The women are grateful for each other’s support on their weight loss journey
Debbie after surgery
Debbie before surgery
When Paula Linza and Debbie Whitehair met more than 10 years ago they discovered they had a lot in common. They were both working at East High School in Rochester. They were both Special Education teachers. And they had both been morbidly obese for years but had taken the first steps to change that by scheduling bariatric surgery at Highland Hospital.
Today she is 130 pounds lighter. But back in 2002, when Debbie Whitehair was on a flight to Europe, she looked around and saw that she was the heaviest person on the airplane. Debbie calls that moment “the last straw,” and soon after she began her weight loss journey at the Bariatric Surgery Center at Highland.
Debbie can’t remember a time when she didn’t struggle with her weight. She was an emotional eater and gained 80 pounds when she had her twins in 1989. By 2002 she was 270 pounds. She had read an article about a singer who had bariatric surgery and it got her thinking. So she did her research and ended up in a seminar featuring Dr. William O’Malley. By October that year she had her surgery and within 10 months she was at 130 pounds.
Paula after surgery
Paula before surgery
At 378 pounds, Paula Linza had developed bad arthritis in her knees and it hurt when she walked. She learned that every pound she lost would equal four pounds of pressure off her knees. That's when she began to seriously look into weight loss surgery and found what she was looking for at the Bariatric Surgery Center at Highland Hospital.
Paula will tell you that she lost 100 pounds four times in her life. An athlete in high school she was able to lose weight but couldn’t seem to keep it off. By 2002 she was 378 pounds when she decided to have her surgery. Today she is 165 pounds.
Both women have nothing but praise for Dr. O’Malley. “Dr. O’Malley is passionate about his patients,” said Paula. “He is a wonderful surgeon and is right there when you need him.”
The women are grateful for each other’s support on their weight loss journey and the support of their families, friends and the staff at the Highland Bariatric Surgery Center. They stress that maintaining weight loss is a life-long commitment and that it’s important to your health to stay connected to the Center and adhere to check-up schedules especially if you begin to slip and gain weight back.