“Metamorphosis. I was a chubby caterpillar and now I am a sleek butterfly!” exclaims Karen.
“The scale said 301. I have undergone 11 orthopedic surgeries and was diagnosed with MS. I was in a lot of pain and taking pain medication. I felt sorry for myself,” said Karen. Karen relates that the multiple orthopedic surgeries greatly contributed to her inactivity. When Karen was diagnosed with MS, this got her feeling down and she found comfort in food. Pain medication, limited physical activity, and comfort food was the recipe for Karen’s weight gain.
The weight that Karen gained caused her more pain and, therefore, she took more pain medications. Karen recalls that there was a time when she feared that she was taking too much pain medication. What if one day she just didn’t wake up? She wasn’t ready to die, but the more pain she felt, the more pills she took. She knew it was the weight that was causing her pain and she also knew she had to do something about it.
“I tried Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, liquid protein, and many other weight loss tools. None of them seemed to work and many made me feel like I was depriving myself, which in turn caused me to crave food even more,” shares Karen. “Food was my friend; it was all that I had and I knew I was eating not because I was hungry, but because I was miserable. So, I decided to learn about bariatric surgery.”
Karen had heard about bariatric surgery from her friend who was also an Anchorage Bariatrics patient. She did her homework, read Kristi’s story, and decided to make a call. “From the minute you walk in, everyone is great. They hired the right people. They make you feel welcome – no fat shaming, so understanding, empathetic – with these kinds of people, it all just falls into place,” says Karen.
“When I met Dr. Lee, I loved him right away. He told me to set realistic goals. Dr. Lee said he wasn’t going to be a miracle worker (but it was indeed a miracle!). The staff has been there for me every step of the way. Erika, Dr. Elliott, everyone is amazing. I can’t imagine going with someone else to do this surgery.”
Karen had a Roux En Y gastric bypass surgery and said that the liquid diet was the hardest part. She happily reports that she did not feel pain at all! Now, almost three years after surgery, Karen’s weight is down to 177 from her starting point of 301!
Karen is now able to do things that she didn’t think she could when she was at her heaviest. She no longer lounges in front of the TV and prefers to go out and do physical activities. For Karen, the best thing after her surgery was being able to get a dog. She never got a dog before because she knew she would not be able to take her pup for a walk. Now, Karen frequents the dog park with her fur baby, Freddie. She also goes out to meet new people, something that she would have been too shy to do previously.
“No more blood pressure medications, no more pain medications, and no more CPAP. I feel great!” Karen exclaims. “I learned from undergoing bariatric surgery that I’m worth it, that eating is something you do to survive and not something you do to console yourself, and food is just food and not an obsession.” Karen enjoys being active and is looking forward to the cruise she will soon be taking.
“To anyone who’s thinking about bariatric surgery, I can tell you that at Anchorage Bariatrics, the support you get from the first phone call until today, is amazing!” Karen says. “If I ever call and need to talk, someone will always be there for me. I am so happy that they are growing their business so more people can make the change!”