Watch Stephanie's video
Occupation: Former teacher, current student
Procedure: Roux-en-Y, 2009
Surgeon: Michael Nizzi, DO
Pre-surgery weight: 331 pounds
Current weight: 160 pounds
Background: I have been overweight since childhood and lived a limited life for as long as I can remember. Four years ago I started a campaign to lose weight. I lost 112 pounds and have never been prouder. I felt like a rock star. Then my marriage dissolved, I seriously damaged the bones in one foot, and I couldn’t work out. Stress, anxiety, and a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis led to a huge weight gain.
Life before surgery: I was so encased in fat, I could not move. I was paralyzed. I was miserable. I did not want to live anymore. You worry about what chair you’re going to sit on, what clothes you’re going to wear. I couldn’t even shop at Lane Bryant. I couldn’t fit in size 28 pants.
Decision point: I was in a group of women and a friend introduced everyone but skipped right over me. I don’t think it was intentional. People don’t see you when you’re fat. You don’t feel important, or that your words have value. It’s such a prison. You never know when you’re going to get out – 18 months, five years? You are your own prison guard. It’s bad, oh so bad.
Best advice: I keep a list on my phone of 14 things I want to do. My number one thing is I want to ride piggyback, but I’m saving that one for the right person.
Parting thought: Never having had health – this is such a gift. I lost 85 percent of my body fat in 13 months. Yesterday I woke up and thought, ‘Wow, this is really your life! This is the greatest gift ever. I’m beautiful – how did that happen?’ If I can do it, anyone can do it.
After Roux-en-Y Surgery