Artist, Stay-at-Home Mom
“Growing up, I was often bigger than most of my friends. I wasn’t ‘the fat girl,’ but I always felt like I was fighting my weight – but it was a fight that never went anywhere. Things took a turn in my mid-thirties, though, when I went on medication and began treatment for high blood pressure. Everything seemed to be creeping in on me. I knew things needed to change.”
In 2015, when Valerie consulted with Dr. Clark about gastric bypass surgery, her knees and feet were hurting a lot. She weighed 235 pounds, felt exhausted all the time, and struggled to control her appetite. She was concerned that if she didn’t take action soon, she would no longer be able to participate in everyday activities with her family.
From the beginning of her treatment, Dr. Clark’s relaxed and gentle bedside manner proved a contrast to her other experiences at medical appointments. “Because of my high blood pressure, I’ve had several doctors. I’ve always struggled with my weight, so I always felt like a failure when it was time to go see the doctor.”
“Dr. Clark, on the other hand, was uncommonly kind and nonjudgmental every step of the way. Working with him has been life-changing. He is so mellow and accepting and he offers you solid routines for how to adjust to your new life. You never have anything to be ashamed of when you’re in his care. Working with him has brought me huge mental gains and I wouldn’t change this part of my journey for the world.”
Today, at 160 pounds, Valerie enjoys a much more active lifestyle. She loves boxing and running, and her increased stamina helps her tackle local outdoor destinations around Alaska, such as Mt. Baldy. Most significantly, perhaps, is how Valerie now recognizes the person she sees in the mirror. “I feel my outside now matches the mental image of how I have always thought of myself. When I think of myself, this is who I’ve always seen.”