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Personal Stories

Jody - San Diego, CA

Jody Gastric Bypass SurgeryMy name is Jody and I had laparoscopic RNY gastric bypass in January 2006 with Dr. Ellner. I had not been heavy all my life prior to this surgery, I would say that I began gaining weight when I turned 16. Becoming a teenager with a car allowed me free choice of all the fast food I wanted, it also meant I was no longer the kid taking the bus and walking all that way to my friends houses. As I entered high school and got my car I began gaining, I had a pattern of weight gain that put me at 280 pounds by the time I turned 27.

I have never been a shy person, I was always the life of every party. I knew I was overweight but since I did not have trouble making friends I never thought it was a real issue. I told myself that being over weight was just in my blood and I was perfectly happy that way! The day I realized that I needed to do something about my weight was the day I had to have a routine nose surgery for chronic sinus infections. I was put under for the surgery and my blood pressure shot sky high, the surgeon told my Parents I needed to get my weight under control fast. The following week I was put on high blood pressure medication at 27 years of age. As the next year came I added medication for swelling and pitting in my legs and feet. By the end of that very year I had a list of co-morbidity's that included asthma, arthritis, acid reflux, chronic bronchitis, infertility, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the swelling in my legs. I was on the verge of diabetes. I had plenty of red flags by then but the thought of weight loss surgery terrified me.

Aside from all those health issues I was also just a shell of a person. I spent my whole life up to that point dieting and even as a young teen I was always very aware of my obesity and because of it, I missed out on a lot of life! My weight held me back in my personal life and also hindered me in college and in job opportunities. I was afraid to make eye contact, I felt no real confidence and the constant fear of rejection because of my weight was something that was very real to me.

Jody After Gastric Bypass Surgery

In early 2006, I was at a theme park with friends and during the course of the day I was kicked off 3 rides while my friends and everyone else in those long lines watched. I had never been so humiliated in all my life! My parents had brought the idea of gastric bypass to my attention prior to the visit to the theme park but I was still in denial and felt it was too extreme. I went home that day realizing that my life was in shambles and I needed to review all my options, including bariatric surgery! I called Dr. Ellner's office and got the ball rolling. In the meantime, I was told to go to her education lecture. From the moment I sat through Dr. Ellner's lecture I knew that this was the answer I needed. I was in serious trouble and my health issues were snowballing on me. I went through the motions and got my testing done and before I knew it, I was post op! The surgery and Dr. Ellner saved my life!

I am currently four months out of gastric bypass surgery and my life has changed in ways I never thought possible. I always thought I was an outgoing person when I was heavy but you should see me now! I have a smile on my face that is certainly permanent and I am finally able to be the person who has hidden inside of me for so long. I find moments in every single day that are still so shocking, I call these my magic moments. Magic moments are those times when you realize you can do something that you never could before, moments like being able to reach the floor board of a car while wearing a seat belt or crossing your legs for the first time and not even realizing it until you look down and see it. There are so many magic moments that I could list hundreds, the physical changes alone would take days! However, aside from the fun things a smaller body can do I am still amazed at the things this surgery has done for me emotionally. I am more positive, I make better eye contact, I am not afraid to meet new people because of what they may think about me, I am no longer shocked to see that big person in a store window, but most importantly for me I like myself! I have found a new lease on life and I am running as fast as I can to reach new heights. This surgery has set me free and given me the tool I needed to overcome obesity and my addiction with food and over eating.

Update:5 Years Post-Op!

Jody 5 years After Bypass Surgery

I had a wonderful thing happen! After years of unsuccessful attempts before surgery, I became pregnant one year after my gastric bypass! My husband Nick and I got the great news and I called Dr. Ellner immediately, who was thrilled! My pregnancy went smoothly to full term. I welcomed my first son Joshua into the world in 2007 and amazingly, in 2009 we also welcomed our second post op baby, Jonathan! My children are both healthy and I was able to lose the baby weight in record time because of the inner tool I have for life!

I am now five years post op and I am still maintaining my goal weight even after two babies! This surgery has set me free and has given me my life back! I am no longer the shell of a person I used to be. I am alive, healthy and blessed beyond belief to have the family I never would have had if I hadn't gone through with the surgery! Dr. Ellner is truly a gifted surgeon but she's also the most compassionate and dedicated surgeon I have ever met. She has been with me in this process for five years now. When I have questions, concerns or just want to say hello I am glad to say that she is not only here for me as my surgeon but also as my friend. Her practice is amazing and the team at Alvarado is truly a well oiled machine. I needed a permanent solution to a life long disease and because of Dr. Ellner and the staff at Alvarado I am a new me, with two beautiful children! My only regret is that I didn't have the surgery years earlier!

Some might say weight loss surgery is the "easy way out" but I beg to differ. This choice I have made, and this choice you are now investigating is not the easy way out. It's the only way out. I am not only healthy and off of all of my medications, but I have two beautiful children, so I no longer think about what I have lost, I think about what I have gained! A normal body size, a happy heart, the family I have always dreamt of and a tool I have for life to help me fight a disease that was killing me slowly. I congratulate you for researching weight loss surgery, I recommend Dr. Ellner above any other surgeon in the world.

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