Susan had struggled to maintain a healthy weight since childhood. "I was always teased about being overweight, which took its toll on my self-esteem," she said. "By the time I was in the eighth grade, I weighed 185." At 5 feet, 4 & 1/2 inches, she was the largest in her class.
During her junior year in high school, Susan decided to lose weight. She played basketball and ran cross-country, and her weight dropped to 145, which she maintained until her wedding in 1992.
"Then the pounds started creeping back on again," she said. "Before I knew it I weighed 230." Susan stayed at that weight for 10 years, gaining and then losing 30 pounds during each of two pregnancies.
She began to have bladder problems. "My urologist told me that if I didn't get the weight off, I was going to have to have bladder surgery. Then I began to have knee problems. My right knee would lock up and give out on me. It made grinding noises every time I climbed the stairs at home and became very painful. My orthopedic surgeon told me if I didn't get the weight off I was going to have to have knee replacements."
Susan began researching weight-loss surgery online when a neighbor told her about lap band surgery. After attending an informational meeting at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, she made an appointment with bariatric surgeon Erik Wilson, MD. "I knew I had to have the surgery if I wanted a healthier life," she said.
Lap band is only a tool. It's how you use it that determines your success. This is the smallest and happiest I've ever been.
The day of her lap band surgery, Susan weighed 252 pounds and wore a size 22. Today, she's down to 132 and a sleek size 4. Losing 120 pounds lowered her cholesterol, resolved her bladder problems and enabled her to avoid knee replacements.
"This is the smallest and happiest I've ever been," she said. "I did everything I was supposed to do from the beginning. I went in for fills every five weeks after my surgery. I ate my 60 grams of protein daily." She also started a five-day-a-week exercise regimen that combines cardio with weight training.