Majority of my life I was thin. As a teenager, I was a cheerleader, dancer, & a gymnast. I started to gain weight when I had several major life changes in a short period of time. I started teaching in August of 2000. Teaching is a very stressful job and there always seemed to be candy or junk food somewhere in the school. In my second year of teaching, my brother-in-law was killed in a car wreck. I spent many hours under tremendous stress worrying over my only sister and her nine year old son. Of course, I ate to deal with the stress. The next year, I got pregnant for my first child, who is now almost eight years old. By this point, my weight was out of control. I weighed 235 lbs when my son was born, which is a lot of weight to carry on a 5’4” frame. He was such a joy, but like most mothers, my whole focus was on him. My needs were placed on the back burner.
During the next several years I tried the typical weight loss programs; Weight Watchers, LA Weight Loss, Atkins, Sugar Busters, etc. I was even chosen to be on a local edition of The Biggest Loser. I had a personal trainer and dietitian for 11 weeks. Of course, I lost weight. I ended the competition at 199 pounds. Eventually, reality kicked back in and I started to gain the weight back. I was tired of the roller coaster, so I decided to have Lap Band surgery. Unfortunately, I did NOT use Dr. Marvin for this surgery. I was only able to lose about 25 pounds in two years.
I was miserable. I felt like I didn’t fit in my world or our society. I was only 35 years old and was almost completely anti-social. I would dread going to the grocery store for fear that I would see someone that I grew up with. I just knew that they would walk away thinking “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe Heather got so fat!” I was very nervous to even consider having gastric by-pass because my Lap Band surgery was so unsuccessful.
I reached my breaking point around January 2010. I am from south Louisiana, so my husband and I are very involved in the Mardi Gras season. We are in a Mardi Gras krewe and so are most of our friends. I spent several days helping all my friends find formal dresses to wear to the various balls, while I sat there and tried to figure out what “tent” I was going to wear. I began to research doctors that were reputable weight loss surgeons. I found Dr. Marvin’s information online and contacted his office. His staff was WONDERFUL. They answered so many questions I had and put all of my concerns to rest.
Many of my friends and family members were very concerned about my decision to have another weight loss surgery. They would tell me things like “you have lost weight before”. And yes, I had, but I could not make them understand that losing 30 or 40 pounds and then gaining it back was like trying to climb up a mountain and only getting a little ways up, then sliding right back down. I would constantly climb part of the way up and slide back down again. I knew I could not conquer the entire “mountain” without some real help.
Because I had a Lap Band, Dr. Marvin was very cautious and ran many tests prior to the surgery to be sure there were no digestive problems caused by the Lap Band. After I started the process, I was informed that my insurance was going to discontinue covering weight loss surgery on May 1, 2010. Dr. Marvin was so helpful. He quickly ran all of my tests, blood work, etc, so that I was able to have the surgery on April 26, 2010.
After surgery, he and the staff were very supportive & informative so that I knew exactly what to do (and not do) each step of the way. I recovered quickly and was back at work within two weeks. As I approach my one year surgery anniversary, I have lost a little over 80 pounds. I have never been sick and never regretted my decision to have the surgery.
Many obese people have high blood pressure and are diabetic (or nearly diabetic). I was fortunate to not have either of those issues prior to my surgery. My transformation has affected my emotional state more than anything else. I feel like I have found myself again. I always felt like I was trapped in that huge body. During the summer I was involved in everything that my friends and family were doing. I was tubing on the river, shopping, and smiling more than I had in years. I went on a cruise at the end of July. I actually got in front of a crowd for the first time and sang karaoke! I never would have done that before my weight loss for fear that people were judging me for being so large. The most amazing thing is that I am able to look in the mirror every day and actually recognize myself. I feel so much more confident and so much more like my “true self”. Now my regrets are down to two: not finding Dr. Marvin for my first surgical procedure and waiting too long to have gastric by-pass.