To avoid stares from strangers, talking to people, or bumping into others while trying to get to her seat, Melissa Silvis, 33, would always arrive early to the movie theater.
At 513 pounds, she plainly wanted to avoid interaction altogether.
A Life Changing Solution
As Melissa watched her friend’s success after gastric bypass surgery, she was motivated to find out about surgical weight loss options.
After attending multiple support groups and losing 60 pounds over a 10-month period, she was prepared for her own gastric bypass surgery at UPMC Hamot in January 2011.
Prior to surgery, she was diagnosed with diabetes and suffered daily from the physical pain of carrying excess weight. She regularly took seven to eight prescription medications every day.
However, within a year after surgery, she lost nearly 230 pounds and her body changed, both inside and out. She was able to decrease her medications by more than half.
An Exciting Surprise
In addition to these positive effects, she was taken by surprise when she became pregnant.
Obesity can make it difficult for some women to conceive. It is usually recommended to wait 18 to 24 months after bariatric surgery until weight stabilizes before becoming pregnant.
Melissa’s pregnancy came as a complete and happy surprise.
“I wasn’t actively trying to get pregnant, and didn’t think I could conceive. I thought I’d have to give up on the chance of having a child.”
Even her pregnancy did not decrease her newfound energy. She was able to walk around her neighborhood and go up a flight of stairs without needing to rest. She stuck with her routine of going to the gym three times a week.
Winning Her Battle
Melissa no longer worries about the possibility of strangers staring at her.
“I kind of blend in now, there are times when I’m in the grocery store and my mom will walk right past me. She doesn’t recognize me sometimes!”
Although she continues to have pain in her knees and lower back and experiences nausea after eating certain foods, she hopes that with continual exercise and the decrease in weight, these issues will lessen and eventually disappear.
Melissa recognizes the positive emotional changes bariatric surgery has given her.
“I have less anxiety and am not as physically or mentally tired. The energy I have gained is the biggest change.”
Despite having to alter her workout routine after the birth of her baby, Melissa’s motivation remains strong.
Her next goal? She wants to go to theme parks this summer and enjoy the rides like everyone else.
Note: This patient's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.Read more gastric bypass patient stories.