Surgery: Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass - Total Lost: 148 pounds*
"I am so happy that I’ve done this. I did this for myself but, in the end, it’s been the best thing for my family." —Denise
I didn’t think it would affect my family as much as it has, in the positive. To see my children as proud of me as they are has been well worth everything.
Throughout her life, Denise had wrestled with her weight. “As a child, I was always the heavy kid,” she says. “My brothers were the thin ones; I was the heavy one. Everybody in my family was thin. I was kind of the black sheep.” She tried various diets and weight-loss plans, but nothing seemed to work. She would lose perhaps 30 pounds but it didn’t stay off more than a month or two. There was never any loss she could point to as a real success. “I guess I just came to accept it,” Denise says. “I tried to be the jolly, happy one on the outside. But inside, it was very hard.”
As she got older, her weight began to take an increasing toll on her overall health. She had high blood pressure, was pre-diabetic and struggled with asthma. She was always tired and her feet began to ache. “I have teenaged kids, and I was having a hard time keeping up with them,” she says. “I was not enjoying anything. My kids love amusement parks, but I couldn’t get on the rides anymore. I just was not having any fun.”
So Denise began to investigate other options for losing weight. Someone she knew had undergone bariatric surgery, and Denise liked the results she saw in her. “I needed to do something for myself. I felt like I was losing my battle for my life.” Making the decision to have bariatric surgery “is what I needed to do,” she says. Denise had her surgery, a Roux-en-Y, at UCLA in May 2009. Since then, her blood pressure has come down and she no longer takes medication. Her blood sugar has stabilized and her feet don’t hurt. Her asthma has stopped being a significant issue. “I’ve run three 5Ks and I’ve walked a 10K,” she says. “I’m not running from things any more, I’m running for fun. And that’s amazing.” Best of all, she can now keep pace with her energetic children. They have an annual pass to Knott’s Berry Farm, “and it’s a running joke that I can’t use the excuse anymore that I don’t fit on the rides. I have to go on all the scary rides, which I do.”
Denise says she also has become more social. “I was always more quiet. I wanted to be hidden, I didn’t want people to notice me,” she says. “Now, I’m more smiley, more outgoing. I am much more comfortable with myself and have more confidence.” She acknowledges that it’s not always easy to keep up with the regimen that is required after surgery. “I have to take all my vitamins, and I have to keep up with my water, and be careful about what and how much I eat. It is something I have to do every day, and it is a lot of work. But that is okay, it is the choice I made to keep myself healthy.
“I am so happy that I’ve done this,” Denise says. “I did this for myself but, in the end, it’s been the best thing for my family. I didn’t think it would affect my family as much as it has, in the positive. To see my children as proud of me as they are has been well worth everything.”