“As a child, I was the kid who preferred to walk to my friends homes instead of getting a ride. My favorite vacations were camping so I could go on long hikes with my father. I took ballet, ice-skating lessons, and loved rollerblading. Before I had children I enjoyed working out at the gym. But family life gets very busy, quickly. Thus began my 14 years of weight struggle.

While pregnant with my first child, I gained 60 pounds. Pregnancy weight increased with my next two children. My husband’s job is demanding and I often found myself alone to take care of the children, doctors appointments, school schedules, home management, errands, pets and everything else. By the end of each day my house was turned upside down and I was exhausted. I had no energy to workout or even make time to relax. But then came an opportunity to be closer to family and get some much-needed help with my busy life. My husband, Sean, was offered a new position and we jumped at the chance to move to Colorado. We had been living in California without any help for far too long. Unfortunately our rocky mountain life was short lived. After only eleven months my husband’s company no longer needed his services and we had nowhere else to go but back to California where he could find employment. I was devastated that I had to leave family again. I became severely depressed and began eating to mask the hurt.

By this point, I had already been dieting on and off since the birth of my first child. I tried physician-supervised diets and diet pills, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Lindora, Hydroxycut, detox diets and liquid diets. After a month or so, I would lose 10 pounds and then regain the 10 plus 5 more. It became more difficult to take care of my busy family and our home. Usually by lunchtime I was completely out of energy. I developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, borderline diabetes, depression, anxiety, plantar fasciitis, back and hip pain. I was on multiple medications. I spoke with my doctor about my weight struggles, and he told me to eat healthier and exercise.

By 2010 I realized I was extremely depressed. As a result I stopped taking my children to the park, I wouldn’t play with them outside, and I never wanted to get dressed to go out because I really didn’t want to be around anyone. At one point we did go to Disneyland, but I had to take a lot of Ibuprofen just so my feet and back wouldn’t hurt. However, I still couldn’t run around and play with my children. It was terrible.

As my life was getting more difficult, I was witnessing the dramatic improvements in the life of someone I cared about. My mother-in-law had weight loss surgery in 2008. She was healthier, happier and getting out more to enjoy life. She inspired a family friend to also pursue weight loss surgery. I saw this friend resolve her medical issues and she no longer needed a cane to get around. They showed me there was a solution to this obesity nightmare.

I researched weight loss surgery for about six months before I made a visit to discuss it with my doctor. He was on board with my decision. I met with Dr. John Yadegar a short time later. I felt he understood my struggles with weight, my concerns, and that I wanted a healthier life for myself. He cared how I was feeling. As I started the pre-surgery process I became so excited that my future would be more active for my kids and myself. I couldn’t wait to get a bike! I had concerns about how my new eating would affect my family, so I went to support groups offered through my health plan and Dr. Yadegar to talk with other people who had been down this road.

Although some of my family and friends had reservations about weight loss surgery, they never told me what to do. Instead, they respected my decision and asked how they could help me. I am grateful for the support they’ve given me. If anyone chose not to support me, then I just didn’t share information about the surgical process.

At first I was strongly against surgery. I believed that learning how to eat the right things was better for her or anyone considering surgery. Jessica was so strong in her conviction that surgery was what she wanted, so I attended doctor’s meetings and classes with her and learned all the details. I became understanding and excited for her. I was there with her when she went in for surgery and when she came out. I watched her go through the healing. I am very proud of how she has handled this and kept it off. She looks wonderful and has gotten off her medications.

I was concerned that Jessica wanted to use surgery to lose weight. I believed that she could of lost her weight through healthier eating and exercise. However skeptical I was about the surgery, I tried to keep an open mind because she was very determined to make the surgery work. I admired her spirit and determination to go after what she wanted regardless of what others thought. When Jessica went into the hospital I took care of her girls.

In June, 2011, I had gastric bypass surgery with Dr. John Yadegar. Even though I had already given birth to 3 children, the surgery was still painful. But my nurses at Palmdale Regional Medical Center were awesome! They gently encouraged me to keep walking. I remember being so nervous when it was time to leave the hospital and my caring nurses, but it was time to take care of myself.

My first two weeks at home after surgery were challenging. The smell of food made me feel unwell and I was extremely tired. I also remember feeling a little alone with my new re-routed system, that I was different from the rest of my family. But before I knew it I was back to my busy schedule. I experienced dumping pain at about 3 months post-op when I added a banana to my peanut butter protein shake. By 7 months post-op, my blood pressure was normal and I was off the medication. At 8 months, my cholesterol was normal and I was no longer pre-diabetic. I am ecstatic that I am off all medications.

My healthier eating habits have influenced my children to make better choices. I’ve also had family and friends ask me about surgery because they’re interested in doing it themselves. It feels good to inspire people. Without foot, back and hip pain, I’m enjoying walking, bike riding and soccer again. I have my confidence back. I feel beautiful. I know I must be a more joyful person to be around.

For people who’ve had a difficult time losing weight and keeping it off, especially if they have medical issues, I definitely recommend weight loss surgery. It’s a phenomenal tool that, when used correctly, can resolve medical issues and give you back your life. I am so proud of myself for sticking with the program and keeping the weight off for nearly 3 years. To keep on track, I weigh myself every Monday because that’s the day of the week I restarted my life. It’s a good reminder.

This year for Mother’s Day my children gave me the best gift ever, their pure joy and happiness upon seeing their mom ride a bike. The sunshine, the feeling of the wind and my kid happy faces. Yes, I’m living my life again.”

Jessica’s Plastic Surgery Story

“Two years after my weight loss surgery, Dr. Yadegar gave me the okay to pursue plastic surgery. Truthfully, I had wanted a tummy tuck since the birth of my oldest child. To find the right plastic surgeon for me, I spoke with doctors, friends, acquaintances and did plenty of Google research. One day, I saw on Dr. Yadegar’s facebook page that he was partnering with Dr. Ron Hazani to provide plastic surgery for his patients. I love Dr. Yadegar and thought if he respects and trusts this surgeon then that’s enough for me. When I met Dr. Hazani I knew he was the one to take me on this plastic surgery journey. He pointed things out that I hadn’t even considered, and helped me to feel taken care of and safe.

I lost 90 pounds after my weight loss surgery. Add that to 3 pregnancies and I had a flabby tummy. I wanted that skin off desperately. I chose to have the tummy tuck with liposuction. The pre-operative process was simple, a chest x-ray, EKG and labs.

I had my tummy tuck in February, 2014 at Palmdale Regional Medical Center. Dr. Ron Hazani did a tremendous job and Dr. John Yadegar checked on me to make sure I was doing well. I am so pleased. My tummy looks beautiful and I’m impressed with how nice the scar looks. The results have given me even more confidence than I had after my 90-pound weight loss. This surgery has made a difference in how I look at myself. I feel so much better in my clothes. I didn’t realize how much I missed this feeling.

I recommend plastic surgery to those who have lost a large amount of weight and want to feel better in their own skin. It’s made an incredible difference in my life.”