1233 North 30th Street, Billings, MT 59101      406-237-7000
St. Vincent Healthcare
 
 
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Augusta's Story

My name is Augusta and I have been big my whole life. I grew up in Deer Lodge, Montana, and let me tell you...nothing is worse than growing up big and odd in a small town! By the time I was in 6th grade my weight was 195 lbs. Throughout high school I weighed 225 lbs, after that it went up and up. By the time I was 24 I was at my top weight of 287 lbs.

I hurt all the time - my back, my legs, my feet - every inch of me was hurting. I had an assortment of health problems; PCOS, obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease and pre-diabetes.

Let us not forget all of the other things that come along with being so big; not being able to fit into booths at restaurants, having the biggest pant size at Wal-Mart be too tight, not being able to tie your shoes or cut your toe nails...and there was always the discomfort of being hot and sweaty. But worst of all, the looks and comments I would get from people as I went about my daily life. I began to hate myself for what I had become.

Like everyone out there, I had tried many different diets; some working for a while, some not much at all, but in the end the weight would always come back plus some. I love to eat and most of my activities revolved around eating.

Weighing in at 287 lbs. was a turning point for me. I thought if this is what I weigh at 24, what will I weigh at 34? I had thought about gastric bypass surgery before but wasn't educated about it. I had worked with a lady who had undergone the procedure and she looked amazing. I decided to talk with her and we talked for over three hours. She told me that everyday she was grateful for having done the surgery and had no regrets.

I made an appointment to go to the surgery seminar and one with my primary care doctor. Meeting with my primary care doctor caused butterflies in my stomach. I wondered if she would be supportive or just tell me to try harder. She asked me how much I weighed and how old I was; after telling her she was quiet for a moment...and then she said that yes, she would write the letter of recommendation.

I attended the seminar and listened to all they had to say. At the end I was shocked to find out the TINY person standing in front talking had undergone gastric bypass herself. I decided to proceed. It took about six months to go through the process of approval. My insurance was taking a long time to say yes. I called them as many as three times a week to check on the status of my claim. Finally, after approval, I had a surgery date of October 30!

The morning of my operation I woke and thought of the saying, "today is the first day of the rest of your life." It really had meaning for me.

In the two years since that day I have lost 132 pounds. At one point I had lost over 140 pounds but thought I looked too skinny. Who would have ever thought that word would belong to me? I have never regretted having gastric bypass surgery. I am grateful every day that I was able to have this amazing operation done. I have learned the importance of nutrition and staying active. Best of all, I can fit into that booth, clip my own toenails and nobody gives me those negative stares. Plus, all of my co-morbidities have gone away; yes, that is right, all of them!

However, this is not to say that it has been easy. I still think like a fat person and wonder if I always will. At least now, I have a tool and the education to keep myself in check. Every day is a chance to learn and improve, which is all we can hope for. I am lucky to have the great support of my family and friends. Thanks to the wonderful people at the Weight Management Clinic for helping me to have a full and healthy life. 

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