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Before & After
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Surgeon TestimonialSashidhar Ganta, M.D.I first met Dr. Ganta a couple of years ago when I went to seminar in his office. I had been looking at weight loss surgery for several years and was getting closer to making the decision to do it. He didn't say too awful much beyond the mechanics of the surgery, but he came off as a very competent, reserved and caring surgeon. When I made the decision earlier this year to do it, I did not hesitate and made an appointment with Ganta. I should say that I had contacted others, but the office wouldn't stop mailing or emailing me. I was impressed that Ganta's office sent me mailing list stuff, but took me off when asked and they didn't push. It was my decision and they left me alone to make it. Having said that, they still had all of my information from the seminar so getting an appointment was easy.
Even though I was self-pay, I was still required to do a fitness and psyche evaluation (all done in his office) and meet with a nutritionist. I liked that. It made me get more prepared and also made me realize that I needed more help to deal with the emotional aspects so I went out and found a counselor to meet with (which I highly recommend to everyone, she keeps me in my right head space). The psychology, fitness and nutrition appointments all went very well, I get the feeling Dr. Ganta likes good people around him and goes to lengths to obtain that.
My only negative about the office is that they sometimes take a long time to reply to emails or they lose them. None of the important ones, but sometimes general questions seem to go into the ether. I had a few times that I had to send a follow up email a week later to get an answer. As someone that works mostly through email, I do wish they were a little more responsive. Anytime I need anything immediate, I usually call and they're very responsive by phone though!
My first one on one meeting with Dr. Ganta was during my consult. I have never felt so un-rushed in my entire life. He acted as though I was the only patient he had that day and was more than willing to sit there for as long as I needed to talk about options and answer my questions. He also asked me questions about what I knew of each procedure, gave me additional information, asked what procedure I thought I wanted and then asked me questions as to why. So, he wasn't there to just sign or do whatever I wanted, he wanted me to really think about what I was doing and why. At the end of the day, he agreed with what I wanted for the reasons I laid out, but he also gave me some additional food for thought as far as complications that I hadn't considered. I left there feeling very confident in my choice of surgeons and in his ability.
I will tell you that he comes off very reserved and quiet. Which kind of means when he says something, you listen because it's going to be important. His bedside manner is very gentle and matter-of-fact. At first I thought he might not have a sense of humor, but he certainly does, it's just a little dark and dry, which I kinda like. During our consult I mentioned that I knew he had a low rate of complications, leaks, etc. He said, "oh, we've had a few leaks, but I haven't lost anyone yet". It was the perfect thing to say to me because I've got that slightly off-kilter humor myself and I was a little nervous. I like that he was able to read that.
Having said that, if you need a surgeon that is all hugs and rainbows, Dr. Ganta might not be the right one for you. I wanted someone that I would (literally) feel comfortable putting my life in their hands and he was the right person for that. His office staff definitely makes up for any rainbows you are missing. That's not to say he doesn't have a great personality, he's just a little more reserved, but he listens and he's even cracked a smile and joke now and then.
I saw him once again at the pre-op appointment a few days before surgery and, again, he was unhurried and I felt like he would have been more than happy to sit there and answer my questions until I was fully satisfied and okay. I like that. All too often, doctors seem to be in a really big hurry and I feel bad for asking questions. He wasn't like that at all. I was free to ask anything I needed. I even had a small list - some were probably silly questions - but he didn't mind answering them and then making sure I understood.
He was great before surgery, he stopped in, made sure I was okay, reminded me what we were going to do. Let my husband know how long he expected it to take, made sure he had a way to get in touch with him afterwards, etc. I didn't see him again until discharge the next day where he made sure I understood all the post op instructions, made sure I had a follow up appointment scheduled and smiled and wished me well along the way.
I did have to call a few days after surgery because of nasty muscle pain that won't go away and the Lortab wasn't helping. It was after hours and he answered the phone himself. He listened and then called in an additional medication. He answered the phone himself - I was impressed with that. I didn't have to wait 30 minutes. I didn't have to explain my problem to several people until someone finally let me talk to the doctor. He answered. He handled it.
He seems to take after-care very seriously. In fact, for his cash pay clients, he includes a year of follow up. His pre-op and post-op diet is very strict and seems to be slightly more strict than others I've seen online. He did his part and he fully expects you to be accountable for doing your part. This has been true as I moved up to each level of food and beyond. I'm currently about 7 months out and have found his no nonsense refreshing. He did his part, now it's my turn to do mine.
I love the office. They always remember who I am, always smile, always say I look great (cuz I do, darn it!), and are very laid back. Dr. Ganta is always warm and inviting, he's still reserved a bit, but he can laugh with me while giving me pointers on what I need to be doing and things I can try as time goes on and this whole journey continues to take shape.
Overall, I've been very impressed with him and his office and I would not hesitate to recommend them to others (and already have!). I've done a lot of research on bariatrics in Austin - a whole lot. I can honestly say that THIS is the right doctor if you are in Austin. Do your research, look for people's experiences, you'll find Dr. Ganta to be tops in the area, heck maybe the state.
