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Weight Loss Story - Gastric Bypass

Blanche - "For me, life began after 50! My whole life has changed."

I was always skinny growing up. When I married my husband, I was 5'7" (67”) and weighed 116 pounds. Over the years, my weight increased to 262 pounds. I tried everything: Weight Watchers, Nutri-System, weight loss shots and more! Everything worked. I would lose 60-80 pounds. I was a good dieter, but the pounds would always come back, and my obesity became the prime source of many other health problems.

I suffered a 25-year history of high blood pressure (200/120). Because of my obesity, I became an insulin-dependant diabetic, my blood sugar was 359 and I was taking three shots of insulin daily. Complications from diabetes had reduced my effective eyesight range to no more than 25-50 feet. My finger and toenails had darkened due to impaired circulation. Since I had developed plantar fascitis (heel spurs) on my foot, I had to be in a cast for six weeks. My life-long asthma had progressed to the point that steroid shots were necessary. I was admitted to the hospital two to three times a year and for as long as seven days.

My family continued to encourage me to participate in family activities, but due to my health problems I had very little energy to give them or myself. Depression and anger were controlling my life. I stayed at home and kept to myself most of the times. I disconnected from my friends. I refused to watch movies or performances with thin people in them, because I remembered how it felt to be thin and healthy.

In June of 1995, at the weight of 242 pounds, I had my gastric bypass surgery. In eight months, I lost 120 pounds. I went from a size 26 to a size 6. In just two weeks following my surgery, my diabetes was gone. I was insulin-free and my blood sugar level was down to 71. Within weeks my blood pressure was normal at 120/80.

I no longer suffer asthma attacks, and in 1996, just one year after my surgery, I fulfilled a life-long dream by participating in the Sound to Narrows race. I finished in the top 10 of my age group at the age of 52. I am 60+ years old. For me, life began after 50! My whole life has changed. I can wake up on Monday morning and not have to go on a diet.

I am now a Patient Advocate, coaching others on how to be healthy and have a good quality of life. My goal now is to use the success of my weight loss to reach out each day to help others enjoy a thin and happy life. As a Patient Advocate, I meet with the patient just prior to their weight loss surgery. I walk with them down the long hospital corridors as they approach the operating room. I lean over the side of their bed and squeeze their hands and whisper words of encouragement. I tell them that they are on the road to losing weight and being healthy, and how their lives will change after the surgery. With tears in my eyes, I tell them that they will be fine and that "today is the first day of the rest of their lives."