Alexis was morbidly obese by the age of 12 but denied weight loss surgery by her health insurance company to stop the rare condition. Can you imagine that, being denied health care coverage for a serious health condition just because of your age? I understand weight loss surgery may be a risk factor for young children but if the benefits outweigh the odds then why not go for it? Since Alexis first told her story, donations have been pouring in for a gastric-sleeve procedure to help her lose weight (Shapiro 2014).
About 3 years ago, Alexis had surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. Unfortunately, the surgery caused her hormones and metabolism to go chaos, increasing her appetite to make her feel hungry all the time. She continued to eat despite her family’s efforts to stop her and eventually gained more than 200 pounds – a rare, medically triggered obesity. Her health also decreased very fast (Shapiro 20014). Her last hope was to undergo a gastric-sleeve procedure to save her health and help her lose weight effectively.
The operation was performed in March at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the operation reduced her stomach size to help curb her appetite. Although the surgery was successful, Alexis still had to endure the agony of recovery but she pulled through very well with the strong support of family and loved ones. Jenny says they have enjoyed so much support and the comments from Facebook shows people really do care about Alexis.
By late June, she had lost 37 pounds and was off to a good start of becoming a new, healthier person (Shapiro 2014). She became a happier person and was back in school for the first time in nearly two years. She had more confidence and became the old, joyful Alexis she was once before. “Hope has been the only thing that has gotten us through,” said Jenny Shapiro, the mother of Alexis. Jenny says that her daughter’s strength and determination have made her even more proud of Alexis and she’s glad she helped her fight all the way.
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
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Source: Shapiro, J. “Once obese but starving Texas girl sees a healthy future months after surgery” 11 December 2014 www.today.com