Meet Our Successful Patients

Meet a few of our successful weight loss patients and hear their success stories.

Nadine

Procedure: Sleeve Gastrectomy
Date of surgery: March 2009
Height: 5’ 6”
Weight before surgery: 382 lbs.
Total weight loss: 155 lbs

What was life like before sleeve gastrectomy surgery?

I was on medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, water retention and anxiety. All of my joints hurt from the extra weight I was carrying around. I was unable to participate physically with my family and I was missing out on being able to enjoy my grandchildren while they were young.

Why did you decide to have weight loss surgery?

I had tried every diet but nothing ever worked. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, TOPS, Nutri-system and of course the Phen-Phen diet. I had been researching surgery for years but could never afford it and my insurance refused to pay for anything related to obesity. Eventually my husband and family knew how badly I wanted and needed it so we cashed in a 401K after we decided my children and grandchildren would rather have me alive and healthy now than have my money when I was dead.

What has been your biggest post-surgery challenge?

I guess I count myself lucky that I haven’t found my life after surgery to have any significant challenges.

How has weight loss surgery changed your life?

I now have a tremendous amount of energy. My joints don’t ache constantly and my feet and ankles no longer swell up. I can now do all the activities I haven’t been able to do for so many years. My self-esteem has improved 100%. I can now walk into a room of people I don’t know with my head held high instead of with my eyes downward hoping people won’t stare at me because of how large I am. I no longer am afraid of sitting down on a chair when offered for fear it might break from my weight. These are just a few examples. People are now taking the time to get to know the “real me” not just judging me on my outer experience.

What is your advice for others considering weight loss surgery?

Make sure that you thoroughly research the different types of surgeries available. Make sure that you have a complete understanding of what is expected before and after the surgery. Understand that in order for the surgery to be a success you will have to make a lot of changes for life. The surgery is just a tool to help you with your goal.

Surgery is a life long commitment. Discuss it with your family and gain their support. Realize that surgery is just a few hours, it takes time for your body to heal and more time for your mind to understand and accept the surgery.

To be successful, follow the doctor’s instructions and recommendations, all of them, not just the easy ones. Realize that surgery is to improve your overall health, not to make you look perfect. There is a good chance that you will have excess skin after the weight loss so be prepared for that. Understand the risks involved, ask a lot of questions so you can make an informed decision.


Terra AfterTerra

Procedure: Lap-Band
Date of surgery: July, 2007
Height: 5' 4
Weight before surgery: 285 lbs.
Total weight loss: 166 lbs

What life was like before weight loss surgery?

Living was tiring, I couldn't run and play with my kids like I wanted to. My feet, back and hips hurt all the time to the point of tears at the end of the day. I had high blood pressure & high cholesterol. Everything took more effort and even tying my shoes got to be a chore.

Why did you decide to have Lap-Band surgery?

I was sick of letting my weight hold me back from life. I had tried many diets, some with short term success, but the hunger pains and weight would always come back along with a little more. Then my health really started to diminish - I had chest pains, blood pressure issues, cholesterol issues. Then one of my family members who was close to my age had to have open heart surgery. As I sat there waiting for her to get out of surgery I knew that could - and most likely would - be me if i didn't do something about my weight once and for all. I just wanted to be happy and healthy and be able to play with my kids and to see them get married and have their own children someday...

Terra BeforeWhat has been your biggest challenge with Lap-Band surgery?

My biggest post surgery challenge has been to get my mind wrapped around the new me... seeing myself as others see me now has been a challenge. I look at pictures with me in them and I think who is that? then I realize its me. It's exciting but mind blowing at the same time that i am actually a healthy, normal-sized person now. A lot of people have told me along the way I took the easy way out. Make no mistake, this is not the easy way out. The surgery is just a tool and must be treated as such. I still have to have self control when it comes to sweets or lattes.

How life has changed with weight loss surgery:

My life has changed so much since the surgery. I am healthy, my blood pressure is great and so is my cholesterol. I don't sit around worrying that I will drop over dead from a heart attack all the time like before. My feet, back and hips don't hurt at all anymore. Best of all I can play with my kids. We go for long bike rides, hiking and swimming. I can fit in a booth at a restaurant without fear of getting stuck! A bath towel wraps around me now...(maybe not a big deal to a normal-sized person but to a bigger person it's a big deal to have a towel fit around you!). I have more confidence now. I am willing to put myself out in the world and do things that my weight has always held me back from.

Advice for others considering weight loss surgery:

This is a journey not to be taken lightly but one to be excited about! When you go from living to eat to eating to live it can be hard but it is so worth it in the end. I would take this journey with the ups and downs all over again in a moment. It has made me realize how strong I really am and how precious this life is. Thank God for second chances and don’t forget to take your vitamins!


