Local News

Cary Woman Adjusts To New Lifestyle After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Posted May 6, 2004 9:42 a.m. EDT

— WRAL's Health Team has been following the progress of Jennifer Carlquist, who had gastric bypass surgery on Nov. 3. More than a month after the surgery, she said she is adjusting to a totally new lifestyle.

Meal time is not what it used to be for Carlquist.

"The amount of food I eat is so small. It still blows my mind," she said.

In early November, she weighed 385 pounds. After years of failed diets and fearing for her health, she turned to gastric bypass surgery.

"You go into surgery. You're an adult with an adult-sized stomach," surgeon Dr. Alan Brader said. "You wake up. You're still an adult, but now you have a stomach really the size of a newborn baby.

"[It's] about the size of an extra large egg, which is incredibly small," Brader said.

Six weeks later, Carlquist has lost close to 60 pounds, but she said she does not weigh herself often.

"I mean, I know that I'm losing weight. My clothes are all too big now, but I don't want to be obsessed with weight. I just want to get healthy," she said.

Vitamins and calcium are part of Carlquist's daily diet. She carefully measures out six meals a day.

"If it's something like soup, I can eat a good half a cup," she said.

Carlquist said her new stomach will only take so much. If she has too much, she said the food comes back up.

"You know immediately if your stomach is not going to be able to take something," she said.

Carlquist said her worst cravings are gone.

"Pretty much on a daily basis, I wanted something chocolate, and now it really doesn't look good to me. It's hard enough to get the protein in every day. There's no room for anything else."

Carlquist's goal is to lose 200 pounds, but she knows it will not come off with diet alone.

"We started back to the gym. I'm doing water aerobics to start out just because I really enjoy it," he said.

On Tuesday's Health Team report, Dr. Allen Mask will talk about the risks involved in gastric bypass surgeries and what to expect if you choose to have the operation.