Patient Success Story Interview – The Good, The Bad & The Best of All!!

Steph Wagner

September 29, 2014

I asked one of my patients (and friends) to answer several questions about her weight-loss story. I’m excited she agreed and now I get to share it with you! While it isn’t over, because journeys never are, she has truly found success in losing the weight. She made the personal decision to tell only the closest people in her life about her weight-loss surgery, so I will not be sharing photos or her name. As you can imagine, after losing 160 pounds she looks amazing and feels as good as she looks! Read her interview below and I hope it brings you encouragement. She’s a beautiful girl who now has the confidence to believe it!

*Tell us about your weight struggle prior to surgery

I was overweight my entire life, while a dysfunctional thyroid attributed to the weight gain I had no excuse except for my own inaction. I’d failed at multiple diets, tried medications, fads, national chains, etc. I had honestly given up. Then I suffered a tragic loss in my life which made me take a harder look at what I was doing. Because of family history I knew that the road I was on lead only one place.

*Share with us what led you to surgery and what brought you to ultimately make the decision?

Luckily one of my mom’s friends had had the surgery and started talking about it. I’ll never forget that first session with Dr. B, I felt immediately comfortable and then double bonus met the amazing dietitian on staff. Dr. B made a statement along the lines of if you have one more fight left in you then maybe this isn’t for you. I knew I had no more fight in me, I had given up and accepted my weight, Dr. B gave me hope again, for my life not just my weight. Everything I read and learned about the surgery made me more comfortable as I went forward. I loved the people and the possibilities.

*Did you feel well supported in your decision?

Most definitely, I haven’t shared with everyone that I’ve had the surgery but those that know have always been there for me.

*Tell us what surgery you had on what date. If comfortable, share how much weight you’ve lost

I had the vertical sleeve on Oct 27, 2011 and am down a total of 160 lbs!

*How where the early weeks and months after surgery?

Hell… There’s really no other way to put it. I had extreme nausea, trouble swallowing, vomiting, it was awful. Immediately questioned everything.

*Tell us about your life now…how it’s different..what you miss and what you love more than ever.

While it makes me slightly annoyed, I’m taken more seriously now (which is more because of my confidence and how I carry myself and not as much about how I look). My career has blossomed and I’m happier. To be honest not all friends stayed with me through the transition because they felt I changed too much, but looking back at who I was and who I’ve become I’d never go back to who I was. Reunions and running into people from my past is extremely exciting. As far as dates, we’ll I actually have them now! I get hit on in bars and in public, it’s fun!! I actually like going on trips and vacations, no more seat belt extenders for me!! It’s the small things. I will always miss the burn of a nice cold coke. I loved coke.

*How do you stay focused on a healthy bariatric diet in the midst of a busy life? 

To be honest starting a new job and moving got me a bit off track but reminding myself where I came from keeps me focused and exercise is addicting :)

*What do you feel was the biggest challenge in your journey…and is it still a struggle?

Eating too fast, with life being so busy and hectic the urge to scarf down a meal and move on to the next thing is always something I’ve struggled with.

*What goals do you have for yourself these days? 

Staying healthy, while I had a desired weight and wanted to be “skinny” healthy is always the main focus and fitting into my cute new clothes. Shopping for size 6/8 is so much better than 22/24!!!

*What words of advice and encouragement would you like to share with other postop patients or patients starting the process to surgery?

Go in with your eyes open, it isn’t easy!!! But getting off track is incredibly easy. Don’t take the first year for granted, use it wisely and work to fix your bad habits. The struggle doesn’t end when you reach your goal weight, it’s forever. You can’t take it back and you will gain the weight back. Don’t view it as the easy way, it most definitely isn’t easy!

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