My Patients


Personal Stories


before gastric bypass surgeryI spent my whole life overweight. Since my pre-teen years I remember my Mom saying that I needed to lose weight, or to be careful what I ate. And if you are reading this you know how I reacted to that, I would eat more.

I was the healthiest fat patient my doctor ever had (or so he used to say). Every year I dreaded the annual physical when I would have to get on the scales. Each time I would hear “you’re up 10 pounds… 20 pounds, etc.” and so it went. And yet I would still tell myself “I can do everything that my friends do; my weight is not affecting my every day life.”

Soon I found myself going to work earlier so my co-workers would not see me huffing and puffing as I walked across the parking lot. I would have to ride in the rickety old elevator because I could not walk up the one flight of stairs to my office. I would always make sure that I was “busy” when my friends would ask me to go to a theme park or anything that entailed a lot of walking.

After Gastric Bypass Surgery Photo

At 50 years old, 5’4” and 318 pounds I was carrying around the extra weight of a grown man! My knees were ready to give out. One of them already had and my orthopedic surgeon would not do a knee replacement until I lost weight. They always make it sound so easy!

I always wanted to be the “best” of everything, the best employee, the best friend, the best Mom, the best at whatever it was so people would like me. I would agree with everything and even do things for people that were against my personal beliefs so I would be accepted.

      I have seen so many other people with other surgeons that have not done as well as we all have with Dr Ellner.  

In July of 2006 I made “the decision.” I had done extensive research and had been attending Support Group classes with a friend who had Gastric Bypass Surgery (GBS) the year before. At my annual physical appointment I asked my doctor what he thought about the Gastric Bypass Surgery and if he felt that I would be a good candidate. Seventeen days later I had the approval from my insurance company.

Those were the hardest words that I have ever had to say out loud, but that day changed my life forever. I no longer have acid reflux, borderline high blood pressure or any of the other long list of co-morbities that go along with obesity. Oh yea, and no knee replacement! Just taking off the weight has eased the pain and helped me to postpone that surgery. Now when my doctor says I am the healthiest patient he has, he really means it!

after bariatric surgery photos

It is now 2 ½ years later and I have traveled around Europe, gone Zip-lining and rock repelling in Mexico and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. That is saying a lot for someone who had a horrible fear of heights! I would have NEVER been able to do these things at 318 pounds! I am now 180 pounds lighter (if you don’t count the weight of the new diamond ring on my left hand!) and 1000% happier than I have ever been. Yes, I married the man of my dreams and have literally started a whole new life.

All of this has not been “easy”; in fact, it is a very hard journey for those of us with food addictions. I could not have done it without the outstanding follow-up care with Dr. Ellner and her staff. But mostly, I credit the Support Group meetings through Alvarado Hospital and the friends that I have made through this Support Group.

In our Support Group meetings I have learned how to deal with the emotional side of weight loss, and how to accept compliments when people are noticing the “new” me. I have also come to realize that I can do anything I want and my opinion does matter. I don’t have to be a “follower” anymore; I can be a “leader” now and be confident when I stand up for myself and my beliefs. These meetings helped me to put into practice my new eating rules and to know that they will always be a part of my daily life. This is not a 1 year diet; this is a Change of Life!

Any time I need some extra encouragement or have a question, our facilitator (and 16 year GBS patient) Leslie Jester is there for me and will provide all the information that I need. I have made some life-long friends in this Support Group and know that anyone of them would be there for me just like I would be there for them.

So if you are reading this because you are contemplating having Gastric Bypass Surgery all I can say is “Just do it.” Do you research, do your interview with your surgeon and have whichever surgery is right for you. You won’t be sorry at the end of the journey. What are you waiting for?

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