Since his date of surgery on April 30, 2000, Andy has lost 383 lbs and says that he feels fantastic! When asked what his opinion of the Program at BCOS, he said that it is "the best of the best.”
I went to an info meeting and met Dr. Marema and his wife about a year before I had surgery. It took me one year to decide that the only choices left to me were to either have the surgery and take my chances or die young.
I’m not sure but by the time I was ready to go ahead with the gastric bypass surgery, I think I was as close to death as anyone could be. I was 705 lbs., could not move without losing my breath, and would fall asleep all the time—especially behind the wheel in my car. Can you imagine that?! I could barely wash myself or take care of my personal needs. Morning, noon, and night—the only thing on my mind was food. Stay home, watch tv and sleep. That is what my life consisted of. Even though my boys never seemed embarrassed or ashamed of me, I wouldn’t go to their school because I didn’t want other kids making fun of them.
Right before I made THE DECISION, I had gotten a pain in my hip. I thought it was nothing, but it would not go away. I got really worried. I thought that maybe my hip was sending me a message and I started to get scared that pretty soon I would have to rely on others to help me...That was unacceptable!!
So I made the decision to go under the knife. I got all of my tests done and even lost 50 lbs. and got down to 650 lbs. I didn’t fit on the regular scale, and having to be weighed on a cargo scale in the back of the hospital was not fun. I was so scared about the surgery. I was sure I was going to die but by then I didn’t care anymore. I figured I’d rather die on the table and have my loved ones know that I at least died trying to do something to help myself than to just die after eating one too many Whoppers…
It has now been a little over a year. I had some problems in the beginning but I pulled through them all and I have lost 383 lbs.! I am so excited, I feel so good, and I am so proud of myself! I mean, yes - I thank Dr. Marema for all he did, but I thank MYSELF! I am my own hero. I also have to thank family and friends who gave me so much support. My Mom was at my house every day to help me in the beginning and still goes with me to every doctor’s appointment (and when she can’t make it, Deborah asks where she is). My friend Darcy took me anywhere I needed to go in the beginning. In fact, she has been to EVERY resource meeting (support group) since my surgery except one. How’s that for a friend? My best friend Fred had to listen to me moan and complain every day when I was in a deep depression over losing the one thing I loved so much...FOOD! He told me it would get better, let me scream, and always gave me such a huge shoulder to cry on. I can never thank these people enough.
My life is so different now. I know I still have some weight to lose and these last pounds won’t be easy, but I am determined! I have a new life with my 2 sons. We do so much together. They just can’t keep up with me! I took them on our first vacation together to Daytona Beach and we had a blast! We went on jet skis and in the ocean and got serious sun burns; and I loved it! They were so happy to have a father again. They are so proud of me. What could be better than that?
The other night I was bored and so were my kids so I got this wild idea: Let’s go bike riding!! Well, we had a blast and ended up getting home 15 miles and 4 hours later. I would have and could have never done anything like that at 650 lbs. I have gone from a size 9X shirt to a large or extra large and from size 78 super stretch jeans to 42/44.
It’s still hard to realize how much weight I have lost. Sometimes if I am at a shopping center looking around, I will see the reflection of someone and it takes me a minute or two to realize that it’s me!! And not just me - The new me: The healthy, happy, roasting-in-the-sun, jet skiing, bike riding me!
If anyone out there ever needs to talk about this surgery, please find me and talk to me! I will talk to anyone about my experience - the good, the bad, and the ugly.