Teheresa AfterTeheresa

Procedure: Distal gastric bypass
Date of surgery: November 2004
Height: 5’ 6”
Weight before surgery: 282 lbs.
Total weight loss: 147 lbs

Why she had distal gastric bypass surgery:

I was always the chubby child growing up. I was not motivated and was your typical couch potato. I tried all of the popular diets and tried to go it alone. I suffered from fatigue and had a lot of aching joints from my extra weight.

Teheresa BeforeHer biggest post procedure challenge:

I have a young daughter and in addition take care of some other children so being laid up after surgery was difficult. The protein shakes took some getting used to but now I am used to them. It is all part of a new life that is so much better.

How life has changed with the distal gastric bypass surgery:

The biggest change for me has been the amount of energy I have. Previously I was just a couch potato and was always tired. Now I run circles around others - including my daughter. She tells me - You're a princess mommy! I always wanted to be the princess - not the chubby kid in the corner.

Advice for other considering gastric bypass surgery:

You really have to plan out how you are going to handle your new life. It is possible to gain the weight back if you think you can just wing it. Of course, learn all you can. A great way to do this is to attend the support groups. I still go to the group that meets at St. Francis.


Sallie AfterSallie

Procedure: Medial gastric bypass
Date of surgery: August 2004
Height: 5’ 9”
Weight before surgery: 363 lbs.
Total weight loss: 204lbs

Why did she have medial gastric bypass surgery?

I just didn’t have much of a life. I just worked and slept 10-12 hours a night. Being morbidly obese—a lot of it is emotional. I would drive around forever to find the closest spot so I didn’t have to walk. If my friends wanted to sit outside to eat in those little plastic chairs, the whole time I would worry that the chair might break. There are so many limitations. Little, teeny things that a normal sized person would never even think of.

Sallie BeforeHer biggest post procedure challenge:

Making sure I exercise and take all my vitamins. That’s a LOT of vitamins. The weight just comes off, but after about a year—you HAVE to make good exercise choices, you HAVE to make good food choices.

How life has changed since gastric bypass surgery:

The surgery and weight loss give you more control of your life. It allows you to set boundaries. It gives you confidence—in relationships, in activities, everything. You realize, if you can do this, you can do anything you set your mind to.

Advice for other considering weight loss surgery:

The most important thing is: don’t think surgery will change your life on its own. It will at first but you have to take control. Understand all the rules, and stick to them. Don’t try to see what you can get away with. I’ve seen a counselor throughout and I find it helpful. You still don’t want to get up in the morning to go exercise. It IS easier as a thinner person than as an obese person, but it’s still hard.


Rochelle AfterRochelle

Procedure: Gastric bypass
Date of surgery: August 2003
Height: 5’ 5”
Weight before surgery: 242 lbs.
Total weight loss: 113 lbs

Why did she want the weight loss surgery?

I was focused on eating all of the time. I would get rashes in the heat and got tired from walking just short distances. I hated to shop for clothes. My family is obese. My weight was constantly increasing as I got older. My blood pressure was rising as well. I had issues with stroke, diabetes and blood pressure. My father’s health scared me and I knew I had to make a life change.

Rochelle BeforeHer biggest post procedure challenge:

It is difficult to get in all of the protein shakes on a regular basis as well as the vitamins. I have had a hard time with anemia.

How life has changed since gastric bypass surgery:

Wow! People are so much nicer to me now. I love to shop for clothes and have so many more options. I can wear summer clothes comfortably.

Advice for other considering gastric bypass surgery:

Do your homework. Be as informed as you can be. Make sure that it is your decision and not anybody else’s. Utilize your resources. Obesityhelp.com has a wealth of information. Married couples need to seek out counseling and therapy. The non affected spouse can have their own issues and it can cause a lot of strife that may lead to divorce. Confronting these issues before surgery is critical to the relationship.


Sean AfterSean

Procedure: Distal RNY gastric bypass
Date of surgery: March, 2003
Height: 6’ 5”
Weight before surgery: 474 lbs.
Total weight loss: 275 lbs

Why he had distal RNY gastric bypass surgery:

At the age of 25 I was told that I had less than a year to live… I had several co-morbidities such as sleep apnea, hypertension, type two diabetes, and cardiomyopathy. My liver function was horrible and my kidneys were beginning to shut down. It was only a matter of time before my body 'gave out' due to my extreme obesity.

His biggest post-procedure challenge with weight loss surgery:

Sean BeforeMy biggest post-surgery challenge has been adjusting to eating smaller quantities of food, and not relying on food as a 'reward.' I used to eat excessively when I was happy, or sad, so finding a new avenue for emotional venting has been something new for me to learn.

How life has changed:

Life is GREAT now! I love being able to do anything, and everything that I’ve missed out on while I was overweight. All of my co-morbidities have disappeared and I now have a normal life span.

Advice for others considering distal RNY gastric bypass surgery:

Be sure to do your research when selecting a surgeon. Definitely get into a support group for bypass patients before and after surgery, and most importantly take all of your vitamins and protein supplements that your surgeon recommends.