time, we talked about my weight. He is a wonderful man and has worked with me for the past seven years trying various medications and diets to try to get the weight off. This time I approached him with the idea of having weight loss surgery. As desperate as I was, I didn't think he would recommend it. But, lo and behold, he did!
I was referred to a specialist and was optimistic that I would be considered by the surgeon for the procedure. My biggest concern was that unlike many patients, I was only 100 pounds overweight. But, for my short body, it might as well have been 300 pounds.
The surgeon gave me the thumbs up for the surgery. Now, I thought, here comes the really hard part--insurance approval. But I was approved within a month after they saw my history of attempting to lose weight using dieting and medications.
My surgery was scheduled for June 12, and I planned to be off work for about two weeks. Little did I know that it would be much longer than that before I returned to work.
On June 12, I went into surgery and all went well. No problems and little pain. I was released and went home after four days. By the 18th, I was in serious trouble. I couldn't void and the pain was horrible.
My husband arranged for an ambulance to take me to the hospital. After four hours of near death pain, it was determined that I had a serious leak from the surgery. I was catheterized and the fluids were black! The small country hospital I was at was ill-equipped to deal with this problem, so I was again in an ambulance headed for the hospital in Nashville where my surgery had been performed.
When I arrived at the hospital, after an hour and a half, my surgeon's partner was there waiting. He explained they would have to reopen me to make the repair, but it could not be done until the following day after I was stabilized.
On June 20, I was operated on again and the repair was made. I spent the next five days in the ICU lapsing in and out of consciousness. And this began my summer in Nashville...
The repair went fine, but I seemed to catch every germ that lived in the hospital during my stay. I kept a fever and infection for the next two and a half months. I was in and out of the ICU and could not hold down anything during that time.
I was being fed by a "central line" and was so full of fluids that I still weighed 200 pounds and my face looked like a pumpkin. I could hardly stand on my own two feet I was so weak. When I was released and got home, I remained out of work until October 1.
During that recovery time, I slowly regained my strength by doing small things. I would walk to the mailbox and that was a great accomplishment. It took me a long time to figure out how to eat without throwing up. I had a horrible time taking my vitamins as I would gag and throw up. Everytime I threw up, I cried because it meant that I had to wait and eat again or take my vitamins again. I had to start over...
By Thanksgiving I was doing much better. I could eat without being sick and I had been back to work for about two months. I felt better and was starting to see a real difference in my appearance.
I can honestly say that even with the problems I had and the scary time I spent in the hospital, I do not regret the surgery. It has been a Godsend and only through the wonderful prayers and loving hands of my doctors, nurses, husband, and family am I here today to share my story.
If I can be of help to someone else, it is my pleasure.
Today I weigh 110 pounds and I can pretty much eat what I want as long as I get my protein, water, and vitamins every day. I must admit that I don't always do as I should, but I listen to my body and try to treat it very well.
To each and everyone that reads this story, I will tell you what I tell everyone: I do not personally recommend this surgery to anyone. I advise each person to investigate your options, your doctor, your surgeon, and pray for guidance before making a decision.
God bless each and everyone that takes this journey."