Surgery date: March 2014
Weight lost: 143 pounds
Monica Freyberg is the living embodiment of before-and-after.
“My life before the surgery was boring, uneventful and like a prison,” she said. “After the surgery I have to say I feel blessed, excited and fortunate.”
Before bariatric surgery with Arif Ahmad, MD, at the Mather Hospital Bariatric Center of Excellence, the 38-year-old mother of two felt she “was trapped in somebody else’s body.”
“Before the surgery, I like to say my life really wasn’t my life,” said Monica, a customer relations specialist from Coram. “I feel like I was trapped in somebody else’s body. I had this spirit that just wanted to get out and do things and be fun. My weight hindered me from doing that. My kids didn’t really get a true sense of who their mother was because they always knew me as a heavy mom.”
Monica said she did not have that energy level she wanted, which made her feel lethargic, kept her from exercising and being active and doing the things she wanted to do. She was experiencing shortness of breath, was constantly in pain and had difficult walking. She was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, which was her wake-up call.
She also didn’t like the way she looked — or the way she felt people looked at her.
“Being heavy is not just an aesthetic thing,” Monica said. “It’s something that affects your mind and your spirit. I didn’t want to have people perceive me as this fat, overweight, lazy person — because I’m not — but in essence that’s what happens.”
Monica tried every diet she could find, but none of them gave her the permanent weight loss she desired. “I felt like I was on a roller coaster — and I felt like it was a ride that was never going to end,” she said.
She chose the Bariatric Center of Excellence at Mather Hospital because of Dr. Ahmad’s reputation, his attention during the free seminar and, most importantly, the program’s follow-up care.
“I had researched a lot of the programs with regard to what you do afterwards — how you eat, what the dietary restrictions are, things like that,” she said. “The sense that I got was that I was not a patient. I sensed the staff were going to care for me as if they were to care for their mother or sister.”
For those considering weight loss surgery, Monica says the first step is “accepting that you need help and that there’s nothing in this world that can stop you from bettering yourself.”
When she finished a 5-kilometer survival race last summer, the excitement was palpable for Monica. “I never thought that I would, in a million years, be able to do something like that before!” she exclaimed.
“Weight loss surgery has given me a new-found freedom and a life that I never dreamed was possible before.”