Looking at photos from my childhood, it shows that weight gain began before the age of 5. I was an obese child that grew into an obese adult. January of 2006 I began yet another diet (having tried many as a child and teen) and lost 40 pounds. Progress, right? Wrong. By January of 2007 I had gained the weight back plus an additional 20 pounds. My heaviest adult weight in 2008 was 384 pounds on a 5'8" body frame. What now? I am morbidly obese, have poor circulation, mild asthma, back pain, risk heart attack and diabetes with family history and I am only 27 years old. By March of 2010 I had spent 5 years total researching bariatric surgery options, met with 4 different Bariatric Surgeons in 3 different states.... I sold my home. Where there is a will there is a way. This provided me with the funding (all $20,000 dollars) to obtain surgery. I just needed a trustworthy, proficient doctor and was extremely fortunate to meet a patient of Dr. Fullum who had nothing but wonderful, positive things to say about the clinic, Dr. Fullum, and the overall weight loss journey. I had to meet the staff that was potentially going to save my life! Ms. Alfreda scheduled an appointment in April of 2010 and the rest is history! I spent 6 weeks obtaining medical clearance through various referrals, found out that I had to be treated for severe sleep apnea (that was news to me) and tied up loose ends before having gastric bypass surgery on July 1, 2010. This is the day that I consider to be my second birthday. This is the day that Laura version 2.0 came out of surgery with a freshly created [stomach] pouch and a fresh attitude toward life. Nothing was going to get in my way! 6 months later I have lost a total of 130 pounds (with 50 pounds to go). My activities include but are not limited to kickboxing, weight training, jogging, yoga and constant focus on eating healthy and maintaining healthy nutrition. I am living the life that others simply dream of. I am living a life that I simply dreamed of only 5 years prior. I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. It feels amazing to wake up every day knowing that I can walk farther, work harder and live longer thanks to Dr. Fullum and his amazing staff. Looking back, a house is nothing to give up when you can gain far more important things - your life.

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My journey started when I went to see my mother's cardiologist in 2006 for a check-up and was told that I was headed down the same path as my mother who'd had a triple bypass. Since we shared the same ailments, the possibility of open heart surgery in the future was there. I needed to lose weight and get healthy. Well, I tried every diet out there and nothing work for very long. After a year of trying every diet imaginable and being completely frustrated I asked about weight loss surgery. My cardiologist immediately gave me the name and phone number of Dr. Terrence Fullum. But then I decided against weight loss surgery, I got scared. After another six months of dieting with no success. I was visiting a friend at another hospital and in one of the conference rooms they were having a weight loss surgery seminar, so I went in and got information. It set the wheels in motion and I did further research on the different surgeries available. I went to see that surgeon, did all of the pre-tests that they send you for, but they gave me the run around for seven months. Frustrated again, I saw my cardiologist and she gave me Dr. Fullum's number again. He was so booked, that it took two months to get in to see him. But it was worth the wait! My appointment was on March 13, 2009. I was lucky that he accepted all of my pre-tests and surgery was scheduled. I had my surgery April 16, 2009, the day after my 55th birthday. My birthday GIFT to me. At that time I weighed 243 lbs., suffered with asthma (used inhaler), sleep apnea (on CPAP), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes (60 units of insulin 3 x's a day), and every joint in my body ached. A year later, I am so happy to say, that I am down to 185 lbs., NO MORE asthma, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or achy joints. Now instead of three daily insulin shots, I only take 15 units once a day and hopefully soon that too will be no more. I walk four miles 4 times per week and have gone from a size 22 to a size 12. I am loving and living life!! Dr. Fullum and his staff are the BEST, knowledgeable and kind. Thank you for giving me the tool to take control of my life again!!

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I first heard about Dr. Fullum and his team from another patient of his. After doing some research, I discovered that Dr. Fullum came highly recommended and I decided to make an appointment. At my heaviest point, I weighed just shy of 470 lbs. I had a long list of medical problems that ranged from hypertension to sleep apnea. I was also disabled by a severe knee injury that I had sustained as a result of my weight. After meeting with Dr. Fullum, I was referred to various specialists for very detailed medical evaluations and tests. Meanwhile, his staff assisted me with developing a diet and exercise plan that assisted me with getting prepared for surgery. After all of my medical exams and tests were completed, I was scheduled for surgery. After surgery, I was stabilized and then allowed to go home. I began to notice weight loss within the first 7 to 10 days after surgery and my progress was closely monitored by Dr. Fullum and his staff. About 18 months after surgery, I truly believe that [weight loss] surgery was one of the best decisions I had ever made in regards to my health. I lost about 240 lbs, and had nearly complete resolution to all of my weight related medical conditions. I am currently employed as a security guard and I am also a volunteer firefighter. Two years ago, if someone would have told me that I would be able to do the physically demanding things required for my line of work, I would have never believed them. I truly believe that had I continued down the road I was on in regards to my weight and lifestyle choices, that I would not be alive today. I credit Dr. Fullum with giving me back the control over my life and giving me a second chance.

