Christopher Cabrera
Weight Before Surgery 505
Weight after the surgery is 264.

I have always been overweight, and it has never been easy to live with. I've
experienced many of the same horror stories reported by other size challenged
people. I was once at a party, and sat on an old bench, it broke and I fell to the
floor. I didn't want to look up, because I could already hear everyone standing
around laughing at what had just happened. Girls always said, "You're so good
looking", but I inevitably just ended up being the "best" friend. By the time I was 30
I had lost my mother, father and a brother. Even though I had a lot of friends, I felt
alone, and I turned to food to fill the void left by the deaths of my family members.
After years of stuffing down my pain by constantly eating, I ballooned up to 500
pounds. During my last relationship I gained so much weight that I couldn't fit into
any restaurant booths. I always felt like a freak. People used to walk up to me and
tell me I was the biggest person they had ever seen. All I could do was sit and
cry. My life became simply about going to work, coming home and hiding in my
room eating as much as I could until I fell asleep.

A year ago this month at 6'4" and 454 lbs., on the verge of Diabetes, Heart
Problems, and feeling too sore to walk up stairs, I decided to have Gastric Bypass
Surgery. It was a risk, but I felt that I would rather die on the table than in my bed.
Since then I have lost over 200 pounds and most of my insecurities have melted
away with them. I find that I am more excited now, to try new things - things that I
would never have tried before.

I used to be restricted by my size and had to shop at the same store for over10 years.
Now I have lots of choices, and I can shop anywhere I want. I went from size 6x
shirts/56 pants to 1x shirts/38 pants. I have always been very self conscious of my
stomach and the way I look and how I feel in clothes. These feelings were present
before and now after my weight loss. I have always wanted to have a healthy flat
stomach and a body that I feel proud of. I have scheduled a tummy tuck for August
23, 2003 and am looking forward to shedding the last physical signs of my years of
self-abuse. I'm hoping that for the first time ever I will feel comfortable taking my
shirt off at the beach. I haven't exposed my belly in public since I was very young,
and I have always dreamed of the day that I could again. I have never taken my shirt
off at a pool party and would always fake an earache, as an excuse to sit out, and
keep my shirt on. It was hard listening to all the other kids laughing and having
fun. I wished that I could also feel comfortable with my body, and join them - and I
look forward to being able to do that.

This transformational process goes beyond the physical and also includes emotional
aspects that are very challenging for me. My old methods of dealing with stressful
situations are no longer an option and I've had to find other ways of handling the
difficult moments that are part of life. My comfort food has changed from large
quantities of fast food items to one or two chocolate rice cakes. I also spend time
exercising, which allows me to work out my feelings of frustration in a healthy way
that reinforces my new behaviors and also has the added benefit of releasing
serotonin which helps with depression. It's a win-win situation.

Along with my new found confidence, women have suddenly become interested in
more than being just friends. In addition, some of my coworkers and friends have
found inspiration through my experience. It's amazing to go from feeling like a
freak to becoming an inspiration. One friend is having the same surgery soon
and two others are beginning the process as well. It feels fabulous to change a life,
especially my own.

When I was over 400 pounds, I had no interest in a future for myself, no plans for
marriage or a family of my own. Since I have transformed my life, and myself
another wonderful side effect, is a new interest in marriage and children. I now look
forward to a long healthy happy and fruitful life.