Weight Loss Surgery, Gastric Bypass

Kaitlyn's Weight Loss Journey

Before Gastric Bypass
222 pounds
After Gastric
143 pounds

I had a Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass when I was 16 years old. I did not start to get "chubby" until I was in kindergarten and at that time it was not a big issue. By the time I was in second grade, I was bigger than most of the kids in my class.

I had really bad asthma and allergies. I ate frequently to settle my stomach after taking so many steroids. I finally had my adenoids taken out and that helped some, but the eating patterns had already been established. I ate when I was bored, happy, sad, or just about for any reason you could think of. Most of the time I did not know that I was eating. My parents were getting concerned about my weight and finally took action when I was in Junior High.

They brought me to a counselor in hopes of findi ng the underlying cause of my weight problem. The counselor was able to help me a lot, but I still could not shed the weight not matter what diet I tried.

My dad is a health care professional and has referred many people for weight loss surgery. He suggested that I research it on the Internet to see what I thought. I talked it over with my counselor and decided to see my primary care physician for a referral. Dr. Raja was 1 of only 2 surgeons in the area that would operate on a 16 year old. The other doctors wanted me to be 18 or even 21. Who knows how much I would have weighed if I waited to have surgery.

The first meeting we attended was an informational meeting at the hospital about the Bridges program and the procedures Dr. Raja performs. I was by far the youngest person there. When I heard Dr. Raja say I could lose 14 years of my life due to my high BMI, I was frightened. My parents and I talked about surgery on the way home to Central Texas, and I decided to take the first step and attended my initial consultation in March 2007. Dr. Raja was very kind but very straightforward. He told me exactly what I needed to accomplish before the surgery. I completed all the preoperative tests and had gastric bypass surgery on July 10, 2007. My parents and best friend were my support through the whole process. Surgery went great, I had no complications, I was released from the hospital the next afternoon, and went shopping that evening.

Before the surgery I was pre-diabetic, had sleep apnea, bad asthma, thyroid problems and did not eat healthy or exercise. Now most of my medical problems are gone except for seasonal asthma. I exercise everyday and ran my first marathon in April in Austin and got 3rd place! The only drawback from the surgery has been that I have received many threats and nasty remarks from some of my old "friends" because of my weight loss. I still have my best friend who has always been my friend no matter how much I weighed but I had to learn the hard way that some high school girls can be very jealous and hurtful. Both my older brothers were overseas when I had surgery and neither one recognized me when we went to pick them up from the airport. I am finally the person that I knew I could be. Neither my parents, nor Dr. Raja forced me to have surgery. They helped me make the decision for myself that is going to positively affect the rest of my life. I am not sure what life has in store for me as a thinner person, but I can't wait to run more marathons.

- Kaitlynn Yarbrough  
 Back to Patient Stories