She told me that she wanted it done so that she could have all the things in life she had been convinced were not available to people of her size - someone to love her, a home and a family, access to nice clothes, and not to be abused and harassed in public.Tragically she later told me that she opted for the bypass as unlike the lap-band it was irreversible (the stomach is cut in two and 18" of small intestine removed and discarded) and therefore offered no opportunity to back out at a later stage.Our relationship continued to blossom even as her health began to deteriorate.

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Heather and I hit it off almost immediately despite her being in the US and at 18, almost 7 years younger than I.

Looking forward to daily emails from one another quickly progressed to a first nervous long-distance phonecall, nightly 4-hour chat sessions on MSN and before either of us knew it I'd booked a ticket to Boston.

Two incredible weeks on from our first shy meeting at Logan Airport I knew this was the one person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

The only cloud on the horizon was the gastric bypass Heather underwent just two weeks after we first made contact.

Even then I knew of the horrendous risks of these operations but although I had already fallen for her, didn't feel i knew her well enough to ask her to delay or reconsider it.

She came from a long line of big women and had herself been fat throughout childhood, resulting in numerous failed diets and all the bullying and self-loathing that accompanies being a fat child / teen.

At the time the media was full of stories of this 'magic bullet' and several of her family members had undergone the surgery with dramatic initial results.

My name is Rich, but I may be better known to some of you as richie79 of the UK who used to post prolifically here on Big Fat Blog and elsewhere in the Fatosphere for many years.

Don't know if any of the old faces are still around but I wanted to share my wife Heather's story and felt this was maybe as good as any a place do it.

If you believe otherwise, please let me know and I'll remove it.

In February 2005 a pretty girl with big brown eyes by the screen name of 'sweetheather86' sent me a 'smile' through a plus-size dating website of which we were both members.