Natisha - My Story

Gastric Bypass  | 2002

My Life Before Bariatric Surgery

Having been overweight as a child, I always felt out of place. While I was not obese, I was "chubby" and that prevented me from doing a lot of things as a child.

As I became a teenager I learned that my personality could take me places that my weight could not.

I always thought I was a pretty girl, and my weight would not make me think otherwise. My confidence in myself and my abilities was my way of having people see past the weight. 

I was a single mother to a young son and found it very difficult to be as active as I needed to be for him, not to mention that I knew EVENTUALLY I would develop health issues due to the excess weight. I was fortunate not to have developed any of the medical conditions I feared; however, my family history was full of the conditions I was risking by being in the SUPER OBESE category. 

I had made a pledge that I would seek out surgery as soon as I had a job with good insurance.

Making the Decision

At 26 years old, 5'2” and 303 pounds, I knew it was time to make a life change. I was ready and I had a job with insurance, which was a big deal since as a single mother, I did not have the income to even consider paying for such a procedure.

I went to the Bariatric Treatment Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan and everything fell into place. I believe there was an initial denial due to lack of medical documentation; however, that was resolved quickly and we scheduled surgery.

I was ready to start this new chapter in my life.

My Barix Experience

I drove myself to Ypsilanti to check in for surgery. I was leaving my 5 year old son in the care of my mother, risking that I might not see him again.

The staff was exceptional. It helped that many of them were former patients themselves and had been through the process.

I can tell you that the gentleman (whose name I do not remember) who did my initial intake said something to me that has stuck with me to this day. Upon entering his office, I immediately noticed a picture on his desk, which was him, obviously MUCH heavier. I remember commenting on the photo and asking, "How much have you lost?" His response to me was, "Let me tell you what I have gained." That comment has helped to shape my journey and is something I think about daily.

He was right; initially the focus is on the weight you lose. However, the long-term focus is on what you gain back in your life as a result of the weight loss. It’s a great perspective and a profound, life-changing statement.

How My Life Has Changed

My life has taken on a whole new direction, personally and professionally. I am 8+ years post-op and have maintained my weight, even after having another child. I am about 15 lbs from what my lowest weight was--some of that weight I like to attribute to my breast augmentation.

I am active with my children and just busy, period. Life is too short and I intend to make use of every minute. I just married two weeks ago and could not be happier.

I often speak to people about my experience and how this procedure can provide them with the TOOLS to change their lives. I share my story and photos, which I still carry as a reminder. It is a way of helping me stay on track and a way to remember how far I have come. It makes me more accountable. I will talk to strangers without hesitation because I wish someone would have talked to me. For that reason I will always share my story with the new people I encounter.

It is hard to believe, when I look at the pictures, how heavy I really was. While I will never have the perfect body, I can tell you that I look pretty darn good! I am proud of the decision I made and would do it 1,000 times over. I am 35 years old and I am LOVING life!

I am grateful for my health, my life and my ability to live life to the fullest.

To Those Considering Bariatric Surgery

Realizing that this is a lifestyle change is key. Telling yourself that you cannot have sugar and fatty foods, and sticking to it, is imperative.

Surround yourself with a support system that can help move you along in your journey.

Realize that YOU are in control of your weight, what you put in your mouth, and your overall well-being.

A good attitude is key. You did not gain the weight overnight and you certainly won't lose it overnight. Celebrate the milestones, wear clothes that FIT and that are not baggy. Enjoy the slimming-down process and vow never to go back to that weight again. 

Be REALISTIC. We have abused our bodies with the excess weight, and while there are things that can be fixed, there will always be something that you won't like. That's life. However, consider which is worse: carrying the weight, or not liking how your arms look?? Not really a comparison. :)

Teach your children and other family-at-risk your new habits; educate others so that they never have to endure the stigma of being obese. DO IT! If you are considering it, DO IT. It will change your life. 

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