Weight Loss Surgery, Gastric Bypass

Tami's Weight Loss Journey

Before Gastric Bypass
312 pounds

Surgical weight loss is the best thing that has ever happened to me! I always thought I was overweight; being 6 feet tall you naturally weigh more than most people. Ever since I became pregnant with my first child, now 16years old, I started to eat uncontrollably. Because I was pregnant I thought I had an excuse to overeat. But it didn't stop after I gave birth.

I tried everything: all kinds of diets, diet pills, and Weight Watchers. They would work for a while, but, I either got bored or my body would get used to the product. Then, I would stop losing and start gaining again. I would gain back everything I lost, plus more. I was miserable!

In 2004, I heard about Dr. Raja and the weight loss surgery program at Southwest General Hospital, so my mother and I went to a seminar. I was very interested but scared and worried my insurance wouldn't pay for surgery. My mother's cardiologist told her if she didn't have the surgery, she wouldn't live many more years. That sold her, and she had the surgery shortly afterwards. She had several health problems before surgery: diabetes, congestive heart failure, prior open-heart surgery, knee replacement surgery, and high blood pressure. I knew if I didn't do something about my weight I would suffer the same fate.

After Gastric Bypass
169 pounds

In 2007, I started the bariatric surgery process with Dr. Raja and his staff at the Bridges Center. They were very informative and made sure that I had all the proper tests to prepare me for the surgery. In July, I was given the approval and I had the surgery. I was amazed at how good I felt right away. The staff at Southwest General Hospital was great. They made me feel so special. Before the surgery, I weighed 312 pounds, and wore a size 24. I had high blood pressure and I ached all over. My knees cracked anytime I walked up stairs, and my back ached. I wasn't happy with my life, and I felt I wasn't being a good mother to my children. I was depressed, which caused me to be closed off from the world and I was always tired.

I have now lost 143 pounds, wear a size 8/10 and I am still losing weight. I no longer require blood pressure medication because I no longer have high blood pressure. I never thought I would be able to exercise, but now I am a member of the local gym. I was so amazed at myself when I started running with my kids since I haven't run since junior high. I know that my kids loved me before, but I see such a difference in the way that they treat me. I have so much fun with them now. My son and I wear the same size clothing, so we make sure that when we go shopping, we each approve of the other's selections. We weigh each morning to see how much closer to his weight I am. They are so proud of me, and so am I.

This is the best decision I could have ever made. I just wish that I had made the choice to be healthier and happier a lot sooner. I would recommend this procedure and Dr. Raja to anyone struggling with a weight problem. My life has improved so much. Thanks, Bridges, for my new life!

- Tami Benavente  
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