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276 lbs. Healthier
ďThis surgery has completely changed my life Ė 100%Ē
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Interviewer: Ryann, tell me about your weight loss surgery. What prompted you to consider it?

Ryann: What prompted me to consider having surgery was because if I didnít have something done I would be lucky to be alive for another two years. That put a little kick in my heart, so I made the decision that I was going to do this. It was a matter of my health. My uncle went through the surgery three years ago and he was an inspiration to me because I saw what happened to him. I put my mind to it and went ahead with the surgery.

Interviewer: Take me through your decision process of having weight loss surgery.

Ryann: I had a lot of medical problems before having this surgery. I had diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. The only way to help my diabetes and high blood pressure was to lose weight. I couldnít do it any other way. Iíve tried many diets and other ways to lose weight but nothing worked. I came to the conclusion that I needed help and made the decision to have the surgery to help with all of my other health problems. Since having the weight loss surgery, Iíve been cleared of having diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. I donít have to take any medications.

Interviewer: Tell me how you felt after the surgery.

Ryann: I had the surgery on December 26th, 2002. Right after the surgery, I was put in intensive care for a day and a half, mainly because of my pre-existing medical conditions. By two days after the surgery, I was feeling much better and able to have visitors. The first three months were difficult Ė I needed help to do anything because of my weight. I couldnít walk normal or reach my own body parts.

This surgery has completely changed my life Ė 100%. It feels wonderful to be able to take care of myself, to do things that I couldnít do before and to just be able to be with my family since I probably wouldnít be here if I hadnít had the surgery. Iím appreciative that the medical expansion has come up with this surgery that is better than stomach stapling or any other procedure.

I had Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea before the surgery and havenít taken any of my medication since before the surgery.
ďI had Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea before the surgery and havenít taken any of my medication since before the surgery.Ē

Interviewer: Did you deal more with Dr. Wasco, Dr. Georgen or with both of them?

Ryann: I worked with both of them. They both tell me all the time that Iím such an inspiration for people who have the same problems as I had.

Interviewer: What was your prognosis if you hadnít had the surgery?

Ryann: Basically, if I hadnít had the surgery, Iíd be lucky to be alive for another two years. They had to cut through 8-12 inches of fatty tissue to get to my inside organs. Not only that, but the fatty tissue was compressing against my heart and only half of my heart was working. There was only a 20 percent chance that I was going to make it through the surgery. Iím healthy today and it makes me want to cry because Iím so happy.

Interviewer: Did the doctors make a big difference in your experience?

Ryann: Both doctors were very supportive and they do a wonderful job. They were an inspiration to me because they sat down and talked with me about everything that they were concerned about with my health. That helped me make my decision to go ahead with the surgery. Their bariatric nurse, Betsy Winnekens, was 100% working for me to help me get this surgery. The surgeons have been such a help to my life and I owe them such thanks. Doing this interview is a small way for me to say thank you to the doctors for helping me with making a new life. Iíve wanted to get my story out there because this has been such a help to me. If there is anyone out there who is thinking about having the surgery, Iíd say, ďGo for it!Ē I wouldnít have any second guesses.

Can you imagine going from 575 pounds to 299 pounds in eleven months? Thatís what I did Ė I lost 276 pounds in eleven months. I feel like a whole new person.

Interviewer: How much more weight do you want to lose?

Ryann: My goal is to get down to 200. Soon Iím having another surgery where theyíll remove about 60 pounds of excess skin.

Interviewer: Can you talk a little about the support that youíve received through this procedure?

Ryann: Iíve had all kinds of support from the doctors, family and friends. Going through this made me realize who the people are that truly care for me.

Interviewer: Before the surgery did you try many different diets?

Ryann: Yes, I tried everything from Herbalife, Dexatrim, Weight Watchers, Slimfast, Atkins, but nothing worked. I came to the point that I had to do something different.

Interviewer: Tell me about the most challenging part for you during the whole process.

Ryann: The most challenging part was the time that it took to get my insurance to approve of the surgery. It took eleven months to get it approved. The doctors were sending letters saying that it was a matter of life or death for me. In November they found out that I was approved for my surgery and I had the surgery in December. As far as the procedure, the sleep studies, meeting with the dietitian, that all went great.

Early post-op I had problems taking deep breaths to expand my lungs. But that was minor compared to the things that could have happened to me if I hadnít had this done. The hardest part about recovery time was spending many months bed-ridden with drainage tubes.

All in all, it was a pretty easy process and an easy decision to make. The surgeons and Betsy make it even easier because they work with you. I even called them once at 2am with questions about my drainage tube and they answered all of my questions.
ďI even called them [Midwest Bariatric Solutions] once at 2am with questions about my drainage tube and they answered all of my questions.Ē

Interviewer: Are there any other challenges that youíre facing now and how are you overcoming them?

Ryann: Now that Iíve lost so much weight and Iím making myself look a thousand times better, the only challenge Iím now facing is that Iím going to be 30 years old and I want to get married. Now that I can do things, I dress up in hopes of meeting a future wife. Now that Iíve lost so much weight and have more energy, I want to get on with life; possibly have kids someday. When I was big, I didnít know if I could even have kids. Now itís just a matter of time to meet the right person.

Interviewer: Whatís the best thing about having the surgery?

Ryann: Itís getting on with my life. Itís how much itís changed my health. I lost my diabetes, I lost my high blood pressure and I lost my sleep apnea. Iím not down to where I should be for my age and height, so Iím not 100% healthy, but I feel 100% healthier than I did. My joints feel great. I can walk and play 18 holes of golf. I couldnít swing a golf club before. Itís sort of overwhelming, but itís a wonderful experience. If anyone is considering it, I say ďGo for it.Ē
ďI can walk and play 18 holes of golf. I couldnít swing a golf club before.Ē

Interviewer: What could you do before the surgery? What was your life like?

Ryann: My life before surgery was miserable. I could barely drive a car to get myself anywhere. I couldnít really do anything. I tried to play golf, but that didnít work. I didnít have the energy to do anything. I pretty much sat on the couch. I didnít have a life. Since the surgery, I have a life again. I go out and do things that I havenít been able to do since I was in high school. It feels so good that Iím able to do these things now. When I didnít have the energy to do anything, it got to be pretty boring and lonely.

Interviewer: What was your weight when you graduated from high school?

Ryann: My weight was around 350. Since then it gradually kept increasing. It was even hard to hold a job at that size. I was a truck driver, but lost my job because I couldnít pass the DOT physical. I couldnít find work because I couldnít be on my feet for any extended period of time and couldnít find anything that I could do. I had no income, so I applied through the state of Wisconsin for disability so I could have the surgery. After this next surgery Iím going to get off disability and get a full time job.

Interviewer: Would you recommend weight loss surgery to someone in the same situation?

Ryann: If the doctors say youíre a candidate for the surgery, I would definitely recommend it. Iím willing to talk about it with anyone who has any questions. I canít say enough about what this has done for me.
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