BeforeAll my life I have struggled with weight issues. Usually at most it was about 40lbs I wanted to lose. After the birth of my two children my weight spiked to an all time high of 116lbs that I needed to lose. In 2004 I went on Atkins and lost 100lbs. I felt great and managed to keep the majority of it off for almost 2 years. Then I quit smoking and slowly I started gaining weight. I went back on Atkins, Weight Watchers and several other diets over the next 3 years – all with the same results. I would lose about 20lbs then get to a plateau. Frustrated, I would give up and start back eating. A friend of mine, Jackie, had gastric by-pass surgery. I watched her. She lost weight so quickly! She felt great and looked amazing. Then in July 2010 after a family/friend trip to Kings Dominion I really saw myself for the first time in a picture that had been taken of me. Words can’t describe the pain that ran thru my heart when I realized that I had done it again. I didn’t recognize the woman in the photo yet I knew it was me. It was then that I made up my mind to go to the place my friend had found help and so my journey began.

I was on the borderline of 40BMI and afraid my insurance would not cover my surgery if I went below 40BMI (which was incorrect information but I was too scared to ask) so in the 3 months that I was preparing for the surgery instead of losing weight I gained a little bit. I tried to follow the guidelines outlined in the workbook – eat 6 times a day but eat less at each meal and start exercising. I was learning so much from all the prep work and the visits with the counselor, Lisa. Then the call to start Atkins came – I was SO excited because I knew that meant the time was near. I went to see my surgeon, Dr Naziri, who is best thing since sliced bread (literally). Surgery was scheduled for Oct 28, 2010. All things considered, my surgery was uneventful with the exception of pain management the first night. After the swallow test the next morning and the liquid medicine was introduced, my recovery got a bit better. The first two weeks I lost 15lbs. I had bought cookies and cream protein shake mixes and was thoroughly sick of it all after a week (I highly recommend vanilla or plain shakes so you can mix something in it to change the flavor). In two weeks "mush" food was introduced into my diet. About 3 ½ weeks after surgery I started having trouble with food getting “caught” in my chest. I began to get sick almost every time I ate. After several phone calls, emails and visits to the doctor we decided to wait it out to see if it corrected itself over time. I developed some patience and went back to phase 1-2 of the diet for a while.

Today it has been almost 6 months and I rarely get sick. I have lost 73lbs and from the time I started Atkins. I feel so much better. I recently flew on a plane and sat in MY seat only and crossed my legs the whole time. It was the most amazing feeling! I am able to sit in my bathtub and shave my legs. I am able to walk great distances and not get winded or hurt. I am still working on "loving" exercise but what I have learned is this is a journey. I have about 40 more lbs I want to lose. All the people who are a part of the WLS Center are amazing. They have been so kind, helpful and supportive. Even though I had some challenges to overcome in the beginning and it hasn’t been “the easy way out” by any means - I would do it all again tomorrow. When I realize that I can do something like tie my shoes with no effort I get so overwhelmed with gratitude and joy, words cannot describe the feeling. I LOVE my life today. At my last doctor’s appt, Dr Naziri said to me "It is amazing how many people’s depression I have seen go away after surgery." This has been the case with me. I am excited about life – MY LIFE today. So many good things are happening to me every day. Each morning I wake up and say "O.K. God – what excitement do you have for me today?" By losing the weight I have more energy for the excitement and journey that God has given me. I am so grateful to Dr Naziri and all the staff at WLS Center for the gift of my new life. Thank you!