For as long as I can remember, I have always thought of myself as "fat." I have really grown to dislike that word. Even in college, when I was 155 pounds, I still felt bigger than all of my peers. I have never considered myself attractive because of my weight. Because I felt embarrassed of my size, I knew that I had to be the "best" mom and the "best" wife.
Being kind to others has always come easy to me because it is has been my nature. But I have also taken a lot of hurtful and humiliating comments. On more than one occasion I was asked when my baby was due. My children were four and five years old. How do you answer something like that?
I knew many years ago, after dieting for most of my life, that I was destined to be obese, that's just how it was going to be. I watched my father with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, open heart surgery, diabetes; I could go on and on. I knew after my father passed away that the road he traveled would soon become MY destiny. I had to make a change. I gave one more diet program a chance with minimal success.
My final stop was on the doorstep of Dr. Christina Li's office at Sinai Hospital. I had a friend that had surgery with Dr. Li, and I was amazed when I saw how successful she was at only four months out of surgery. I actually turned my head twice, not recognizing her the first time until I heard her speak.
The point that I wanted to make telling you my story is that making the decision to have bariatric surgery is a personal decision. It most certainly is not the "easy" way out. It takes hard work and dedication to living a healthier lifestyle.
On January 19, 2012 I made that decision. To date, I have lost 43 pounds, and I am feeling more healthy with every day. My choice to have the sleeve gastrectomy did not come from vanity but from the will to live a healthier me. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Christina Li and her staff for their unwavering support of my decision. They were supportive and available every step of the way.
Bariatric surgery should never be your first try at losing weight; the bariatric division at Sinai will tell you that. The surgeons are here to give us the tools to make the changes in our lives. I decided that I wanted to live to see my grandchildren. I wanted to live to be active with my husband as we grew old together.
If you feel you are at a crossroads and desire to live a healthier life, please give Dr. Christina Li or Dr. Cynthia Long a call at 601-WELL. It certainly is not a quick fix, but a slow and steady progression. I have lost 43 pounds and I am amazed. Every day is a new and exciting challenge. I am so ready to take it on!
-Written by Diana Naanaa, LPN, Division of Bariatrics, Sinai Hospital
To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premiere health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.