Weight Loss Surgery Inspires Kathy Draper To Inspire Others

Weight loss surgery took Kathy Draper from a depressed and lonely woman to a happily married personal trainer. Her inspiration has led her to become inspiring.

Twelve years ago, I was on a flight to Las Vegas, and it was my “last straw” moment.

As the other passengers boarded the flight, I could feel the eyes of the other travelers, hoping they were not sitting by me.  When I got to my seat, I was forced to ask for a seat belt extension. My stomach was so big that the tray table sat at a 45 percent angle and was useless.  I had already been doing research about gastric bypass surgery for three years, but this was the point when I decided to have the surgery – and forever change my life.

DRAPER BEFORE.JPGIn February 1998, I had open Roux-en-Y surgery.  I had a tough recovery. I was kept in an intensive care unit for two days because I was running a high fever.  Fortunately, I never had any other complications, but I did have very little energy for the first few months as well as almost no appetite or thirst.    I lost 130 pounds over the next 18 months.  Within about three years, I had gained back about 50 lbs.  And eventually, with renewed discipline, exercise and learning to eat properly, I lost the regained weight and have maintained a weight loss of 140 pounds.  I had a wonderful surgeon, but he was good at surgery – not the follow-up care that is the mark of a great weight loss surgeon.

In 2005, while training for my first half-marathon, I met my husband-to-be.  One of the things that impressed me about him is that before our first date he read up on gastric bypass surgery, so he was more informed.  This came in handy when I got a bad bout of dumping syndrome on our second date.  We had gone to a Cajun restaurant and the protein was too spicy to eat and then the carbs kicked in!  Check please!  I was so weak, we barely made it back to the car.

Dave and I married in late 2005. First marriage for both of us; we were in our mid-forties. After years in the information technology field, I realized that I needed to find my true purpose.  I have become a certified personal trainer and certified Russian “kettlebell” instructor.  I love helping other people get healthy and fit.  I am also studying to be a health and wellness coach.

DRAPER AFTEREarlier this summer, I was named one of the top ten finalists in Subway’s “Refresh Your Life” contest.  The video team had requested pictures of my journey.  I found a packet of pictures that had me delve into the past.  At age 19, I had starved myself down to 125 pounds and by age 31, I weighed 310 pounds.  I know how I gained the weight – but why I gained the weight was the most important question.  I realized that I had let go of my dreams in college due to lack of self-esteem and confidence.  I am a “people” person, and I worked in a night shift job alone and lived alone.  I got laid off from my job and then I lost my house.  All these things contributed to a path of serious depression.

Knowing where you have been helps to keep you from going back and making the same mistakes.  My passion, mission and purpose is to help other be their best and to get healthy.  I help pre- and post-operative weight loss surgery patients, as well as “normal” people.

It is hard to believe that the same sad girl from 12 years ago is now happy, healthy, fit and training others to have their best life.  I love inspiring and motivating others.

I am following my dream!  What is your dream? Go find it!

Kathy Draper

13 Responses

  1. Susan Eavenson

    Love your story! I had RNY 8/27/09 and I am just loving every part of this journey. I can relate to the airplane extension belts. I went to HI last May for my son’s graduation and had to have them. He will be graduating with his master’s in Sept and we plan on going. I will be a year out and although I don’t know how much I will weigh I am certain I will not have to have extensions. I don’t know about the table though because I am plaqued with this horrible belly that doesn’t seem to go away.

  2. Kathy

    Susan be patient. It takes time and the belly will get smaller. A lot of my weight was in the abdomen area too. Congratulations and I hope you are feeling better and healthier everyday!

  3. roxie (thinner56)

    loved your story. im 7 months out of RNY surgery and im struggling so much, i need help learning to eat the right foods to help me lose consistently. I pretty much know what they are, i just cant seem to change my brain to comply. i need a kick in the butt to change my habits. im so glad that u are doing so well. thanks ahead of time for any advice you may give me

  4. ladygizmo81

    hey roxie im 7 months post opp too what are you struggling with maybe i can help

  5. roxie (thinner56)

    im struggling with cravings for alot of different foods..i also have problem drinking enough water..i drink diet lipton green tea, is that ok? what type of exercise do you do? i have fibromyalgia and it really hurts to exercise but i know how important it is to do..i also struggle with being consistent with my everyday eating routine..have u lost any hair? im also at a standstill in my weight loss..well, these r a few of my struggles, if u can help i would be very appreciative

  6. Penny

    I had gastric bypass on 1/03/09 and have only lost 23 lbs. My doctor is disappointed in me and says I am eating too much. This is hard to believe but I cut down to nothing but protein (1/4 cup cottage cheese and 2 oz of salmon or chicken and drinking the amount of fluid that I am suppose to. Nothing seems to move this weight. My doctor wants to do an upper GI but that may mean surgery again and I do not know if my insurance will pay again or if I want to go through the recovery again. I have tried to find the normals for the amount of weight loss for the first few months after having the gastric “Y” bypass surgery. Do you know where I can find that information?

  7. Kim

    Kathy, That was a wounderful story and I wish I had the energy that you have . I had the VSG and so did my husband on the same day. I have lost down to 155 and I am back up to 185. My husband lost 165 and he has gained 20 or 30 pounds back. I still crave food all the time and I get upset easy and than eat….. My husband eats because of his meds. I wish that I could be 130 that was my goal….Good luck and You look so good. Kim

  8. Bariatric Girl

    So glad to find your story here. You were always so special to me and remembered you from the very beginning. I even remember when you were getting married. I’m so happy for you…you are one of the few I know except Craig that are further out than I am!
    hugs and love, Yvonne

  9. Kathy

    I can eat almost like a normal person now. To cut carb craving I do lots of protein shakes. I am also active on a site called Transformation.com This has been integral in helping me with the mental and spiritual side of recovering your health not just food and exercise.

  10. buny

    hello I’m just starting the adventure of going to have the gastric bypass and they said that I will experience loss of hair well as every woman knows that scares me how much will I lose and what do I do or take to make it come back? I’m not worried about the procedure but I was told that before the surgery I would go on a liquid diet for 2 weeks how was that experience? I would love to hear any information anyone experience. Good luck to all of you and thanks for listening.

  11. Vicki B

    I had roux-y surgery 6 yrs ago. I have regained about 1/2 the weight. Initially I weighed 333 before surgery. I went down to 185, then started putting weight back. Now I am at 262 lb and depressed and unmotivated, yet I want to do what ever it takes to embrace wanting to get healthier. The Dr who did my surgery died within 2 yrs of my surgery. The hospital has another Dr at the clinic now, but I have not done any type of follow-up since Dr Obeid passed away. What have others done to begin to lose the weight they had gained? Please advise.

  12. Kathy Draper

    If anyone wants to contact me please look for Kathy Rick Draper on Facebook

  13. Kathy Draper

    Vicki I am so sorry I didn’t see your message. Hope you are doing better. I guess I didn’t get an e-mail that you replied.


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