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"I failed a class because I was too self-conscious to go." continued...

After graduation, I got my first job, and shared an office with someone who'd had gastric bypass surgery. When I met her, I thought, She's beautiful. I could never look like her. But then she told me her story. So I went to an information session where a surgeon explained the three types of weight-loss surgery. Afterward, I felt optimistic. If this worked, I wouldn't ever have to worry about fitting into a seat. I could finally have a normal life.

Next, I was checked out by a cardiologist, a pulmonologist, and a psychiatrist; I also went to nutrition seminars. This gave me time to decide if surgery was what I really wanted. I still wasn't sure. I started a journal of things I hated about being fat — like those looks at the gym that said, "Why are you here?" Finally, I decided surgery was the only way to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off. I chose gastric bypass because with other procedures (like stomach stapling or lap band) I'd still be able to eat sugary, high-fat foods with no consequences. I needed to make a bigger change. But I was scared. I scheduled the appointment, then felt like I was going to throw up. I'd always wanted to be skinny, but to dream it is one thing. To live it is different.

I had my surgery on April 11, 2006. I took some pictures at home, said good-bye to the old me, and walked out the door. Once I got to the hospital, everything happened so fast. The surgery took about two hours. My surgeon stapled across the top of my stomach, creating a small pouch the size of a golf ball. Then he sewed part of my small intestine directly into the pouch. This would redirect food to bypass most of my stomach and enter my small intestine instead. I was in the hospital for two days. When I woke up, I felt like I had done 200 sit-ups, but that was the worst of the pain. Over the next three months, I went from a liquid-only diet to soft food to regular food. I was frustrated at first, but excited and anxious to see results. I thought, I can do this.

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