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113 lbs. Healthier
 
The whole program is so well-rounded, from the orientation with the doctors ... the support group, the nutritional consult ... It's fabulous.
 
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Interviewer: What made you consider weight loss surgery?

Lee: It was mostly my health and my level of activity; they were not what I wanted them to be.

Interviewer: What was your weight before surgery?

Lee: Highest point was 248 pounds.

Interviewer: Tell me a little bit about your experience with Dr. Georgen and Dr. Wasco.
"Incredible, incredible physicians. Wonderful bedside manner. Very accommodating friendly and informative. I just felt like I was in really good hands, especially with Dr. Georgen being a trauma surgeon."


Lee: Dr. Georgen was my primary but I have worked with both of them. Incredible, incredible physicians. Wonderful bedside manner. Very accommodating friendly and informative. I just felt like I was in really good hands, especially with Dr. Georgen being a trauma surgeon. I felt like there was not anyone more skilled or prepared to do my surgery.

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

Lee: I guess the process started with a lot of failed diet attempts. I really hadnít thought of weight loss surgery initially. It was just going to the gym: exercising, working out, joining Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, all the different fad diets and just struggling. Seeing other people going out and eating pretty normal, and Iím living on salad and trying to be really healthy and the weight would not come off. I have just never had that feeling of being full. It was like I should stop because everyone else is done eating. It was like something was just not right. I went to other healthcare professionals even though Iím a health care professional. They looked at me like I was crazy. ďThere is just no way that could be what you eat and this is how much you exercise and this is what you weigh.Ē But it was. So, I got to the point where I just decided I was going to look at different options. I wouldnít say radical. I came to the informational seminar after doing a lot of research. I own every book out there on weight loss surgery; I have like seven of them. I did a lot of research, I read a lot about the different journals. I came to the meeting already knowing thatís what I wanted to do. I just proceeded from there.

Interviewer: Have you had any complications since surgery?

Lee: Yes, I did. Two weeks ago, I had an adhesion that formed around the small bowel, and I had it taken care of laproscopically. Immediately, I woke up in recovery and I was like, ďOh my gosh, I feel so wonderful.Ē The nurse said, ďYouíre in recovery; you had surgery.Ē I said, ďI know,Ē but it was immediate relief.

Interviewer: How far post operatively were you when you developed this?

Lee: Seven months, usually itís in the first 6 months. It was minor; they were surprised that it had caused me to have so much vomiting.

Interviewer: How much weight have you lost?

Lee: Iíve lost 113 ponds in just over 7 months. Iím at my goal.
"Iíve lost 113 ponds in just over 7 months. Iím at my goal."


Interviewer: How has weight loss surgery changed your life?

Lee: I like shopping. I used to think I didnít like shopping, I used to say I didnít like shopping. I hated going to the mall. But really what I hated was the fact that I didnít like how I looked in anything. I think that was just a really big excuse, because now I love to shop. Itís so much fun.

The other thing is it gives you a lot more confidence in who you are. Definitely, more energy. I feel so good; I have so much more energy. Now, I view food as a requirement. Iím not so obsessed about it, I know I need to have so much food or so much protein in a day, so I make sure I get that. But, itís not like I think about it so much. I think about it now as a form of survival this is what I need for nutrition, this is what I need to keep my body going. Itís not like what can I eat today, or what fast food restaurant can I stop at. I donít even have that desire. Itís just changed my view on nutrition. Itís like nutrition and food is to sustain my body not to meet my emotional needs anymore.
"Itís just changed my view on nutrition. Itís like nutrition and food is to sustain my body not to meet my emotional needs anymore."
That has been a big shift. I think the downside to that is there are a lot of things that come out. Everyone copes in some way with things in their life whether it be drugs, alcohol, smoking, food, whatever. I think anyone who has a weight issue uses food as a comforter or a friend, to help them through rough times. Even though you go through the psychiatric consult, and they clear you for it, I think the impact of all of a sudden not having that is like an alcoholic wanting a drink and not having that friend there who used to be able to comfort you and give you something is hard to deal with. It ends up being after the weight loss surgery the weight itself becomes about 90% emotional and itís really only about 10% about food. Where before then, with all the other diets itís about 90% about food and the other 10% emotional. You have to learn other coping skills. You realize areas in your life where there are weakness or gaps and it can be really good. It really takes you on a journey of self-discovery. You give up something that you were maybe hiding behind now all of a sudden you have to deal with things in your life. You are kind of forced to in a way. I donít think itís necessarily a bad thing. You just need to be prepared for it. That is where I think itís great; the weight loss center always encourages people to seek counseling and to see a psychologist or their counselor or whatever they need. They are really big about getting support afterwards and the support group, because it is a loss. It is definitely a loss and you need to be prepared for that. That was the part that was a little harder.

