Twanda Trader: Katrina Victim Transformed By WLS

Twanda Trader had weight loss surgery in March 2007. Before that, she struggled with being both obese and a displaced Hurricane Katrina victim. Today, life is nice.

Hi! My name is Twanda, and I’m a post-op gastric bypass surgery patient. Now, I have not been out three years quite yet – I will be in March, though. And it’s been a long road but a fun, interesting and sometimes wonderful journey. Well, at all times, it’s been wonderful. I had my surgery on March 9, 2007, and from then on I hit the ground running because I asked for this, I wanted it, I prayed for it and I needed it to survive. It was the meaning of life or death, and it all came to a head on August 28, 2005: Hurricane Katrina, the end of the world as we knew it – out with the comfortable, in with “What the hell happened to my life?”

TRADER BEFOREI’ve always been a big girl, you know, 220 to 250 pounds, but pretty much okay with it. I would try to get the occasional diet to work for me but I guess it just didn’t work, or I didn’t want to diet and be disappointed at the outcome yet again.

I had heard about the weight loss surgery but at that time I was sure everybody who had the surgery would end up dead in five years. But then there was always something in the back of my mind asking, “Could it really help me? Could I really be a good candidate for this surgery?” I could play with my son, I would have the energy to keep up with him, I could go out in public and not worry people are saying things … guys might actually look at something other than my face! And I may get a date!

Am I responsible enough to take this surgery and make something good out of it? My eating habits will have to change, my mindset will have to change and my body will definitely change. People will talk, you will lose friends and your family will change.

On August 28, 2005, Katrina took my city and my home and the entire Gulf Coast with it. We were left devastated, dazed, homeless, confused and scared. That’s just to mention a few things going through our minds. My son, my mother and I were evacuated to a shelter after leaving our home in Gulfport, Mississippi.

At the disaster sites, people would offer information about what they had seen and what we were about to see. We would ask, “Did you see that place?” “How is this house?”

Somebody said ours was no longer there, which sent my son – at the time, he was 10 years old – flying to see for himself. Well, yes, it was there but that’s about it. Everything was destroyed, all was lost!

It went on until mid-October. My father was able to come get us and take us away to any place we chose. We moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, on October 16, 2005, to a new place, a new apartment and no bills for about four months. So far, so good.

The problem starts when you think there is no problem at all. We never had to buy food; we had gift cards and coupons and free lunch and dinner and this and that. And after being without food for so long we wanted it all the time – and not just for then; we hoarded it!

I blew up to a whopping 297 pounds between October 2005 and March 2006. In October I’d been about 215, so it was fast and I was big! What could I do?

Well, I got a job at UVA Medical Center and looked into the weight loss surgery. I seriously read all I could, got all the books, and by August I had made a commitment and an appointment to see Dr. Schirmer.

From then, I did a six-month diet required by my insurance and by the time my second appointment came round 6 months later, I had lost nothing! But I kept a diary of all the food I ate.

In my second appointment my doctor said, “Are you ready?” It was March 7. I will never forget it. I said, “Yup!”

I did all my pre-op and had my surgery, and never ever looked back except to tell this story.

TRADER AFTERMy journey has been hard, what with learning how to eat and my dumping syndrome, but I would not ever give it up. I hope you allow me to come share my story to the community I’ve grown to love so much!

I have a voice and I am dying to tell people my story, so maybe I can help somebody, anybody. If there is somebody willing to listen, I’m definitely willing to talk! I have struggled like you can’t believe but I’m still in the game.

Thank you,
Twanda Trader

4 Responses

  1. Adana Suggs RN

    Twanda, What a wonderful choice you made. You truly did receive a new life. I hae met with over 14oo pts in the last five years and counseled them and prepared them for weight loss surgey. I truly beleive in it. I am sure you feel fabulous. Keep up the good work.

  2. Nita

    Hi, Twanda

    I am very proud of you for taking charge of your life and making a life change that has turned your life around and made it much better than it was before. My story is very similar to yours. Except my Katrina was my x husband. I stayed in a abusive relationship for 13 years. I let this man destroy my life and eating became my way of dealing with all the abuse and the pain. I had the surgery in September 9, 2008 I was weighing 303 pounds and have lost 150 pounds just one year later. I am divorced and trying to rebuild myself for the inside out with the help of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because without him none of this would be possible. It is so much more to my story and I would like to keep in touch please email me at msnita050@yahoo when you get a chance.

    Take Care!!!

  3. karen berg

    I, am, so very happy for you Twanda on your weight loss and you keep telling your story. I,will be 8 months post-op on this Sunday the 11th of October and I havent weighed since Sep.4th and I was at 98 pounds gone on that date. My surgery was on February 11,2009 and my biggest weight was 340 and i just last night went from a size 32 or 4x jeans to a size 20 and I am so happy to and would not do anything different. I have been losing alot of my hair , thou do you have any suggestions on good way’s to get more protein in , if so please tell? My E-mail is THANKS,ALWAYS Karen

  4. Helen

    All I can say is ‘sexy mama’!!! wow! you look so good! I am so happy for you and can only hope that all goes well with my surgery. I have yet to have my second consult to confirm surgery dates! I’m so scared, but looking at your story as well as others I am confident and cant wait to start living free again!