Colleen Cook is a successful weight loss surgery patient (WLS). Colleen also is a weight loss surgery thought leader. This is the story of her personal weight loss journey, as well as a story of how she helps bariatric patients succeed after weight-loss surgery.
Colleen Cook is a successful weight loss surgery patient from 1995. She is the President of Bariatric Support Centers International, a company that provides education and support services for weight loss surgery patients and the professionals who serve them. She is a also the founder and former chair of the National Support Group Network an Integrated Health Committee of the American Society for Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery. Colleen has also served on the National Advisory Board for the Walk From Obesity.
In 2009 she was named “Bariatric Professional of the Year” by the Bariatric Care Network, headquartered in Atlanta, GA. She currently serves on the Membership Committee for the Obesity Action Coalition.
Learn more about Colleen's impressive accomplishments in the bariatric community in Part 2 of this interview.
Interview Part 1: Colleen’s as Weight-Loss Surgery Patient
Q: You had gastric bypass weight-loss surgery in 1995 that was not covered by your health insurance. Please tell us about your life at that time and how you came to have weight-loss surgery.
A: I quietly and secretly investigated weight loss surgery many years ago in 1993. I had a personal consultation with a surgeon and knew that this was the answer for me. Unfortunately, my insurance would not cover it and paying cash was not a possibility at that time. So, I just kept it to myself and thought, "Someday, some way I will do this." Years passed and I reached my all-time heavy weight of 250 pounds. At 5'2", I was unhappy and unhealthy, but still my insurance wouldn't cover it. On Thanksgiving weekend of 1995, my wonderful husband, knowing of my unhappiness and my deteriorating health, suggested that we take a second mortgage on our home and use the equity to pay cash for this surgery. Some of my friends were buying new cars and new furniture; I got a new body (and now I have the new car and the new furniture)! It was certainly a risk to undergo major surgery uninsured, but it was a risk we were willing to take. The decision to have weight-loss surgery has proven to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has been worth every penny of our investment
Q: What was at the root of your obesity and why was gastric bypass the right solution for you?
A: Though obesity was not prevalent in my family – there were a few who struggled with weight and diabetes. At the time, gastric bypass was the only procedure offered. It was an open procedure as it was back in the day even before laparascopic procedures were being done.
Q: Did you have any complications during or after the surgery?