Weight Loss Patient Testimonial
My name is Sandy, and I am a gastric bypass patient of Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions. I underwent surgery in September 2014 and am 116 pounds lighter than I was a year ago! I’m so excited to share my story. If I can help and inspire someone in the same way that I’ve been inspired by this process and the staff at Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions, then I’ll have made a difference.
I want to first tell you about my weight and health history, so that you’ll know what brought me to Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions (DWLS) in the first place.
My Weight History
I have struggled with my weight my entire adult life. I come from a family who likes to eat, and we did a lot of it! I found that once I married and had my children, my weight really started to get out of control. Over the years, I’d diet, lose a few pounds, then gain it right back—and then some.
Then, in 2010, I was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease. I had to begin some strong medications to treat it. I was experiencing a lot of joint pain, related to both lupus and my weight. Because I hurt so much, I moved even less and continued gaining weight.
In 2013, I spoke to my rheumatologist (Dr. Richard Bell at Deaconess Clinic) about whether he thought that I should consider weight loss surgery. I weighed 298 pounds on my 5’6” frame, and I was miserable. He and I agreed that I should look into it. That brought me to an informational seminar offered by DWLS. DWLS offers regular free seminars to provide information and answer questions that people may have regarding various bariatric weight loss surgeries. I attended one in July of 2013.
Dr. Burry, one of the bariatric surgeons, and a dietitian were there. They explained the entire process, from evaluation, to preparing for surgery, to the surgery itself, and then “life after” in such a way that I could begin to feel like I’d know what I was getting into.
After that, I scheduled an appointment at DWLS for my initial consult. I met with the weight loss physician and we worked through any potential issues with my health (my lupus as well as my high blood pressure and high cholesterol). He agreed that I was likely a good candidate for surgery, and so he started me on the process to prepare for surgery and the rest of my life afterwards.
Preparing for Surgery
There are multiple things to consider in preparing for weight loss surgery. Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions has a careful, thorough, thoughtful process to help people get ready.
I met with various health experts. This was for several reasons including the fact I had to lose 5% of my body weight prior to surgery. I needed to prove that I had the knowledge, will and ability to change my eating habits in the way I would have to after surgery. The experts I met included:
- A DWLS Nurse: The nurse was the first person I saw at each appointment. She would weigh me, check my overall health, and discuss medications and issues.
- Dietitian: I regularly met with a dietitian. I attended classes, got healthy recipes, learned to read food labels, got helpful handouts, etc. I learned so much from the dietitian and am now happy to say that I’m confident about what it means to eat healthy, nutritious foods.
- Exercise Specialist: When I first started my pain level was very high, but she gave me simple exercises to start moving. With my weight and lupus I had significant pain but with her help, I built on what I COULD do and became more active, even in tiny steps.
- Behavioral Health Expert: I met with a counselor to discuss all the emotions and feelings around my weight. I admit that when I learned I’d have to meet with a counselor, I thought that was ridiculous. Once I met with him, it made complete sense. In addition to making sure I was physically healthy and prepared, DWLS wanted to be sure that I was emotionally healthy. Weight loss surgery has significant emotional implications, and there are things to work through to make sure your mind and soul are as ready as your body is.
- I want to state that I never once felt judged by any of these professionals through the entire process. At the beginning, I was apprehensive and felt almost shameful about coming because I was so heavy. But the staff was always on my side.
Finally, ten days prior to my surgical date, I started a full liquid diet of Optifast (provided by DWLS). During that time, I dropped several more pounds. By my surgery date, September 9, 2014, I was down to 282 pounds.
My surgery was done at Deaconess Hospital. I had gastric bypass, which is where the stomach pouch is reduced to a very small size (about the size of a large egg). The surgery is done laparoscopically, through 5 small incisions in the abdomen, much the same as a gall bladder surgery.
I was pleasantly surprised to say that I had minimal discomfort. I had prepared myself that I may be hurting, but I wasn’t. It was nothing like I’d imagined. I didn’t even finish my bottle of pain medication.
I stayed in the hospital three days (2 nights) and went home on an all liquid diet. I was able to gradually transition from clear liquids to full liquids to soft foods and eventually to more “normal” foods. I was taught all of this ahead of time by the dietitians, and I had a binder with me as a constant guide.
Life After Surgery
After my surgery in mid-September, I gradually transitioned to be able to eat a full, well-balanced diet—although very small portions of things. By Thanksgiving, I was able to eat some turkey, vegetables and some other traditional foods.
I now eat multiple small meals a day, and I continue to lose weight. I currently weigh 182 pounds. My goal is about 155 or so, and I’m on my way!
Daily Food Intake
A normal day of eating:
- Breakfast: coffee with creamer, and light Greek yogurt (black cherry)
- Morning snack: a whole plum
- Lunch: salad with diced turkey, lettuce, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes w/light ranch dressing
- Afternoon snack: ½ banana
- Dinner: taco soup made w/lean beef, lots of vegetables and seasoning·
- Evening snack: sugar-free popsicle·
- LOTS of water in between.
I don’t feel deprived, I don’t feel ravenously hungry, and I enjoy eating. I don’t eat the quantity I used to, but I enjoy eating as much as I ever did. In fact, I enjoy eating more now because I feel better and feel “refueled” by what I eat, rather than feeling “dragged down” by unhealthy food that I used to eat.
Here’s a list of my current medications:
- No more blood pressure medication
- No more cholesterol medication
- No more “super powerful” lupus treatment
- My daily lupus maintenance drug dosage has been cut in half.
Before my surgery, I lived in pain. I woke up hurting, I couldn’t do everything I wanted to during the day, and then went to bed in pain. I’ve always enjoyed my life and my family, but I was so large and unhealthy I couldn’t enjoy a lot of activities and other things that used to make me happy.
Now that I’m so much healthier, I actually feel lighter—both physically and emotionally. I stand taller. I feel more confident. I don’t hurt like I used to. I have no regrets except that I waited so long! I can’t say that I “got my life back,” because honestly, I’ve never felt as good as I do now. I got a NEW life.
Visit our Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions pages to learn more about our services including informational seminars, the surgical process, and non-surgical options.