Name: Lisa Freeman
I had gastric bypass surgery on Sept. 9, 2003, to improve my health and extend my life.
I was morbidly obese, borderline diabetic, had high blood pressure and could not walk up a flight of stairs without running out of breath.
I had so many painful areas of my body; when you are obese and complain of pain, the doctors say "lose weight and the pain will go away." After losing 160 pounds, I still had many of those pains and found myself needing to have surgery on my knee and ankle. Severe damage had been done because of many years of carrying around an extra person.
Not only am I healthier as far as my weight goes, I am healthier because I'm much more active. When I weighed over 300 pounds, I did not want to go out by myself. I wanted to be able to lose myself in a crowd of family and friends if I went out.
Now I go to festivals, car shows and craft fairs almost every weekend and will go by myself if I can't find someone to go with me. I have fun going out now. I used to live to eat, constantly thinking about what my next meal would be and when I could eat it. Now I eat to live; food is the fuel I put in my body so I can live my life. Food is not my life; it does not define my life. My surgery was done by a bariatric surgeon at Bay Area Surgical Specialists at the John Muir Medical Center in Concord. I attend monthly support group meetings with other bariatric surgery patients with whom I have formed strong friendships.
Through the support group, I have been able to get through the deaths of four very close family members since my surgery without gaining any weight. Before surgery, I would have gained 20 pounds easily after each death because of my food addiction and low self-esteem. Gastric bypass surgery gave me back my health, which in turn extended my life. It has not been an easy road to travel for the past 10 years, but it is one I would go down again without hesitation.
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