2009, 18 mos. after surgery
2008, just before surgery
When I first considered bariatric surgery, I was concerned that the procedure would be a “cop out”…that I should be able to lose weight by myself…that I just needed to exercise more and eat less. During my initial consultation with Dr. Johnell, he described the stomach band as a tool. As I learned more about the procedure and how the body works, I came to believe that the stomach band was a tool that I needed to dig myself out of the metabolic hole that I had gotten myself into. Dr. Johnell emphasized that a life long change in diet and exercise would be necessary for the tool to work. Along with the nutritionist, individual counseling, and support groups, this tool has enabled me to make that change in life style successfully.
My family, friends, and co-workers have been extremely positive and supportive throughout the process. Even acquaintances have expressed nothing but happiness and support for me. I have been asked if I feel like a whole new person. My response to that question is no. I was a valued person before the weight loss, however, I do enjoy life at a different level now and feel more confident about my health in the future.
Many bariatric patients state that their primary reason for their participation in this process is for their health. That was true to an extent for me since I was concerned that I would develop late onset diabetes like my mother. Yet it is also very true that I wanted to lose weight so that I would look better. A less anticipated outcome is that I am more able and motivated to participate in a greater variety of activities. For example, I ran a 10k race and also went skiing for the first time in twenty years.
I am asked frequently how I achieved my weight loss. I was somewhat uncomfortable to mention the bariatric surgery initially because I was afraid of being judged. I have found that this is not true. I now readily tell others about the process emphasizing that the significant change in diet and exercise was a necessary part of the process. I tell them that the band was also a necessary part of the process. I have lost from 50 to 75 pounds a few times previously yet was not able to maintain that loss. I feel confident that I will now be able to maintain the loss.
I am speaking about my experience because it has been overwhelmingly positive. I believe that this process can be individualized and successful for each person and would like to share what I have learned with others.