One day in 2012, Dorothy S. was at work when she suddenly passed out, dropping to the floor and nearly hitting her head in what could have been a tragic accident. Thankfully, she was OK and wound up in the emergency room with only minor injuries. While she was there, she was given the news that she had full-blown Type 2 Diabetes, a disease brought on by her weight and unhealthy eating habits. A drop in blood sugar had caused her to pass out, and unless she made some drastic changes, her health was in serious danger.
Dorothy worked in the restaurant industry and was on her feet for eight or more hours per shift. When she would return home, she was exhausted and starving. She knew that her weight was an issue, as she watched the scale creep up to its peak of 247 pounds, but she had no motivation or support to lose it. In fact, her family would criticize her if she went on a diet or tried to exercise. She would lose up to 60 pounds, only to be ridiculed that she was trying to change too much, so defeated, she would go back to her unhealthy habits.
A couple years after the 2012 incident, Dorothy had developed high blood pressure and was experiencing constant leg and back pain. “I felt like it was a death trap, being that heavy,” laments Dorothy. “I was sick of the yo-yo dieting and negative feedback loop I was stuck in, but I didn’t know anything else to do.”
Dorothy took a trip to Washington, DC to visit her son one summer and made the mistake of wearing flip flops while sightseeing all day. “It was hot out and we were walking all over the city. My feet were swollen and hurting but I just kept pushing through. When we finally sat down and I looked at my feet, the tops of them were bleeding because the flip flop straps had cut through my skin. I was so embarrassed and it hurt so badly,” Dorothy remembers. “I realized that my body just couldn’t take the heat and exercise – it was basically telling me that I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. Seeing the scars on my feet are what finally motivated me to reach out to Dr. Clark and change my life.”
Dorothy had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure in April of 2015 with Dr. Clark. “I live over two hours away from Anchorage in the woods, but I sought out the help I needed and it was a life saver. Dr. Clark and his team run an excellent program and support bariatric patients at every stage of the process. I was pleasantly surprised at how much time Dr. Clark spent with me at my initial visits. I’m from a military background so I was used to the rush-rush, but with Anchorage Bariatrics, they take their time to make sure you’re comfortable with everything. Dr. Clark reassured me that my medical issues would be corrected with surgery and he was right! Two years later, I’m down 100 pounds and within 10 pounds of my goal weight, I feel fantastic and am loving life!” proclaims Dorothy.
Life post-surgery has been a bit different for Dorothy. She has moved on to a healthier personal relationship, no longer struggles with food, walks almost five miles per day, goes hunting with her dogs, and wears a size eight. “The change in me is tremendous. I ran into some friends I hadn’t seen in six years and they didn’t even recognize me. I’m bursting with pride and love that I’m getting compliments on my appearance,” Dorothy says.
“Dr. Clark and his team were a godsend. He is a great listener and is there to help you by providing continuing care. Anchorage Bariatrics is always responsive, their monthly support group helps immensely, the staff dietitian is great – they’re all just there for you,” explains Dorothy. “There are so many people that need the help, it breaks my heart because I know how hard it is to get out there and watch what you eat and do the physical activity and that’s not easy in Alaska in winter. But if you can just take that first step, make that phone call to Anchorage Bariatrics, you’ll be on your way to a whole new world. If I can do it, you can do it!”