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New Year, Second Chance

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For Sally Huffer, life began again after gastric bypass surgery.

by Nancy Ford • Photos by Yvonne Feece

SallyHuffertoday
Sally Huffer today

In the January 2009 issue of OutSmart, Sally Huffer discussed her decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery. “My motivation in having the gastric bypass was very clear: To live. Not ‘to look better,’” she said at the time. 

One year and many pounds later, Huffer, Montrose Counseling Center’s community project specialist, says she prefers not to specifically reveal how much weight she’s lost. But it’s accurate to say she has lost the equivalent of a healthy adult. 

“I laugh sometimes because I’m in a wonderful relationship now, and I say that I both lost a person and gained one,” she says. 

Since her September 2008 surgery, Huffer says the rate of her weight loss has slowed somewhat. 

“I’ve hit a long plateau which means I really do have to start exercising if I’m to lose any more,” she says, playfully. “I hate exercise. Always have. Every second of it. But I know that what I put into this, I’ll get out of it. Period. 

“I can run a little bit,” Huffer adds begrudgingly, “although I definitely need a better sports bra!” 

Huffer
Huffer, before her weight loss

What Huffer does revel in, she says, are the “simple things” her previous weight prevented her from doing. “I can cross my legs. I can sit comfortably in a stadium seat or movie theater seat. I don’t panic when I see plastic chairs for al fresco dining. And I was positively giddy when I recently purchased my first pair of Levi blue jeans!” 

Clothes shopping before surgery was drudgery, Huffer recalls. Now her greatest challenge when shopping, she says, is figuring out what her “style” is. 

“The fear isn’t so much that I can’t find anything to fit me, or that people are staring and mocking me, or that I can’t walk up and down the aisles without seeing other shoppers wince that I’m taking up too much space, but that I don’t quite know what suits me and there are so many choices. And with those choices comes other changes, like the fact that I wear more jewelry now. I got my hair cut short because it was falling out (completely normal after gastric bypass). 

“So now, with shorter hair and a different body, I find I often have to introduce myself to people who already know me.” 

The surgery resulted in no other complications for Huffer, and she is certain her decision to have the weight-loss surgery will help her achieve her goal of longevity. 

“Will I live longer now that I’m under 200 pounds? Absolutely—barring any unforeseen tragedy!” she reflects. “Am I happier? Absolutely! I think it shows.”

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