Life Before and After Bariatric Surgery

Yvonne's Surgical Weight Loss Story

Yvonne after bariatric weight loss surgery

Before surgery, I was tired and my joints ached. I had trouble standing for any period of time, having to shift my weight from side to side just to take the pressure off of my knees. I also had trouble maintaining good personal hygiene and grooming because the weight made it difficult to reach some areas of my body.

I was self-conscious about my size, always folding my arms across my stomach, sort of pulling the weight into itself. I was also self-conscious about riding in other people’s cars—some cars were too small for me to be comfortable, and I knew that my extra weight meant more gas was required for the trip. I was embarrassed to let people hear me struggling to breathe if I walked up even a small incline. I tried every diet out there, but nothing stuck. I even talked myself out of bariatric surgery about six years ago because I was scared.

By October 2009, I felt the worst I’d ever felt. I was just dragging around. My blood sugar was rising, and I knew bigger health issues were right around the corner. I said, “Okay, it’s time. I need help. I can’t do this on my own.” About two weeks later, I read about Gwinnett Medical Center’s new program. I went to the first information session I could get to in early December. After going through all the pre-surgery appointments—nutritionist, psychologist, cardiologist—I became the first patient at the Center for Weight Management on March 25, 2010. CBS filmed part of my surgery, and I started a Facebook page to update the community every month after my surgery.

After the surgery, I felt like a new person. I started working and going to school full-time at Mercer McAfee School of Theology. I had the energy to do both, and I graduated in December 2011.

Now I make food choices based on nutrition instead of stress. I look for opportunities to get up and move. Before surgery, the elevator was my best friend. I love the fact that I can now walk and breathe and talk at the same time. I love to shop. I love not taking medications, and I love not having to sleep with a CPAP machine. I feel like I’m in control.


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