LEWISTON – When Tracie Dubois packed away her snowmobile pants and jacket last weekend in a white trash bag safe from dust, she thought, “Hopefully, this won’t fit me next year.”

Next winter she’ll probably wear women’s sizes. She’s excited. Men’s jackets never come in her favorite color: pink.

Tracie is one appointment away from gastric bypass surgery this summer, an operation that could drastically cut her weight over the next year. She’ll go first, then Travis, her husband, will have the procedure.

They’ve been on Dr. Gregory D’Augustine’s waiting list for more than a year.

She wants to lose 150 pounds; him a little more. Diet and exercise haven’t worked. They admit they don’t have much willpower.

Thumb-sized stomachs will force better results, better lifestyles.

“The kids are having the hardest time,” said Tracie. These days, Alex, 10, and Adam, 13, put in requests like “Can we have Chinese sausages because we’re probably never going to have them again?”

She’s not dwelling much on food or what she’ll miss.

“I’ve eaten it all, I don’t feel like I need it anymore. I feel so ready for it,” she said.

The couple live in a new cape near No Name Pond. There’s a basketball hoop in the driveway and a yellow Lab who likes to steal the ball away when the boys play.

They married four years ago. Tracie gained most of her extra weight since then. It started when she quit smoking.

Travis says he was husky growing up, and gradually his weight got worse after he left the Marines. He’s now 365 pounds.

To prepare for surgery the Duboises attended a support group meeting of pre-and post-op patients in January. They were amazed to meet a woman who was full after eating a one-quarter slice of bread.

“That’s something I’m really looking forward to, to feeling full,” said Travis.

Their next step: a meeting with Dr. D’Augustine and three other gastric bypass candidates. Tracie has gone on to have a personal consultation with him and another with a nutritionist. After a psychologist visit next month her insurance company will review the case. Surgery isn’t scheduled until the coverage goes through.

Right now, it looks like that will be in July. Travis will have surgery about three months later. He doesn’t think his wife could handle going second. If she saw him in pain, or if she saw something go wrong, she’d probably panic.

Gastric bypass surgery carries a small risk of infection, pneumonia and blood clots, and about a 1 percent risk of death.

Tracie’s older sister had the procedure two years ago. She’s gone from size 24 to 8. She looks like a different person.

“My sister said it was a lot of pain, but she’s sort of a wimp, she’ll admit it,” Tracie said.

The couple love to snowmobile. Travis rode 1,300 miles last winter, but just 400 this winter. The weather didn’t cooperate.

If he has his operation late enough, Travis thinks he may get another season out of his brand new yellow, red and black Skidoo jacket. Part of him hates to have wasted that money.

“My ski pants are size 4X, my jacket is 4X,” he said. “I could have gained weight, they had 5X.”

But his next coat will move down the size scale, not up. The outfits are bound for an Uncle Henry’s flyer, where maybe someone else can use them.


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