Dear Dr. Baranov,

I have attempted several times to write this but the words somehow failed me each time. I have been a nurse for 20 years. I have seen physicians with great skill and no bedside manner, some with a great bedside manner yet poor skill, and some with both or neither. You are a great physician with a great bedside manner. You have pride in what you do as well as compassion for human beings.

When I finally decided to take the leap into bariatric surgery I knew that I wanted you to be my surgeon. I know what goes on in the room. I know the details of the surgery, the risks, the potential complications…all of it. I knew that with you I would be okay. I trusted you.

Before the surgery, I couldn’t walk down stairs because my knees were too stiff and sore. At night I crawled up the stairs, my legs so full of fluid, it was all I could do. I could not get up to let the dogs out. I could barely clean the house. I was tired all the time. I was out of breath and I was ashamed. In my head I could still run and play with the kids and manage the house but in reality I was locked inside myself and capable only of trudging to work and cooking meals. I was angry bitter and depressed. My blood sugar was up and down, making me jittery and antsy.

I told myself the chronic steroids were to blame for the weight and while they added to my weight gain they were not the solo cause. I became sedentary. I had gained weight with pregnancies, became less active from fear after some irregular heartbeats, and went on prednisone for an adrenal disorder. I turned to food as comfort and made excuses to try to assuage the pain from the loss of myself.

Today I am back to being me. I laugh often. I run 3 miles three times a week, work out five days a week, and ride my bike 20 miles. I run and play with the kids. I clean the house, walk the dogs, and kayak and hike. I am doing a 5 k run In October. I eat to fuel my body with essential nutrients and to live, as opposed to living to eat. No more carbohydrates and poor choices. I have a new lease on life and a second chance. I will not waste it.

My biological father was dead at 40 from obesity, epilepsy and a heart attack. I thought I would be dead by forty too. I now see myself as growing old and I am grateful.

I am half way through my nurse practitioner program. I have faith in myself, and though I am still 30 pounds from goal weight… I am healthier. I have life.

So thank you, for helping me start the journey back to me, for your competence and skill, your professionalism and compassion.

Prior to coming to see you, my high weight, at five feet four inches tall, was 260. I was at 243 when I first saw you. I am 162 lbs today , six months after my bypass.

Thank you again, for all you are and all you do!