I have always had to watch my weight. As a teenager it was easy for me to gain weight and I would try any new weight loss program that came along. I would lose 10-20 pounds then as soon as I stopped dieting I put the weight right back on. It was a vicious cycle.
When Phen-fen came out on the market my doctor and I thought that this might be the answer to my problem. Little did I know that this would only be the start of more serious health problems caused by taking Phen-fen. In 1997, I began to have chest pains and problems breathing. I later learned that this was because of heart valve damage caused by the Phen-fen. In 2001, my life became more complicated when I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and sleep apnea.
As the pulmonary hypertension slowly worsened I went from requiring oxygen at night and whenever I did housework, to needing oxygen at all times. My oxygen tank was my new companion, limiting were I could go and what I could do. It was then that I realized how much I was missing the simple things in life. My oxygen level continued to increase from 2 liters to 4 liters and was on the way to 5 liters when I contacted Dr. Richards. My main concern was living. I knew if I didn’t do something different soon, I wouldn’t live to see my grandchildren grow up.
After having Dr. Richards perform my gallbladder surgery, which was very successful, I knew that she should be the one to perform my gastric bypass surgery. So on August 15th, 2005, Dr. Richards performed my life changing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for Dr. Richards and her staff. They have helped me so much. Just before Christmas, in 2006, I found out that the symptoms from pulmonary hypertension had gone away and I no longer needed oxygen or c-pap. I am still on medication, but I no longer need the “tank”. I have been given my life back! I can go to the mountains and travel easier. My grandkids don’t have to worry about grandma running out of air. I can live again!
I have lost 85 pounds so far, and I am still working towards my goal. I am happy I chose to have this surgery because now I will be around to see my grandkids grow up.