The Little Black Dress: Reaching My Goal After Bariatric Surgery

The month of May was a great month. My son graduated from high school with many honors. I was very proud! I wanted so badly to wear "that little black dress". I bought this particular little black dress six years ago. It didn't fit at the time, but the price was right. I was just drawn to this dress.

At that time, I was wearing a size 24/26, and this dress was an 18. We were taking a family trip to the Rivera Maya and I was determined that I would wear that dress while we were there. It didn't happen! Every time I opened that closet I would see that dress and vow that one day I would wear it! The night before my son graduated, I opened the closet; put that dress on...and it zipped! I was so happy!

My husband, who is my biggest support, understood the teary eyes and he just smiled at me. His love and support during my journey has been amazing. That is one very important part of the Bariatric process…support! Whether it is your spouse, best friend or even a family physician, support is a key ingredient in this process.

My sixth month post surgery date was on July 19, 2012. My goal was to weight less than 200 pounds. It didn't happen; I had four more pounds to go. On July 28 I came into work with the feeling that I had lost those four pounds. I stepped on the scale and refused to look at the number. My weight ticket printed and I handed it to my co-worker. I asked her to just shake her head yes or no. Yes, meaning I was less than 200 lbs of course. She looked at the ticket; she looked at the ticket and SHE LOOKED AT THE TICKET! The anticipation was killing me. She smiled and shook her head yes...YES...YES! My weight was 199 pounds. That was a really good day!

The last time I was less than 200 pounds was 26 years ago. I have lived morbidly obese for the majority of my adult life. I still have more weight to lose but I am even more determined. I have lost 74 pounds since my weight loss journey began. I am doing it, and doing it right!

Eating right and exercising regularly are crucial. Let me be honest about exercise, it has never been my friend. It was harder thinking of excuses why I couldn’t actually exercise than just doing it! Yeah, my knees did hurt in the beginning, but I found that with each pound I lost the pain decreased. I found with each pound I lost, the steps weren’t some sort of ancient torture meant to inflict pain. Walking up and down the steps like everyone else still makes me smile. The number on the scale is a visual way to let us know what our weight is, but the clothes that I can no longer wear and the ease of just walking up a small hill, serves as a reminder to appreciate where I came from and where I am headed.

This weight loss journey has been just that, a journey. From your first visit with the doctor and the dietician you have become part of our Bariatric family forever. Several months before surgery I began to make the changes that have enabled my life to change. Words alone cannot express my gratitude for the staff of the Bariatric Division at Sinai. It really was the best decision I have ever made regarding my health. My left knee is bone on bone. It has caused me stiffness and pain for at least the last 15 years. Last year I saw an orthopedic doctor who said that if I was twenty years older he would recommend a knee replacement. My left knee no longer hurts. I feel like that is a reward for losing 74 pounds.

I am grateful to work with two of the BEST bariatric surgeons around. Dr. Christina Li and Dr. Cynthia Long truly have an understanding of the day to day struggles we encounter being obese. I would highly recommend the bariatric program here at Sinai. I was given an amazing gift on January 19 - the gift to live a healthier me! The surgery was the tool, the dietician, Melissa Majumdar, was my cheerleader, and the staff have been part of my support system since day one.

Almost one year ago I started my journey. At my first visit with Dr. Li, I weighed in at 273 pounds. I am very grateful to the doctors and for the entire staff. But my greatest thank you is to my family. My husband and my sons have been supportive and loving throughout this entire process. If I can do it, I know YOU can do it!

-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 premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

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