by June Zaragoza, MPH, RD, LD
Margarita doesn’t have to reach back too far to remember what it was like before surgery mostly due to a severe case of sleep apnea. “I was always miserable, sleepy, it was affecting my job. I couldn’t drive anywhere, I would be falling asleep.” Particularly scary was when she had to drive her children. She would grind her teeth to stay awake. When her children heard that noise they would ask if she was okay. She states, “I was always grouchy, yelling at the kids, telling them to leave Mommy alone, she’s tired. My hair was falling out. I had to quit my job. My children were suffering. My daughter had bad grades and would be late for school because I couldn’t get up. She couldn’t go out for recess because she was late.”
Margarita was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2004 and got treatment for weight loss using a prescribed appetite suppressant to lose weight and exercised at a gym. The exercise would give her short-term energy, but she fell asleep again by the time she got out to the car. The machine helped only a little bit. She came to Vista’s free monthly seminar to learn more about weight loss surgery. She said, “I’d never had surgery and was more scared of the gastric bypass.” Also, she wasn’t in a rush to get the weight off, so she chose the Lap-Band.
What is it like now after losing 77 lbs over 16 months? “I’m very energetic. I’m more eager to do things. I do a lot with the kids, the library, mall, zoo, sports. I’m not grouchy. I’m very patient, more happy, more outgoing.” The biggest change has been for the children. She states, “It makes me cry. I was terrible on my kids. They’re happier, we’re all happier. I did it mostly for them, my daughter’s on the honor roll now.” What would she say to someone thinking of surgery? “I would say do it if they’re feeling the way I did. They will be more enthusiastic about everything.”
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