For Carolyn Williamson, gastric surgery has been a “life-changer”
Persistence. Dedication. Determination. They’re all traits Carolyn Williamson needed to survive the past 10 years. Nine years ago, she experienced both joy and hardship in giving birth to twins Olivia and Anthony and caring for the newborns and her then-12-year-old daughter.
Carolyn had battled weight problems after her first daughter was born. During her second pregnancy, her weight climbed to 310 pounds.
“I had played sports in high school, and I worked out every morning after my first daughter was born,” Carolyn said. “During my pregnancy with the twins, everything went downhill. I could barely walk by the eighth month.”
She joined weight-loss programs after her delivery but soon gained back what she’d lost.
Difficulties mounted as Anthony was diagnosed with autism at age 2 1/2, and her husband walked out and divorced Carolyn. Unable to find a job that would cover child care and basic living expenses, she scraped by with child support checks and food stamps.
As she lay in bed at night, her mind raced, and her now 353-pound body felt like it was suffocating her. Her feet and knees ached, her breathing was labored and she felt depressed.
A turning point came as she and the twins climbed onto a ride at Kings Island two years ago—Carolyn was too large to get the security bar to snap shut. The ride attendant asked her to get off the ride.
“After Kings Island, I started researching weight-loss surgery,” she said. “I contacted Good Samaritan and went through the orientation class.” Her insurance plan denied the surgery twice. She gave up initially but then wrote a letter pleading for a chance to change her body and her life.
She received approval and attended TriHealth Weight Management’s nutritional classes and psychological counseling for several months.
Carolyn elected to have her surgeon, Dr. George Kerlakian, perform a sleeve gastrectomy to reduce her stomach to the size of a banana.
“He’s a wonderful, supportive doctor, and I put my trust in him,” Carolyn said. “I called the office all the time after surgery with questions. Anything I needed to know, they were there for me.”
“This has been a life-changer,” Carolyn said. “I’m much happier. I still have to work hard to maintain the weight loss, but it’s something I can do as long as I put forth the effort.”
She does a cardio hip-hop class, walks and jogs, and eats smart. She has transformed her body from a size 28 to size 9/10. She sleeps better, and the aches and pains have disappeared.
Carolyn now has a full-time job at a property management company in accounting and human resources, and she’s a few semesters away from completing a licensed practical nursing degree. Most importantly, she can fully engage with her children and their school and sports activities. Anthony, who once communicated through sign language and pictures, now chatters constantly and plays on the football team.
“My kids are my strength and biggest motivator,” she said. And Carolyn is pleased to get on any ride they choose at Kings Island.