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140 lbs. Healthier
Michelle is now one year post-op and her friends and family are amazed at how great she looks.
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Interviewer: What made you consider weight loss surgery?

Michelle: The fact that Iíve been dieting for my whole life helped me consider it. In the last eleven years Iíve tried every diet imaginable. If youíd have come to me 2 Ĺ years ago, I would have said there was no way Iíd consider having weight loss surgery because I thought there were huge risks.

I kept doing diets. Iíd lose 20 pounds and that would be the end of it, so I started to consider it. It took me a year and a half to make the decision. My surgery was December 12, 2002. Iím now 30 years old and had the surgery when I was 28.

Interviewer: What was your weight before your surgery?

Michelle: My weight was 297. I had been heavy for my whole life. I had three children and weight had always been a struggle for me. In ninth grade, I lost 40 pounds but it slowly kept creeping back up. When I was pregnant with my 12-year-old, I gained over 100 pounds.

I did Weight Watchers five times, Fen/Phen, Zoloft, every diet you can imagine. I could think of 16 different diets Iíve been on.
ďWhen Iíd look in the mirror Iíd call myself names and be very negative about myself.Ē

Interviewer: Take me through your decision process to have weight loss surgery.

Michelle: I went on the Internet to find information on bariatric programs. I think what took me to the point of wanting to have the surgery was because I was turning very negative about myself. When Iíd look in the mirror Iíd call myself names and be very negative about myself. I didnít want my children to catch on to that and become negative about themselves. No one could tell anything from the outside because I was always a very positive, energetic person.

I researched through the Internet on what I would have to do. I went on the www.obesityhelp.com Web site to get more information. Thatís where I learned more about the bariatric surgery. Itís where I learned enough about the procedure that I decided this is what I needed to do. I then went to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, and they put me in touch with Dr. Georgenís office. I asked them what I needed to do to get this process going. I was scared because itís a huge decision and itís not something to be taken lightly. It took a year and a half for me to make the decision. No one even knew that I was looking into doing this until about six months before.

I have asthma, my heart was skipping a beat, I had borderline high blood pressure and I couldnít breathe going up stairs. I couldnít sit in a booth in restaurants.
ďI was scared because itís a huge decision and itís not something to be taken lightly.Ē

Interviewer: Tell me a little more about your experience with Dr. Wasco and Dr. Georgen.

Michelle: I mostly worked with Dr. Wasco. Both doctors are wonderful. They gave me a book that gave me specific instructions on what I could eat from month to month. Their office staff is wonderful. There has not been a time when Iíve called there and they have not gotten back to me with the answers that I need. It can be very frustrating because this is a life changing process, but Iíve never once been frustrated with them.

Interviewer: Do you still visit the doctorsí office?

Michelle: Every three months I go back. I weigh in and we discuss how things are going. I didnít think this wasnít going to work. I thought Iíd lose 20 pounds and that would be it, but this is working for me.
ďI thought Iíd lose 20 pounds and that would be it, but this is working for me.Ē

Interviewer: How much weight have you lost?

Michelle: Iíve lost 140 pounds total. I was 297, now Iím at 157.

Interviewer: Have you had any complications after the surgery?

Michelle: I did have a bubble along my incision. It had something to do with a pocket of fatty tissue, but it wasnít a big deal. Things have gone very smoothly for me.

Interviewer: How has the weight loss surgery changed your life?

Michelle: I use my asthma inhalers only once a day. My blood pressure is very low now, my knees and ankles donít hurt, my heart doesnít skip a beat anymore, and I have so much more energy.

Interviewer: What was your most challenging moment in the whole process?

Michelle: I was probably at the three-month point and I went for an appointment. I didnít know what I supposed to eat, was I doing things right? I was just very frustrated because I didnít know if I was eating the right things, and I needed support so that I wouldnít fall back into my old habits. I was a recovering food junkie and I needed help. Their staff was there to help me work through my frustrations. They gave me the support that I needed. You always have to be conscious of what youíre putting into your mouth.

Interviewer: What about exercise?

Michelle: Right after surgery I started walking. I went back to Curves for awhile, but then when summer came I stopped going as much. I swam in our pool a lot and walked a lot. In physical therapy for my back they also recommended doing Pilates, so Iíve been doing that also.

Interviewer: What was the best thing about having weight loss surgery?

Michelle: Just being able to fit into my desk at school. I can put my feet up on chairs. There are so many things.

Interviewer: Did you do a lot of physical activity when you were heavier?

Michelle: Yes, Iíve always worked out. I was exercising every day. I think my body got completely confused since I was doing so many different diets.

My friends and family are amazed at how I look and think itís great.
ďMy friends and family are amazed at how I look and think itís great.Ē

Interviewer: Did you have extreme health issues because of your weight?

Michelle: For me everything was border line. My levels for diabetes and high blood pressure were border line. I had female problems that were all related to my weight. I didnít have any issues that were keeping me down, but I knew they were coming if I hadnít done something about my weight.

Interviewer: What would you tell someone who is thinking about having this surgery.

Michelle: My biggest recommendation would be to not jump into it. Do a lot of research, know what youíre doing, think about what youíve done in the past to lose weight and be willing to make the life long commitment that it is. Take advantage of the seminars and talk with the doctors.

Interviewer: Would you recommend Midwest Bariatric Solutions?

Michelle: Without a question Iíd recommend going to Midwest Bariatric Solutions. I did look into another place located farther away and was willing to travel there to have the procedure, but I knew there had to be someone locally that did the procedure. When I saw Dr. Georgen and Dr. Wascoís name I knew that Dr. Wasco was very nice and everyone that I had talked to had very good things to say.

I had also talked to another woman from Oshkosh who had the same procedure at Midwest Bariatric Solutions and she didnít have any problems and said the doctors were wonderful.

When they had a two-hour seminar about the surgery, the fact that the doctors actually did the seminar in person was amazing to me. There was over an hour of people just asking questions. I donít know of any other physicians who would have done that.

Overall itís been such a positive experience Ė with the doctors, nurses and everything.
ďWhen they had a two-hour seminar about the surgery, the fact that the doctors actually did the seminar in person was amazing to me.Ē
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