"I don’t feel like I am alone, and any questions or concerns I have had were answered by the team at Saint Agnes or the patients who have been through this before me. My whole thought process, attitude, and life has changed, thanks to them."
Carole Ferrante is a physical education teacher and volleyball coach with an abundance of energy and a positive, upbeat outlook on life. But less than two years ago, her life was very different; she was over 300 pounds and depressed, with moments of humiliation so deep they are hard to discuss even today.
"I love amusement parks, but one day I tried to ride a roller coaster, and the harness wouldn’t come down over my stomach," Ferrante recalled quietly. "So the guy announces, over the loudspeaker, 'Lady, you are too fat, you need to get off the ride.' "
When she weighed more than 300 pounds, Ferrante dieted and followed a supervised exercise program, but her thyroid disease made weight loss almost impossible.
Her despair became so acute that she recalled riding down the highway one day and looking at a truck alongside her. She said she seriously contemplated whether she was going to end her life with a movement of the steering wheel – or take action to change it for good.
Thankfully, she chose positive transformation, and in May 2012 her journey to a new life began. Kuldeep Singh, M.D. performed Ferrante’s bariatric surgery, and she has worked hard ever since, supported by what she calls her "angel network" at Saint Agnes Hospital and in the bariatric patient community.
In addition to surgery, Ferrante took advantage of every opportunity for support available from the Saint Agnes bariatric program –including an online community, on-site support group meetings at the hospital, and classes designed to help with emotional and psychological adjustments to surgery and weight loss.
"I don’t feel like I am alone, and any questions or concerns I have had were answered by the team at Saint Agnes or the patients who have been through this before me," said Ferrante. "My whole thought process, attitude, and life has changed, thanks to them."
She recently underwent reconstructive surgery at Saint Agnes with plastic surgeon Tom Grace, M.D., Chief of the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Institute to remove excess stomach skin, and continued to marvel at the compassionate, skilled care she received from the office staff, nurses, and physicians at Saint Agnes.
Ferrante awoke from plastic surgery, in fact, to find Dr. Singh sitting at her bedside. "I opened my eyes and he was there to give me encouragement and support. What more could you ask for from any doctor or hospital experience?"
She has returned to the volleyball court as an assistant coach at a high school, and a coach of two teams at Maryland Juniors Volleyball Club. As she joins her team on the court, her spirit and enthusiasm are contagious.
Ferrante’s journey to a new life also included a return to an amusement park – and this time, she celebrated her newfound freedom to enjoy life. "I rode every single ride in that park, just because I could!" she said with a triumphant smile.