I constantly felt limited by my weight. With any moderate activity – kayaking, hiking, going to an amusement park, riding on a plane, anything – my first thought was always, ‘how will I be able to manage that?’ Will I fit in the kayak or the airline seat? Am I too heavy for that ride? Will I embarrass myself? Will I embarrass myself? What kind of clothing could I possibly wear that would keep me comfortable in the heat? It was exhausting, mentally and physically. It built up over time until I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Plus, I watched my relatives, many of whom have been overweight most of their lives, dealing with major mobility issues and health problems as they got older, and I felt like I saw my future. I didn’t want that.
At first, weight loss surgery seemed like the “nuclear option” to me. But I’d tried every kind of diet and couldn’t keep the weight off. It finally seemed obvious that I needed a major change to help me make major changes in my life. So I began researching. I did a lot of reading on the options and followed several reputable WLS-related accounts on social media to see what living with WLS looked like. After about six months of research, I felt ready to attend one of the free seminars offered by Alabama Surgical Associates (I’d researched surgeon as well).
The free seminar was extremely helpful, and I appreciated how knowledgeable and straightforward the information was. Dr. Doucette answered my questions afterward as well, and I felt comfortable moving forward with the process. His nurses and staff were extremely kind. I appreciated how clear Dr. Doucette was about expectations and what changes I would need to make in my life for the WLS to do its job. I needed that kind of “tough love” approach. The handouts and rules were all easy to follow. One thing I’ll always remember is that at one point, there were some insurance issues and it looked like my insurance wasn’t going to cover my procedure. The insurance person at AL Surgical Associates worked with me, refiled paperwork, and we waited. On a Friday around 5:15 p.m. she called me and told me the approval had finally come through. She had waited past closing time at her office to hear from my insurance company, and then she called me immediately, rather than keeping me waiting over the weekend. I’d been on pins and needles for weeks. When she called and told me I’d been approved, I was so happy I nearly cried, and she was so happy for me. I’ll never forget her kindness.
I’m training for a marathon! Before my surgery in August 2020, I could not run even half a mile without walking. A few weeks after surgery, I started slowly with jogging/walking intervals because Dr. Doucette said I needed to incorporate exercise in my post-surgery life. And I found I loved running. Who would have thought? So I started building up my miles, and joined a training group. I ran my first half-marathon in November 2021, and I’ve been training to run my first marathon, which is in December 2021. I’m constantly amazed at what my body can accomplish. I do lots of outdoor activities now. I feel so strong. And I also love how I look in photos now. I wear smaller size jeans than I did in high school. I finally feel like my outside matches how I feel on the inside.
– Anna C.