Nanette shares her weight loss surgery story.

“I have lived in the High Desert for more than 18 years, first in Hesperia and now in Apple Valley where I moved in September, 2010. I love it here, and finally I am healthy enough to enjoy it. I wish my story could center more on something other than my weight, but sadly, my weight has been at the forefront of my life since childhood, well actually since infancy.

Growing up, my mother told me the story of how the hospital nurses enjoyed feeding me because I was the only baby in the nursery who could finish an 8 ounce bottle in one sitting. So there you are, from the beginning I’ve had a big appetite. I was always the biggest child in the room. My first diet attempt came about when I put on a size 20 in high school. I was wearing clothes made for older women and the teasing was unbearable. I joined Overeaters Anonymous and lost 28 pounds. But the group support weakened and I left. As anyone knows who has dieted multiple times, the Yo-Yo effect began. Next I started the Cambridge diet in college, at 220 pounds. I lost 25 but could not stay on the liquid fast for long. I was off the diet and the weight was back on  plus more. Later I worked with a dietitian, whom I met while recovering in the hospital from an emergency hernia surgery- attributed to my obesity. We spoke weekly and discussed my progress on a reduced calorie diet. I was doing well, until the responsibilities of life took center stage. My mother-in-law became very ill and died within 2 months. My husband’s grandmother, who was stricken with Alzheimer’s, moved into our home so I could care for her. The dietitian who had helped me lose 58 pounds left our local hospital to start a family. I thought I could get back on track once things settled down. But that’s the thing about life, it never really settles down- and you stop taking care of yourself. The Yo-Yo continued. I joined Weight Watchers in 2007 when I was diagnosed with diabetes, and lost 45 pounds in six months. For many reasons, I left the program and regained all the weight, plus more. Finally, at the age of 44, I had diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, shortness of breath, sleep apnea, depression and pressure sores. I wore a size 32 and weighed 420 pounds. I was miserable.

I first heard about weight loss surgery in 1999 when Carnie Wilson went public with her personal experience. At the time I read all I could about it but I still wasn’t ready. By 2009 my diabetes medication was not working effectively and my physician wanted to start insulin. I couldn’t bear the thought of daily injections. If I didn’t do something soon, I thought I would die of complications due to my obesity. I have a friend who had the surgery and I had watched her amazing progress over the past year. Her success gave me the courage to consider weight loss surgery and I asked my physician about it. He didn’t seem to know that much about it which explained his hesitancy to refer me to a bariatric surgeon. I think he relented because there was nothing else he could do for me.

At first I wasn’t happy that I had to go to Palmdale, nearly an hour and a half away from my home. But once I met Dr. Yadegar, I was so grateful that he was my surgeon. My husband accompanied me to his support group and new patient seminar one evening. I made a point to speak with his patients. It was wonderful how they all loved and admired him. During his seminar, we could see that he genuinely cared for his patients and for those considering surgery. He spoke to us as people, not as numbers on a scale. By the end of the meeting I knew I wanted to have weight loss surgery, and that Dr. Yadegar was the surgeon to do it.

On January 4, 2010 I had Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass surgery. It all went very well. The nurses encouraged me as I walked around their station the following morning, and they made me feel comfortable during my stay. Although I felt bloated afterwards and had a bit of hip pain, it went away by the time I got home 2 days later. My recovery was delayed by a week when I developed pneumonia. My local physician took care of me but Dr. Yadegar checked in with him and with me every day until I was completely well. He made sure I called him on his personal cell phone if I needed anything.

I haven’t taken a single pill for diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol since the night before my surgery. My blood pressure is now 110/60, my cholesterol is normal, and my physician says he considers me a non-diabetic. I can move again, I can breathe again- I can live again. And maybe I’m finally really living for the very first time.

Now, after losing 175 pounds so far, I can sit in chairs comfortably, and cross my legs. I shop for clothes anywhere I want. I wear shorts and swimsuits. I dance without overheating and I can run. The other day I was chasing my son, and you should have seen his face when he turned around to find me on his heels! My job performance as a Special Education Assistant has improved. Now the kids have to keep up with me when we go to the library. I get together with my supportive girlfriends and I finally have stories to share about all the new and fun things I’m doing in my life. My husband says I am more the girl I was when we met in high school. He says my confidence is back, along with my beautiful smile.

I would absolutely recommend weight loss surgery to those who are struggling- in fact my brother and mother are considering it. Do your research, talk to other patients and find your support system. At first I thought my family would be against my decision, but they supported me completely. I feel like I’m a normal person, who eats normal food, I just don’t eat more than I need. I am so grateful to Dr. Yadegar and his wonderful staff for making the whole process such a good experience.

My only regret? That I didn’t do it sooner.”