“I’m only 24. I thought I had time to lose this weight on my own. I figured, ‘I’m young enough, I can probably do it.’ Then I got real with myself and realized I had already been trying for years,” laments Cara H., a young professional in Anchorage.
Cara relates that she had always been “chunkier” growing up and that the weight began packing on in her teens after undergoing cancer treatment. An unfortunate side effect of the treatment was depression, and the cancer medications and antidepressants added to her weight-gain. Cara tried different weight loss plans like Phentermine, Slim Fast and many fad diets – some of them worked temporarily, some didn’t work at all.
“My turning point was when I was told I could not have children of my own if I didn’t change my ways. I’m getting married in a few months and having a family is a huge part of our plans. I want to be there for my husband and future kids,” shares Cara. She recounts the day she went to a fertility specialist and was denied treatment because of her weight, which was 325 pounds at that time. The specialist told her he wouldn’t be able to help her until she lost at least 100 pounds. “I was very angry and emotional at that point, but that was the push I needed to get serious about losing weight. All I ever wanted out of life is to have my own family.”
Cara’s primary care doctor had undergone bariatric surgery a few years ago and recommended Anchorage Bariatrics to her. “I sat down with my fiancé and said, ‘I need a permanent change.’ I don’t need something that’s just good for now,” remembers Cara.
Motivated to make things happen, Cara booked an appointment with Anchorage Bariatrics. She recalls, “I was very nervous and a little bit emotional, but my first visit with Dr. Lee was amazing. He was very informative. Every time I have seen a doctor for weight issues, I always felt like I was in trouble or was being judged. This time, I didn’t feel that at all. It was finally my choice to get help and everyone at Anchorage Bariatrics made me feel comfortable. My fiancé also loved Dr. Lee and thought he was very down-to-earth and personable. Every time I call or go in the office I’m not judged; just helped. That’s a big thing for me because I have a history of feeling like a shadow, like someone who is overlooked because of her physical appearance.”
Post-surgery, Cara describes that it’s like waking up to a whole different atmosphere, almost like she was given a second chance at life. Now at 203 pounds, Cara says she feels great and has “energy like you wouldn’t believe! I come home from work and want to play with my dogs and cook dinner instead of going to the drive-thru and sitting on the couch. I’m excited for warmer weather to get out and explore nature and I’m actually enjoying going to the gym!”
Cara’s health has greatly improved since her surgery. Her polycystic ovarian syndrome has resolved and she is no longer taking medications for other conditions. “I feel great and look great and am excited to lose these last 25 pounds to reach my goal weight,” she says.
A few months after her surgery, Cara unexpectedly had to have her gallbladder removed. “Dr. Lee came to my rescue for that procedure, too! I didn’t even know he did that, but when I was in need, he was there,“ says Cara. “The entire team at Anchorage Bariatrics is just great; they are all there for you. I would recommend them to anyone struggling with obesity. Don’t second guess yourself if you decide to look into bariatric surgery, because your quality of life goes way up even just a month after. I realized during this process that I am stronger than I thought I was. I do matter. My future matters. I wish I had done this sooner.”