«Everybody says I look amazing!»
For Yamaira, the dawn of 2016 wasn’t just the start of a new year. It was the start of a new life.
Last year, Yamaira had weight loss surgery at Holyoke Medical Center, and after losing more than 115 pounds, she says her successful weight loss journey has changed her outlook on life. «I’m very proud of myself,» smiles Yamaira, who struggled with weight issues and poor self-esteem for eight years after high school graduation, eventually reaching 267 pounds.
The once-happy young woman became depressed. She endured high blood pressure and cholesterol, insomnia and pre-diabetic symptoms. «I always had a voice in the back of my head saying, ‘Look how big you are. You should do something for yourself.'»
After dieting on her own and hypnosis failed, she turned to Dr. Ioannis Raftopoulos, Medical Director of the HMC Weight Management Program for help. She completed extensive preparation with Dr. Raftopoulos and other HMC medical professionals before becoming the hospital’s first bariatric surgery patient.
Today, Yamaira enjoys an active lifestyle, including swimming, walking and going to the gym. The confident young woman credits her HMC medical team with supporting her on this incredible journey. «From the surgical team to the nurses on the floor, everybody was amazing,» she says, adding that she is also grateful for her family (especially her mother, sister and husband), who provided encouragement every step of the way. «My husband said he loved me just the way I was, but he understood how important this change was to me.»
Yamaira hopes her story inspires others battling obesity, and attends a monthly weight management support group at HMC to keep the weight off. «Everybody says I look amazing!»