The Beginning of my Journey! 160 Lbs Melted Away! - Richmond, VA

Well, I have decided to share a little about my...

well, I have decided to share a little about my gastric bypass experience. I was always overweight since I can remember... I was 180 at the age of 12 and the heaviest person in a weight watchers group full of 40+ women. By the time I was 18 I was 280 and hated every second of my 18 years of life... Not just for how I felt about myself but how others treated and felt about me. Going to school was horrible for me. I had one friend in school and she didn't enter my life until i was 15. I remember sitting in class and all of the kids making noises as if the desk was breaking as I sat down. Or worse, not being able to fit in the desk because it was the type where the seat was attached to the desk... my heart used to sink when I would walk in to class and see those styles of desks. We lived in the country and both of my parents worked a lot. My dad worked at night mostly or second shift so we hardly ever saw him unless it was a weekend and my sweet mother (may she rest in piece - we lost her at a very very young age this past May 6th - she was only 63) had to drive about two hours to work every single day and didn't get home until about 7pm. So we weren't allowed to go outside and play as children. My older sister was always thin (her nickname was bones) I was always "Mandy in the middle" and my nickname was munchkin. She got bones and I got MUNCHKIN... dang! lol but I wouldn't change that for the world... and my handsome 2 yo son has inherited that name :-). So needless to say when you don't get exercise you just stay in the house... we ate... and ate... and ate! My little sister and I were just growing bigger and bigger. The best thing about my childhood is that my parents only gave us encouragement to lose the weight. They never were mean to us though, they did have many heart to hearts with us about eating a lot, watching what we ate, and not overdoing food. I really wish I had listened to that. The older I got the less I worried about what people were saying to me and the more it broke my heart to hear the names they called my sister. Football, Big Mac, earthquake. She was so young. 7 years younger than me and those things really hurt me at 15... imagine how she felt.

I had gastric bypass at the age of 20 at 310 lbs only 7 months before my parents insurance was about to drop me... I wouldn't change that for anything. I had no childhood and felt horrible about myself as the sizes went from 16 to 18 to 22 and finally to 28 because I refused to buy anything bigger than that and I don't remember the sizes in between. And on the medical side I had severe asthma (surely from being overweight because it went away as soon as i lost weight) I was on a nebulizer 4 times a day and an inhaler 2 times a day and then of course my rescue inhaler. I couldn't walk faster than a snail ( I am only 5'4 so 310 lbs is a lot!) I didn't take pictures and I have exactly ONE picture of me overweight (unless someone was able to sneak a few I don't know about) ... I will try to find it before I post this and share it. But I refused pictures at all. I saw about Gastric Bypass (because it was first coming out at that time) and decided I would make an appointment. I went to my PCP and she referred me right upstairs to Dr Harvey Sugarman. I had no IDEA when I went to see him and actually had no clue until years later that he was one of the pioneers for Gastric Bypass and help to come up with many many of the techniques used in the procedure and that helped the other procedures evolve. He was amazing. He gave me words of guidance and reassurance. I had to do a mental exam, physical exam, and then the insurance company approval. When I got the call that it went through i was so excited! My surgery was scheduled for October 13th! I couldn't sleep the night before. I was there at 5am and the next thing i remember I was waking up in recovery two days later... I had an asthma attack on the operating table. A minor setback for me but no big deal! I made it! They told me I had to sit up and walk before leaving the hospital the next day. I thought, as I looked down at the train tracks that went straight down my body from my breast bone to my groin area... walk??? There are 38 pieces of metal in my stomach... I can't even sit up. Then they wanted something even more crazy... they brought in this tray... it had three 1oz cups of JUICE... I thought mmmmm no problem! I was so thirsty! then I sipped the grape juice... uhhhh YUCK! IT TASTED LIKE SYRUP!!! EWWW Then the apple and orange... no difference... they tasted terrible. I told the nurse no thank you and she said oh you have to drink all three of these before you can leave with a smile... are you kidding me????? This is the first time in my life I have not felt hungry!!! So I looked at her and said, I'm ready to walk now... lol anything to not drink that molasses they wanted me to drink. So I walked down the hall. She brought me back to my room and when she left I looked at my sister(bones) and said pour this out now!!! she did that for me... I know that was stupid but ewwwww...

So I went home... my first challenge 24 steep stairs... Oh holy cow! That took a good 20 minutes to get upstairs. I laid in bed... I wanted to sleep!!! Dr's instructions were to walk 30 minutes 2 times a day until my 2 week appointment. I didn't get out of bed for 2 weeks. I was in PAIN! No pain meds except for Tylenol with Codeine and that did nothing for me. My sister motivated me to get my butt up and walk... I am so glad she did! I probably walked the day before my first follow up... terrible me!!

I went to my first appointment and OMG 36 lbs!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me?? by one month I had lost 52 lbs... at around three months 75lbs and it just kept melting away!!!!

Guess what! No more Asthma and no more breathing treatments! AND LOTS OF ENERGY!!!! Before i knew it I was 160 lbs lighter!!! I was under 200lbs! Are you kidding me??? That was soooo exciting! I wore my older sisters jeans! Size 12!!!! omg I could not believe it!

Would I do it again? I would not hesitate! I knew i was going to have a lot of work to do with reconstruction but just having that weight off was life changing. I soon after had my first date... then, (unfortunately lol) my first boyfriend... and my life just kept getting better and better...
Dr Harvey Sugarman

He as AMAZING!!! He guided me through the entire process, encouraged me, reassured me, and stayed there for me way after my procedure... much

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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