My name is Tiffany, and I am a 36-year-old mother of two, a city councilwoman, a college instructor, and a medical transcriptionist. I have been overweight for at least half of my life.

First of all, I have to tell you that weight loss surgery was NOT my first choice. Like many of you here, I had tried diet after diet after diet. If you searched my library at home, you would find every book in print relating to diet and exercise. I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers, Bally’s and 24-hour Fitness for more months than pounds lost. I’ve tried every variation of over-the-counter diet pills and fad diets, and I’ve even taken Phen-Fen and Xenical. Up until about a year ago, you could probably tell how well all of these “diets” had worked for me. THEY DIDN’T. I would lose 20, 30, maybe even 40 pounds. I would then get bored or too “busy” to be bothered with watching what I eat or finding time to exercise, and I would gain back all of the weight plus more. You know the story.

I think all of the people in the world that have had success with losing significant weight have an “epiphany moment” – a time when you look at yourself in the mirror or you get that bad diagnosis back from the doctor’s office, or you try on clothes and realize what enormous size you’re in and you say I have had enough. This happened to me when I saw my reflection in a window about two years ago. I realized how large I had gotten, how other people must see me. I was horrified. Around that same time I also noticed that I had begun to snore for the first time in my life, and I was out of breath every time I climbed the stairs in our house. I had to hoist myself up in bed just to roll over, and my stomach slopped over on the mattress when I lay on my side. I couldn’t find a bra that fit me comfortably. Exercise was out of the question because I never had any energy. Just the thought of going on yet another diet and having yet another failure was very depressing. So, out of desperation, I started researching surgical weight loss options.

After researching the various surgeries as extensively as I could, I went to an informational seminar about the Lap-Band. This option appealed to me because it did not permanently rearrange my anatomy, the weight loss was less drastic and was within my control, and was actually reversible if I decided 30 years from now to take it out! After attending the seminar, I made an appointment with Dr. Lopez, and I met all the criteria for the Lap-Band. I had a BMI of 42 with no co-morbidities or serious health problems that needed to be considered. In other words, I was healthy aside from being fat! I had the Lap-Band placed in October, 2005, and I would do it again tomorrow if I had to. I call that day my “Bandiversary!”

Dr. Lopez and his staff took excellent care of me. I have had absolutely no complications thanks to his expertise and support. I have my life back because of the skills of this wonderful group of people. I can’t thank them enough!

One year later, the Tiffany you see in this picture is 87 pounds lighter thanks to the Lap-Band. My BMI is 28, and I went from a size 22W pants to a size 12! Before surgery, my family history foretold a future of diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, cancer, and severe heart disease. Now, I’m almost at my goal weight, I exercise five days a week, I’m active with my children, and I couldn’t be healthier or feel better physically and mentally. Surgical treatment for obesity was the right choice for me. If you have been wondering if it is the right choice for you, I encourage to you research it on the internet, attend an informational seminar or a support group meeting in your area, or talk to people you know that have chosen that option for permanent weight loss. It is absolutely the best investment I’ve ever made in my health and my life. I can actually say that I saw my reflection in a window again, just a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t recognize the thin person looking back at me!

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