Gastric Bypass Patient Celebrates Three-Year Anniversary
by June Zaragoza, MPH, RD, LD
Mary Pirrello celebrated her one-year-anniversary on December 27th, 2006. I first met Mary when she attended our monthly information session presented by our surgeons. At that time she faced a difficult insurance approval process, but she prevailed, and after over a year of working for it, finally had her surgery right after Christmas in 2005. She said surgery was her Christmas present to herself.
Within 6 months, she lost approximately 50 lbs; and by one year, 100 lbs. She exercises as much as she can, which includes jogging and entering 5K races. She attends school and is planning an archeological dig this summer in Belize.
Mary attends support group regularly, helping to start a clothing swap program and patient web site (weigh-to-go-victory.tripod.com). In group she often mentions how grateful she is that bypass surgery has tamed the beast (her appetite). Before, she was hungry all the time. She describes her experience having weight loss surgery by saying, “My life has been returned to me.”
Two years after her surgery, Mary earned her bachelor's degree. "Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Really hard to make sure I'm not dreaming any of the last year and a half. I'm just grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves through going to school up here and meeting everyone I have since. The surgery is all a part of it too. Body image has a lot to do with confidence level for me. I felt that as long as I looked body image wise out of control, who would take me seriously when I speak about things that matter to me. I wouldn't, so why would anyone else."
Third Year Update:
Mary has maintained her over 100 lb weight loss and adds, "Once you get past the idea that you 're not fat anymore, then you start looking at what you need to do to live your life. The weight was always such as issue. I have to stop that tape from playing in my head. There's no reason I can't do what I want to do."
In the last year Mary has moved, went back to school for her MBA, and is applying for grants for a research project. She projects being done with school by June of 2010 and is looking forward to her 30th high school reunion.
1324 N. Sheridan Road
Waukegan, IL 60085