13-Year-Old Who Lost 60 Pounds With Weight-Loss Surgery: Her Life One Year Later

Jennifer O'Neill WriterApril 1, 2015

 
13-Year-Old Who Lost 60 Pounds With Weight-Loss Surgery: Her Life One Year Later

 

 
Alexis
Shapiro, 13, is back at school and enjoying life post–gastric bypass
after uncontrollable weight gain caused her to tip the scales at more
than 200 pounds. (Photo: Jenny Shapiro)
 
Before
13-year-old Alexis Shapiro went through a sleeve gastrectomy one year
ago — an attempt to reduce the 150 pounds she’d put on her 4-foot-7
frame after brain surgery in 2011 — her mother Jenny tells Yahoo
Parenting, “I was just holding onto hope. This was our last resort.” 
 
So
it’s no small victory for the Cibolo, Tex., family to celebrate that
the once 203-pound tween is doing “remarkably” well today, having lost
an impressive 60 pounds. “We’re just so excited,” says Jenny. “It’s
great to see her move around better and be happier and be part of the
family more — all because of her weight loss. Her life isn’t consumed by
thinking about food anymore.” 
 
 
image

 

 
Photo: Hope and love for Alexis/Facebook
 
Not too long ago, she was
consumed by it. Surgery to remove a brain tumor had damaged Alexis’
hypothalamus, the body’s appetite and metabolism control center. The
9-year-old gained about two pounds a week after that, due to her resulting condition: hypothalamic obesity, which People reports is a “rare, irreversible condition that leaves her feeling constant hunger pains.” 
 
But then she had gastric bypass surgery at the renowned Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center last
March, reducing her stomach to a quarter of its size. And that changed
everything. She’s no longer diabetic, for one. And, says Jenny, the
sixth-grader “has become so much more independent,” not to mention
inspired. 

 

image

 

Photo: Hope and love for Alexis/Facebook
“A
month after her bariatric surgery, she said, ‘I want to do one of those
fun run things,’” says the parent, along with husband Ian Shapiro, of
three kids (daughter Kayley is 10 and son Ethan is 8). Alexis recently
did it, and “is so proud of herself she wanted to put it on Facebook.
She wants to keep doing these 5Ks, so we will,” vows her mom. 
 
Also
on the agenda now? Family functions. “We can go to picnics and
barbecues and don’t have to wonder, ‘What people will say?’ or [worry]
that food will be an issue,” says Jenny. “She can pass up things that
would have driven her crazy before, with everybody eating and food all
spread out everywhere.” Before, if Alexis didn’t have the size meal that
she thought she should have, “she would get frustrated and end up
screaming and yelling in really horrible tantrums,” adds her mother.
Today “she can have a bit of something, two tablespoons, and be
satisfied.” The change allows her to be a part of things again, says
Jenny. “She’s much more calm. It’s been so nice, a huge relief.” 
 

 

image

 

Photo: Hope and love for Alexis/Facebook 
 
Weight
struggle will always be a part of Alexis’ life, though. She takes
steroids and growth hormones daily. “Hypothalamic obesity will never go
away,” Jenny explains. “We manage her hormones at home and have to
constantly monitor them. So we’re just watching and being cautiously
optimistic.” 
 
The
goal going forward is to maintain her weight while she grows taller.
“She’s never going to be skinny but that’s OK,” adds her mom, who hopes
to see her little girl living on her own someday and having a job, after
she “enjoys her high school years.” Ultimately, she says, “I just want
her to have as much fun as she can.” 
 
Please follow @YahooParenting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Have an interesting story to share about your family? E-mail us at YParenting (at) Yahoo.com.

 

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Dr. Barnes is an experienced, board certified, compassionate surgeon who offers a variety of effective surgical procedures to help you lose weight to live a healthier, more productive life and feel more confident about your appearance.

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