Midge sent me her story about 18
months ago and I did not use because I was waiting for
before and after pictures. I decided to print her story
without the pictures and it follows. When I alerted Midge
that her story was going to be printed, she sent me an
I want to offer a special thanks to
Midge Ruh for sharing her full story with us. Here is
Midge’s Story Part 1 from about 18 months ago:
I have put off writing to you forever, although I am
a loyal follower of you and all the success you represent in
the bariatric community. I saw and heard you in Hinsdale
Illinois, at a speaking engagement at the Community House.
Then I attended an ObesityHelp event at Weiss Memorial
Hospital in Chicago Illinois where you spoke. I have your books, tapes and
other inspirational material. All of that is well and good,
but somehow I never considered myself successful enough to
write to you.
Flash forward to today. Here I am,
having lost from 317 pounds the day of surgery, which was
January 29, 2004 until today, where I maintain my weight
between 160 and 170 pounds. What is wrong with that, you may
Well, what I have done is trade fat and
a tremendous amount of loose skin for horrible, vicious and
sometimes painful scars, keloid scars, welts and other
disgusting disfigurations. The celluloid is still there,
only more dimpled where the plastic surgeon did
liposuction. I don't blame him, as I inherited my poor
healing tendency from my maternal side of the family. But I
still don't feel comfortable in my skin!
I am now more self-conscious than when
I was fat! The one time I went to the pool this
summer, people stared at my leg and arm scars so much that I did
not go back.
The plastic reconstructive
surgeries that I had caused a whole set of new problems that
we are really not remotely prepared for. The initial plastic
surgeries and then the sometimes numerous revisions, in and
of themselves, have created as much self-consciousness in me as
the weight I once carried and the flabby loose skin I once
I have had revision plastic surgery. I
thought the areas operated on again would be normal, only to
find I am still disappointed at the shape of my body. Also,
my plastic surgeries relaxed within months, leaving
loose skin hanging! I cannot seem to win!
I literally feel very bad about myself,
yet daily I remain in compliance with a good diet and
supplementation. I no longer exercise, as I absolutely
cannot stand another minute in the gym! So, on a good
day, I try to do at least 1/2 hour of something beneficial,
just to move.
I don't know what the answers are,
except I already went bankrupt from paying for the first of
the loose skin surgeries. It just is not fair, but then I
don't complain, because no one listens and life is just that
Indian Head Park IL
This is Midge’s current story which
is approximately 18 months after Part 1 above.
Midge’s Story Part 2:
While I am taken by surprise, I thank
you for even considering my story. As you may have noticed,
I have always loved you and looked to your inspiration
material and book for guidance. Back when I wrote you,
I was sorry that I did not have any photos to send you,
along with my story. But in November 2009, I was not in a
good place. And I am not really one to have pictures taken
in spite of the dramatic differences we encounter on our
weight loss journeys, even now.
Barbara, since originally writing to
you, I have come country miles! And I am so thankful to
certain people in the medical community, in my area, who
took a second look at me, and then gave me a second chance at
corrective and great reconstructive surgery. Before that, as
I wrote, I was simply, but silently miserable.
On one particular visit with my
primary care doctor, I found my voice. In the examining
room, I began to remove my clothing, as I pointed out poorly
healed and badly reconstructed areas of my body. This time,
instead of my usual "blame the victim for her poor
healing." I was able to express my deepest feelings of
disgust at how things turned out for me, and the
disappointment I felt with the surgeon whose worked left me
feeling so badly.
I then asked my doctor if there was
another plastic surgeon in the network she could refer me
to, with the possibility this time of getting
insurance coverage. My very caring doctor looked at my
body and was in agreement with me that I had problem areas
that had not healed well. I was also having pain
complications and keloiding from poor scar management.
Instead of proper suturing, the first surgeon simply and
quickly "stapled" these massive areas of reconstruction.
I learned so much after the fact and
after several revisions by this same surgeon that simply
made things worse! I had been taken in by this doctor's
smoke and mirror presentation and paid for it, to boot and i
of pocket! "Cheap" ultimately became "expensive," I
A burden was lifted as my doctor made
notes and said she would get back to me. Finally, I had
spoken of my misery to the proper person, who just might
make a difference! Soon I was contacted with a referral. I
was elated! My referral was to see this wonderful female
surgeon. I met her in the early days of my weight loss,
when she came to speak at our support group in Hinsdale
IL. However, she was not taking patients in my "network,”
so there would be no insurance coverage, and her prices were
much higher than the first surgeon quoted. But I liked her
so much, as she conveyed a knowledgeable understanding of
what kinds of surgery weight loss patients would need to
I realized I could dramatically change
things by expressing myself. True to the nature of the
“weight loss journey,” the “loose skin journey” also takes
many twists and turns on the road to our new life. I
realized that what I needed to do was to speak up and ask
for help for myself. It was me having these experiences, and
I needed to let the proper people know my condition and how
unhappy I was, instead of thinking no one would listen. I
spoke up for myself, and
this time, there would be insurance coverage!
I had my brachioplasty redone and also
a lot of loose skin removed from my back. I then had my
lumpy and uneven cellulite filled legs corrected. You should
see me in my size 12 petite designer jeans! Although the
cellulite does not go away, it becomes tolerable because
there is now proper body symmetry, with both legs and arms
being the same. Not to mention the upper back and muffin
top skin –it’s gone! I have no more rolls!
I cannot believe this is me. I had the
upper body done in October 2010, and then in February of this
year, I had the leg corrections done. What a difference!
This great doctor and her healing program have changed my
life! She rigorously insists on her patients wearing
compression garments and silicone scar cover tapes, which
I still wear. I will do anything to preserve the integrity
of this wonderful healing experience. I had to share this
with you. It is such good news after so much negativity.
Maybe you could let your readers know there is a happy
ending to a situation that started out so badly, in spite of
successful weight loss.
Best Regards - Midge
My supply of success stories is EMPTY.
Please support this newsletter by sending your
If you have reached your goal weight (or close to
it), you have a success story to tell. But you also
have a story to tell even if you aren’t at goal
weight. You may not think of yourself as a “success,”
but if you are able to do things that you couldn’t
before, if you are able to play on the floor with your
children or grandchildren, or if you have thrown away
medications, then YOU ARE A SUCCESS. Let us rejoice
with you. Be proud of your wonderful achievement and
let the world celebrate with you.
If you are one of the many support group leaders
who use my newsletters in your discussion groups,
please encourage your members to submit their stories.
Send your success story with before and after
photo files to me at
Barbara@WLScenter.com and I will include your
story in a future newsletter.