Interviewer: When did you attend your first support group?

Lee: I had surgery on a Wednesday and I attended my first support group on the following Monday. Six days post op. It was extremely beneficial I love the support group meetings. They are really informative. They are extremely beneficial. You get feedback from different people.
"I love the support group meetings. They are really informative. They are extremely beneficial. You get feedback from different people."
Itís inspiring to see other peopleís success and to be able to encourage other people. Also, listen to the times that they struggle and relate to them with your own struggles. They are definitely needed.

Interviewer: Did you do a lot of physical activity before surgery?

Lee: Yes, very much so.

Interviewer: How about now?

Lee: More so now, but I was always very active, but I love that. To me, being active is like second nature. Walking, roller blading, hiking, canoeing, kiacking, kick boxing, riding horses. You name it. Iíll try it.
"Walking, roller blading, hiking, canoeing, kiacking, kick boxing, riding horses. You name it. Iíll try it."
I think that has helped me not to require any type of surgery after the weight loss. You think after losing 113 pounds you would have some sagging skin. I just think because I was so active it really made a difference. The doctors really push it. If you look hard enough, there is something that everyone can find that they really enjoy. You just need to find what works for you.

Interviewer: How did you feel about asking the doctors questions?

Lee: Very comfortable.

Interviewer: Would you recommend MBS to others?

Lee: Oh, I have! I actually have referred patients of my own from family practice. At least a handful of them.

Interviewer: What advice would you give someone who is considering having bariatric surgery?

Lee: Do your research. Be well informed. Definitely use a doctor who is board certified and certified in bariatric surgery who has experience in laparoscopic procedures. I would be well informed. Donít go in not knowing what you are getting into. Donít go somewhere else because itís $5,000 cheaper, because in the end the money doesnít really matter. What matters is the care that you get and the quality of your surgeon. When you really look at the skill of the guy going in to do your surgery. Thatís it right there.

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

Lee: Gaining back my ability to do some of the things that were harder for me to do before. The physical activities that I really enjoyed doing but was hindered by being heavier. Just gaining back that freedom to do whatever I want to do. I didnít have to look at, ďWill I fit in that chair?Ē Whatever I want to do, I can do. I have no barriers anymore. There is nothing that someone can tell me that I cannot do.
"I didnít have to look at, ďWill I fit in that chair?Ē Whatever I want to do, I can do. I have no barriers anymore. There is nothing that someone can tell me that I cannot do."


Interviewer: Anything else you would like to add?

Lee: I would really recommend MBS. The whole program is so well-rounded from the orientation with the doctors that are actually there talking to you, to the support group, the nutritional consult; itís just so well rounded. Itís just fabulous. There is nothing negative about it that I could actually say. Iím pretty hard to please, especially being a healthcare provider. I think we tend to be a little more skeptical because we know what standards of care are. So you are always wondering if the standards of care will be there, and it far exceeded my expectations, which was really nice. Everybody is great, the office staff, the nurses, everybody. Itís the whole thing. Itís wonderful when you come in and the nurses are like, ďOh, you look so great!Ē and they are all excited for you. Itís like you become part of the MBS family. Itís like everyone honestly seems to have your best interest in mind. They care about your success, not just short term. They really care about how you are doing long term. That is pretty unique. Itís not like you had the surgery now you are on your own, just deal with it. Itís really comfort sensitive.
 
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