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In October, 2003, my primary physician referred me to Dr. Terrence Fullum for severe GERD, which I would later learn, was just one of many co-morbidities secondary to morbid obesity. When I wheeled myself in his office I could not understand, as I looked around the waiting room, why everyone in there was FAT! Then I read an information poster about a bariatric support meeting. I went back to [my primary physician] after my GERD surgery (cured of course) and inquired more about this "bariatric thing". I remember well her saying, "good observation." With her encouragement, I went to my first meeting. I rolled into Dr. Fullum's information session on my scooter, too fat and too painful for me to walk from the car to the distance of the meeting. I could rock and hobble about twenty to thirty feet! I had already been told by two of the best orthopedists that I needed two total knee replacements, or I would remain in the wheelchair for the rest of my life. I was preparing to do just that because I refused to have the surgery done. My mother had it done and she never walked again. Because of degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis of both knees, I took many pain pills and applied many topical creams and solutions to ease the pain which never went away. I learned to live with pain! As the pain became greater, I got bigger. The only comfort I could find was in food, my best friend. I also suffered from "borderline malignant hypertension" (5 pills daily), respiratory insufficiency (2 pills daily, a pump and machine daily or when necessary). As unbelievable as it may seem, the worst co-morbidity was Depression. The medication put me at peace and to sleep! It's a terrible thing to pray to die every day. I limited my outside activity to work and caring for my mother as best I could. When she died in 1999 I wanted to crawl in the casket and go with her. I have wonderful devoted children and grand children, but I'd rather die than be a burden on them. So my daily prayer from the time my mother died was to take me home to be with her. I lost all faith and was ready to give up. As a career Registered Nurse, an Administration of Justice degree recipient and law school attendee, one would think I could handle my problem better, more intelligently. Intelligence has nothing to do with my obesity. I know how an obese person feels, how they are treated, and what the morbid obese go through no matter what you show the world. I put on a great front. I could have earned the academy award. I know how great God is for looking over my twisted mind and prayers to die, he ignored me and led me to Dr. Fullum who gave me another choice, another chance. Dr. Fullum is gifted and blessed with patience, understanding, and his bedside manner is remarkable. He treated me like I was a special person, yet he was not one of my children (unusual for me to experience care and concern from a perfect stranger). On June 23, 2004 I rolled in the operating room weighing 246 pounds. Nine months later after three days a week of out-patient therapy I was forgetting my cane in different stores and driving again after years of not being able to drive. WELL THE REST IS HISTORY! I now hand dance and line dance three evenings a week. I love to walk, so I walk either in the mall (smile) or on the tread mill "three miles" at least one to two days a week depending on my dancing activity. Today at 63 years old, wearing a size 0 - 2, weighing 98 -108 pounds, 4' 9" short for the past four years, I am living a life I could only dream of just five years ago. I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. I take one maintenance blood pressure pill (only because I was on many BP medications for so long). I take two multivitamins a day, and I only take a non-narcotic, non-steroidal, low dose pain pill when I over do it with my dancing. I thank God every morning I wake up and walk to the bathroom (a great thing!). This is good for me because I was told I would never walk again without two total knee replacements. Dr. Fullum is my earthly miracle man, he put me on the right road with the right transportation, but I had to drive the distance myself. That's the tough part, but with conviction, dedication, following my leader (Dr. Tapscott) and of course, with the grace of God, I did it.

