My Patients


Personal Stories


Wanda Before Gastric Bypass
Disney Before Gastric Bypass

I spent my entire life, over 34 years, firmly planted in obesity.

I remember visits to the pediatrician as a child that always resulted in the same prescription… that I had to lose weight. But nothing I ever did, from basketball to dance to dieting, ever made a difference in my size. In fact, as puberty surged forward, I just got bigger and bigger.

When the college years hit, I thought that weight loss clubs and supplements would be the magic formula to help me become the incredible shrinking woman, instead of the incredible inflating one. But still, no luck.

A few years after college, I even tried long-term, immersive weight loss camps, where I would spend up to 8 grueling weeks at a time exercising for 5 hours a day and eating specially prepared low calorie meals. And still, my weight loss was very minimal.

After gastric bypass surgery
Disney After Gastric Bypass
(I'm the one in the blue shirt!)

By that point, I was 26 and ready to essentially resign myself to this chronic disease of obesity. To be fat and try to be happy about it. It was en trende to be “curvy”. I mean, fashion designers were beginning to come around and actually create cute clothes for plus-size women, so I’d be fine, right?

But then things changed and my life wasn’t just about me anymore. I met and married the man of my dreams, my unconditional support system. My rock. And together we had a beautiful little girl. A precious person more special to me than I could have ever imagined anyone being. As a mother and a wife, I was determined to fix myself. So, it was back to the gym, back to the supplements, back to the weight loss camps, back to the diets. But to no avail. So I put all the focus on my wonderful little family and focused on caring and loving them. So what if I was fat. I was alive and could put all my attention towards my husband and daughter. And that’s what I did for several years, until tragedy struck.

before gastric bypass surgery
Wanda Before Gastric Bypass

In 2014, after only 59 short years on this earth, my father passed away suddenly. He himself had been obese and was also battling lupus as well. But he should have had more time. While mourning the loss of my father, my body began to show its own signs of deterioration. My knees began to literally buckle under my weight and had to be surgically repaired. My menstrual cycle went haywire and I was bleeding all the time. And I had been diagnosed with diabetes. In addition, at only 5’4”, I’d hit my highest weight - 248 lbs. I was facing my mortality and beginning to realize I could not take time or life for granted. These were drastic times. So it was time for drastic measures.

I investigated several resources for surgical weight loss, but none stood out to me more than Dr. Ellner’s practice. After attending one of her seminars and meeting with her in person for a consult, I became confident in even more than her knowledgeability. I became confident in her true support, kindness, partnership and commitment to me as her patient. The prospect of surgery is always worrisome, but so was struggling to survive each day under the status quo. For the first time in my life, I began to have hope that I could actually attain health. So, with Dr. Ellner’s guidance, we determined that Gastric Bypass was the right procedure for me and I underwent surgery in 2015.

Wanda Post Gastric Bypass Surgery
Wanda After Gastric Bypass

Now, looking back a year later and 140 lbs. lighter (yes, you read that right), I barely recognize the woman I used to be. I have energy and strength like I’ve never experienced. My diabetes is gone. My cycle is normalizing. My knees no longer ache as much. And I actually have a healthy BMI! And for the first time, my daughter can wrap her arms around me when she hugs me. There’s no bigger win than that.

Don’t get me wrong, getting to this point was absolutely a challenge and I did struggle along the way over the last 12 months. I also still have some more time before my weight stabilizes. But I could not be happier that I had the surgery, or more grateful to Dr. Ellner for her support and friendship on this journey. Thanks to her, I’ll be around for a long time.


For those also considering weight loss surgery, feel free to contact me with your questions. Or better yet, come to one of the monthly support group meetings where you can meet others in various stages of their weight loss journeys.