Weight Management Center

Patient Stories

Deborah Pope

Deborah Pope

Orefield • Lost 154 pounds
Gastric Bypass Surgery

I was never the “thin” girl. I was always a little chunky during my high school years, but it never affected my life negatively. When I was in my early 30s, I was at a weight of about 150 lbs. and was steady there for years. Over the years, I began to put weight on and would diet and lose and then stop dieting and gain it all back plus more. I stopped allowing the doctor’s office to weigh me and I literally threw my scale away. I was wearing elastic waist pants and 3x shirts were getting tight on me. I knew I was heavy, but I never really worried about it since I was unconsciously adjusting my life around the weight.

One day, that changed. I was at Hershey Park with my family, friends and co-workers and I went to ride one of the rollercoasters with my niece, but the attendant couldn’t pull the bar down because I was too big, so they asked me to get off. Humiliation is not near strong enough a word to describe the feeling I had that day. That was a Sunday. On Monday morning, I made the phone call to St. Luke’s to schedule my seminar appointment. I started to do the research on the surgery and what my life would be like after I had my stomach “stapled.” My main fear prior to surgery was not being able to keep the weight off and that I would fail at what was, in my mind, my last chance to get to a healthy weight. Ten months after my surgery, I hit my goal weight and maintained it ever since.

It was and still can be a daily challenge to be mindful of my eating, but it has become such a part of my daily life and thanks to the amazing staff at St. Luke’s and the unbelievable support from my “bari buddies” through Facebook, I’m finally able to say that I have been successful at keeping the weight off.

Surgery has changed everything about my life. I never felt like the weight affected me because I would make excuses why I wouldn’t or couldn’t do something. Now I do what I WANT. My boyfriend and I have a puppy and we take him with us when we hike the mountains. I can walk him for as long as it takes to tire him out. I am back to swimming, amusement parks, vacations and all of the things that I love to do with my family and friends – it’s like being given a second chance at life.

Before having surgery, it’s important to be informed and mentally prepared for the life changes you need to make. Having surgery is the easy part. The doctor does the procedure while you sleep, but when you wake up, you have to be prepared to do the hard work. I know many people who have surgeries at other hospitals and have watched them flounder because they don’t have the support it takes to be successful. St. Luke’s has always been there for me. The entire team at the Weight Management Center gave me ME back and there are no words that will ever fully express just how grateful I am.

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