Before & After Gastric Sleeve with MzTodd, losing 200 pounds!April 11, 2017
Why I Decided to Have WLS
It took almost 20 years for me to finally be comfortable in my own skin. Being a survivor of domestic abuse and other types of abuse, I finally realized that I was beautiful – no matter what size I am. I did have insecurities so I was always dressed wherever I went and made sure I held my head up wherever I went. I didn’t hide – I smiled to show the world that big girls got it going on!
However, at the age of 37, I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. My heart was beating at 35% and I was placed on the UCLA heart transplant list. I was taking 1 beta blocker, 2 high blood pressure pills, 2 water pills, and potassium pills – twice a day. In addition, I had developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome – so eating had become a chore at times.
Within six years, I was removed from the transplant list. With medication, my heart function improved but I was told that I would be on all of those medications for the rest of my life. My primary doctor and my cardiologist had been trying to get me to lose weight for over three years but I told them “no diets and DEFINITELY no surgery.” I was fine just the way I was.
One day in 2014, I realized that I needed to do something – not because I was unhappy but because I had stopped doing some things that I enjoyed like rollercoasters and wearing my cute heels…but I sure didn’t want to diet again.
I had tried Jenny Craig (twice), Nutri System, Atkins diet, the Cabbage Soup diet, Slim Fast and plain old diets – with minimal success but then gain it all back…and more. In addition, the airlines were going to start charging more for seats and my clothes were way too expensive. Truthfully, I was the heaviest that I had ever been in my life. Finally, I agreed to weight loss surgery and my primary physician recommended the Gastric Sleeve.
I weighed 427 pounds and wore a size 5x shirts and dresses, and size 34 jeans. Four weeks before surgery, I was told I had to lose 40 pounds by my surgery date. I did a liquid diet of two Premier Chocolate Protein shakes for breakfast and lunch, yogurt and sugar-free chocolate pudding for snacks, and beef broth. On the morning of surgery, I had lost 37 pounds and weighed 390 pounds.
Before & After Gastric Sleeve with MzTodd
Having Surgery and Life as a Post-Op
Once I decided to have surgery, I was committed to doing everything possible to be successful. I wasn’t about to go through all of this and not. I finished all of classes and requirements, including my psych eval in 1 week and was approved in about 2 weeks.
I was really nervous the day before surgery because I had never had any kind of surgery before – not even a c-section so I didn’t know what to expect. My kids bought me a “Toothless” dragon at Build-A-Bear which I took with me – even into surgery. My weight loss surgery went well, but the surgeon discovered that my heart meds had created a build-up in my heart so I had to be monitored in ICU for about an hour and then placed in the Cardiac Care Unit.
When I left the hospital, my heart meds had been reduced to one-half dosage of the beta blocker and 1 blood pressure pill. At my next visit in February 2017, my Cardiologist will discuss taking me completely off all medications.
I had no pain, no nausea, and no complications from my surgery. I stayed off from work for 4 weeks. I was just starting the pureed food stage when I went back to work. I used that time to figure out what my new lifestyle was going to be, putting together a food schedule for myself for when I started eating real foods.
Losing weight has inspired me to want to do things that I never thought I even wanted to do. I never really felt bad when I was heavier, but I never dreamed that I could actually feel better. I feel incredible and am amazed at how I look. I say that because I didn’t have surgery to look better, I had it because I wanted to live a healthier and happier life.
This has been a huge lifestyle change – I had to change what and how I thought of food and had to break my old mentality of being “a big girl.” I never believed there was anything I couldn’t do because of my weight, just things that I didn’t want to put the extra energy into for me to do.
My Milestones and Non-Scale Victories
WLS has been the best decision I have ever made. It amazes me every day the things that I think about doing just because I realize I can do them now.
My kids and I just finished our fifth 5k in October of this year. We are doing a breast cancer 5K in October.
I am back in my cute heels too.
My bucket list has definitely changed since losing weight, and includes buying myself a pair of thigh high stiletto boots and going to Knotts Berry Farm to ride EVERYTHING!
How ObesityHelp.com Has Been a Part of My Journey
I joined ObesityHelp.com because I enjoy the different forums and the articles.
I also enjoy sharing with others what I have been through so they know that they are never alone and they help me by reminding me where I’ve come from and that I’m never alone either.
I had the absolute pleasure of attending the ObesityHelp.com Conference in September of 2016 and it was the most AMAZING experience I have had! Being in such a supportive atmosphere with a community of people who knew the things that I had been through and was going through. Celebrating each other no matter where you are in your journey.
I met the most wonderful people and made many friends to share this incredible journey with The most important seminar to me was where I learned to stop looking at myself in my past but to see myself as I am now and embrace it all…my new body and my new lifestyle.
I love my tool and am very passionate about supporting others in their journey to be as happy and successful in theirs as I have been in mine.
I attend a weekly WLS support group to share my experiences with others and am the administrator of an online WLS support group. The people in my support groups have held me up through the worst times of my life this year, including the death of my father.
This has been an incredible journey and I am so excited to see where it leads me next! BEST DECISION I HAVE EVER MADE!
Share Your Before & After Success!
Celebrate your own Before & After WLS Success, milestones, non-scale victories, and inspire others! The OH team wants to hear from you to share your weight loss surgery journey. Visit our Before & After Submission page for details.