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I had my surgery on August 7th, 2008 at Howard University Hospital. My highest weight before surgery was 463 lbs. As of July 17th, 2009 I had lost 171 lbs. I had multiple health problems which included hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea (on CPAP), arthritis, and high cholesterol. I really had a lot of problems being mobile. When I walked it was really difficult to catch my breath. I would have to make many stops along the way to get from my car to various locations. I had no energy. I was taking 11 different prescriptions for my many health problems. As of July 17th, 2009 I was only taking 1 prescription medication and that is for high blood pressure, but even that pill has been lowered 3 different times. I am no longer on CPAP for sleep apnea. I am no longer a diabetic. I am able to move around so much better. I do not get short of breath nor do I need to stop along the way to rest and catch my breath. My quality of life has improved so much. I have so much more energy. I felt that when God sent me Dr. Terrence Fullum and his support staff to help me, it was the best gift God could have given to me!!! Through their continued support, help, and compassion, at the age of 48 years old, they gave me my life back! They showed me new ways to conquer my weight problem. Dr. Fullum and his staff are not just my doctors but they are my friends, always willing to offer an encouraging word and there to help me anyway they can. The improvements in my quality of life have made me feel like a winner!! I have a ways to go, in my weight loss but for the first time in my life I feel that I really can succeed and I know that I have my new friends, Dr. Fullum and his support staff to thank for all that they have done for me!!!!

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I began my journey to become a slim and trim healthy man about four years ago (2005). Then, I was only borderline morbid obese. I had several things going against me. I am a chef, and I loved to eat. I was gaining weight on a daily basis. I was hospitalized for Congestive Heart Failure mainly because of my weight. I was introduced to the program and attended several of the meetings and fell in love with the idea of losing weight permanently. However, I also was a procrastinator. Needless to say, a few years passed by and I became heavier and heavier. Now it was 2008 and I was suffering from a multitude of ailments, and weighing approx. 400 pounds. I had another bout with CHF and while in the hospital was told by my cardiologist to lose the weight or die. Some choice ugh!!! I decided to lose the weight. Got in touch with Drs. Fullum and Tapscott's office, told Ms. Alfreda and Ms. Carolyn that I was ready to begin my lifestyle change and they took it from there. Dr. Tapscott gave me a diet anyone could do and live with. I started this diet somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas and scheduled the procedure on the 21st of August. Was it tough? Oh yeah!!! This time, I'm committed. I lost approx. 100 pounds prior to surgery. August 23rd, I'm home, recovering and on my way to an ailment free life. Now, it is April 2009 and I weigh approx. 180 pounds. My life has changed and I feel great. GOD has blessed me and I thank Him for Dr. Fullum and staff.

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At my highest weight, I was 343 lbs. I realized I was headed towards 350. In my mid 40's at the time, I was suffering from border line hypertension, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation, incontinence, and obstructive sleep apnea not to mention the pain in my knees trying to support all that weight. After a particular traumatic bout with a-fib, my cardiologist recommended that I have gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, which would probably help. He also gave me the name of a surgeon, Dr. Terrence Fullum. I was terrified of having surgery. So I waited about two years and lo and behold a co-worker of mine had the surgery done. When I asked her who her doctor was, she told me. Dr. Terrence Fullum. OK, I am a very spiritual person, and I knew at that point that GOD was telling me something. So I made an appointment to go to one of Dr. Fullum's seminars. The way Dr. Fullum did his presentation answered all of my questions and calmed all my fears. Well, on the morning of September 6, 2006, Dr. Fullum and his skilled team performed the surgery that changed my life. Two and a half years later, I am maintaining my weight at around 180 lbs.! I have gone from a size 32 down to a size 10/12 and I am loving it! GOD and life are soooooo good!

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I had surgery on August 1, 2001. On the date of surgery my weight was 310 lbs., prior to surgery I had multiple health problems that included Hypertension, Diabetes (insulin dependent), GERD, Asthma, Sleep Apnea (on CPAP), Hypercholesterolemia, Fibromyalgia, and Arthritis. I was taking 17 pills and two insulin injections per day, walking with the assistance of a walker, I needed a portable oxygen tank when away from home and an oxygen concentrator for home use. Eight years later I am free of Asthma, Sleep Apnea, Diabetes, GERD, and Hypercholesterolemia. Instead of needing three medications to control Hypertension I am down to one, the pain associated with the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Arthritis has decreased significantly. I now take multivitamins and live a healthy lifestyle. Because of my strong belief in Dr. Fullum's technical ability as a surgeon, his compassion as a person, and his strong spiritual belief, I am honored to work for him in the capacity as Bariatric Nurse Coordinator and Clinical Practice Supervisor. Bariatric surgery saved my life. Please allow yourself the opportunity to meet with Dr. Fullum and his staff at our information session to learn more about your surgical options.

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