Bariatric Surgery Patient Stories
Bariatric Surgery Helped Jennifer Lose Over 100 Pounds Despite Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Food was always front and center of our life… it’s how I celebrated, mourned, and relaxed. My weight was always a struggle, but by the time I married, I was 60 pounds heavier than when I met my husband seven years earlier in high school. Less than a year after we married, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The disease makes it extremely difficult for women to lose weight and also drastically affects a woman’s ability to become pregnant. For the next two years, I consumed large doses of fertility drugs each month to try to conceive who we thought would be our only child. When I became pregnant with our daughter, I weighed 208 pounds. At 5 feet and 2 inches tall, I had a very high BMI (body mass index) of 38.1. During the pregnancy, I developed high blood pressure and was put on bed rest at about 30 weeks into the pregnancy.
When I delivered through an emergency cesarean surgery, I weighed 238 with a BMI of 43. While I was able to lose some weight after the pregnancy, I finally joined Weight Watchers, still at a BMI of 39. Over the next couple of years, I battled many health issues. While still dieting, following Weight Watchers, using diet pills, and even trying fad diets, I was still unsuccessful in losing a considerable amount of weight. My blood pressure remained very high, and I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and diabetes, battled severe migraines and suffered from severe depression. My weight had such a negative impact in so many areas in my life, including my marriage and my ability to be a healthy, active mother to my child. At 29 years of age, I was a miserable person, bound by this demon referred to as “FOOD.”
I met Dr. Ronald Clements at UAB through my mother, who had gastric bypass surgery about five years prior. She was very successful and encouraged me to research my options. Once I met with Dr. Clements, God sent me hope again. I was quickly approved for gastric bypass surgery by my insurance company. I had surgery at UAB in March of 2007. While I was very excited to have the surgery, I was nervous because I knew the risks that one takes with such a drastic procedure. My surgery went well except that I did have some internal bleeding while in the hospital.
After several days, I was released and made it fine for several months. Over time, I had trouble swallowing and keeping down all types of food. A procedure was done to stretch my esophagus and to repair a hernia. After having gallbladder surgery several months later, I had absolutely no problems following the new lifestyle of healthy eating and increased activity.
Regardless of the minor complications, I still feel that having gastric bypass surgery was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. A little over one year after my surgery, I had lost more than 100 pounds and was off all five of my previous medications. I was finally proud of the person that I had become. Five years later, I am still happy, healthy, and very active. My daughter is now seven, and I also have a precious little boy who just turned two. I really feel that God granted me a second chance at life. My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary, and we have a beautiful family with so many blessings. I still maintain a healthy weight, but am always conscious of the lifestyle that I must live now. I feel that food will always be a challenge in my life, but I am thankful that God has granted me the opportunity and the tools to overcome obesity.