When Mary Bowker's doctor warned her that if she didn't watch what she ate she'd weigh 200 pounds, she didn't give it much thought. After all, she had been a size 7 at her high school graduation and never had experienced a weight problem before. This was just a little "baby weight" that she'd get rid of once she was done having her children.
As time went on, though, Mary grew to regret his words. By the time she had three children, she was well on her way to topping his prediction at 288 pounds. She did everything she could to lose it.
"I did the cabbage diet, Weight Watchers, the protein diet," Mary says. "I tried DVDs, the Y, a Thighmaster. I was the queen of Buy It and hope it works quick."
As Mary's weight climbed, her self-esteem plummeted. Working with Rock Island kindergartners learning to read, she would practice rhymes with them: cat ... hat ... fat.
"They would stop and look at me and smile and say, 'You're fat,'" she says. "They were innocent babies. They didn't mean anything hurtful, but it hurt anyway. I ended up having very, very low self-esteem."
Mary never gave up her dream to lose weight, though. She attended a Trinity informational meeting about the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System and was convinced. Her surgeon, Dr. James Schrier, General Surgery Associates, says that while the minimally invasive LAP-BAND® procedure isn't for everyone, it offers a great option for the right candidate.
"We put a silicone band around the top portion of the stomach and inflate it with saline," Dr. Schrier says. "This creates a new, smaller pouch that is separated from the rest of the stomach by a narrow passageway. It helps control calorie absorption without bypassing the stomach or the intestine and putting patients at risk for vitamin or mineral deficiency. Additionally, the procedure can be reversed."
For Mary, the results have been astounding.
"I went home the day after my surgery without one bit of trouble," she says. "I've lost 100 pounds and feel confident around other people for the first time in years. I walk and ride my bike. I exercise with my daughter. Best of all, my knees don't hurt anymore and I can shop for regular clothes.
"I can't say enough good about the Trinity bariatric program, the Trinity nurses and Dr. Schrier. They always treated me with respect and compassion. Thanks to them, I've never been happier!"
Mary after her 100-pound weight loss