My decision to have the surgery came when:
I tried Weight Watchers, pills and a no-carb diet with physician supervision; I lost 48 pounds but it all came back plus more. I was worried about aging and not living longer due to my weight and the health problems I had, and the ones I could potentially acquire because of family history. I had remarried prior to the weight loss and wanted to spend more time with my new husband.

My biggest surprise after the surgery was:
I lost 17 pounds before surgery and 125 pounds afterward. I was amazed at how quickly the weight was lost. I feel confident speaking up in groups now. I’m doing line dancing with my granddaughter twice a week, and I’m enjoying my husband’s retirement with him. I love it!

Conditions I had before the surgery that have now improved or disappeared:
I had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis and fibromyalgia. I have no more pain in my knees since the weight loss and the fibromyalgia is better too. My cholesterol is normal and my blood pressure has improved.

Advice for others considering the surgery:
Follow what they tell you to do. Do not eat more than they recommend. Meetings and support groups really helped me – especially connecting with others on the web. Keep going for your follow-up appointments. Even if you’ve cheated, the support is needed, and it’s there.

The best part of the program at the University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital Bariatric Surgery was:
They really care about you. Even four years later, they reach out and call me to see how I’m doing. They not only treat you as a patient, but also as a friend.