Alexis Shapiro – the 12-year-old girl whose rare metabolic condition caused her to gain 151 lbs. and feel constantly hungry – is recovering well from gastric sleeve surgery, her mom tells PEOPLE.
“Her diabetes is pretty much gone,” says Jenny Shapiro. “She is off insulin.”
In addition to no longer needing medication for her type 2 diabetes, Alexis’s moods have improved as well.
“She looks healthier and has more energy,” says Jenny. “The other day she pushed herself to climb three flights of stairs.”
On March 21, after complications forced doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to forgo performing a gastric bypass, Shapiro underwent sleeve gastrectomy surgery, which reduced her stomach to 25 percent of its original size.
The 4’7″ tween has since lost at least six lbs.; doctors hope she will lose up to 50 lbs.
Although she can’t have solid foods yet, Alexis eats about three tablespoons of “mushy” food and feels full, according to her mom.
She is also trying to maintain a positive attitude. “Of course she wants to be healed and done with everything,” says Jenny, “but each day gets better.”
Alexis’s story gained attention in late 2012 when her insurance company refused to pay for weight-loss surgery to treat her hypothalamic obesity, which she developed after having brain surgery two years ago.
That prompted an online crowd-funding campaign, which raised more than $86,000 to help cover surgery expenses.
“It’s amazing how many people care and want to support her,” says Jenny, who has created a Facebook page to post updates on Alexis’s health.
Alexis will return home to Cibolo, Texas, this week.