Update at 18 months post-op: Still loving this man. I've lost nearly 200 pounds. He gave me my life back and probably saved my life. More than that, he's an awesome surgeon. At my last appointment I even made laugh and got a hug on the way out. It's odd, but I want to make him proud. He did good work and so have I. We BOTH should be proud :)
I'm the turtle... I'm the turtle, I'M THE DAMNED... 4 days ago
So, I'm pretty much staring at maintenance. I'm 1.2 pounds away from goal, but I'm starting to slow down beyond slow. I'm fine with that because I don't want to lose too much more at this point. I want to visit with a plastics guy and find out what I'm dealing with there. I still REALLY want to just SEE 150 or lower on the scale, but right now I have other things going on in my life so I'm just going to take what comes for a while.
The pain management guy put me on the pain patch so I can reduce the hydrocodone. Thank goodness. It works okay so far, I managed to not take any drugs (or really need them) until around 5pm. AND I can DRIVE on the patch. One of the side effects can be weight gain and I'm going to do my best to not let that screw with my head if it happens.
I was really very sick when I was supposed to meet with my spinal surgeon (AND the plastics guy) so they both have been rescheduled. The plastics is next week (thinking of starting plastics NEXT Summer). And the neuro guy next MONTH. I'm hoping he has a cancelation and can see me earlier so we can figure this out.
Mentally, I haven't had a fat day in over a week. Feeling pretty good about myself, in that respect :)
So, yeah. I'm doing great. I'll hit goal one of these days, but ya know... I'm pretty much already there.
Starting weight = 375
Surgery Weight = 355
Surgeon's Goal = 250
My original Goal = 175
My current Goal = 150
Current Weight = 151.2
So yeah... I've nearly lost TWO-HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE pounds, people. What the hell?
This was me yesterday, on Mother's Day. Totally different than it was 2 years ago!
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Chronic pain and self sabotaging on May 5, 2013 10:56 am
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So, I've been dealing with back pain for a few months. I'm so sick of hydrocodone and being in pain. I meet with the surgeon on Tuesday. I just got back from a business trip and made some really bad food choices. I'm up 7 pounds. I know it will come off quickly, it always has. I'm self medicating with food and that's not the best decision. I need to find other ways to cope.
I think I'm sabotaging myself. I'm SO close to goal and it scares me. Maintenance scares me. I can come up with excuses, but that's really the bottom line. I need to work through that because going back to where I was is NOT an option. I was surprised by just HOW much I can eat if I put my mind to it. Time to stop that NOW. I love and respect myself enough to not go down that road.
I had a great time on my business trip, had an amazing time seeing people I hadn't seen for a couple of years, all were amazingly sweet and supportive. I spent the flight back working on a presentation about business/personal transformations. It's something I've been thinking of doing for the past year. It was really emotional for me to do it, but I think it's going to be a great presentation and cathartic for me. It was an interesting exercise for me and I'm glad I decided to go for it.
Today is 22 months... 223 pounds lost. on April 21, 2013 9:25 am
So, we spent yesterday at Six Flags. I was struck by the photo we had taken at just how much I look like a normal mom with her kids at the amusement park. It feels so amazingly great to just feel normal. I still cannot believe that I've lost 223 pounds. That just seems like a crazy number. I also cannot believe that I'm reaching my goal of 150 - hopefully in the next few weeks, I'm in a pause right now, so we'll see what happens. I also have another steroid injection next week, hoping it doesn't cause weight gain (last time, it didn't).
The highlight of the trip was going on the Sky Screamer (a really tall swing ride that you can see the entire park - it's really high LOL) with my daughter. The huge smile on her face while flying over the park and her saying that was her favorite part of the day and holding my hand... that's priceless. I couldn't have done that 2 years ago.
I also had my husband do something during lunch. We always sit by a window so we can people watch, it's one of our past times and we love doing it. I promise you that this was not something horrible or mean and we were discreet about it, but sometimes I need to see myself as I am. I asked him to point out ladies that were larger than I am or ones that were the same size as me. It really helps me to see my true size sometimes. Surprisingly, most of the ones I thought were the same size or larger than me actually were. Sometimes my brain needs a reality check.
We had an amazing time and cannot wait to go back - we have season passes so I'm excited to spend a few days this Summer with the family doing stuff I couldn't have before. Making memories is what it's all about.
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Well, something about me is normal... on April 15, 2013 7:17 am
Today is a pretty momentous day. Today, I stepped on the scale and it said, on the nose, 154.5. I'd calculated that out 220 pounds ago and thought "well, that's not possible" - guess what? It IS possible.
Today, I have a normal BMI. I started at 60.5 BMI and today is 24.9 BMI. I started at 375 pounds and today is 154.5
I LITERALLY did a happy dance in the middle of the hallway with my 12-year-old son while singing, "I'm normal! I'm normal! I'm normal!" -- my 10-year-old daughter came out, looked at us, and informed me "Mom, that is so not normal."
Out of the mouth of babes...
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My scale knows me! on April 10, 2013 5:09 am
I was super excited a while back when the scale couldn't tell the difference between hubby and I and had to ask me. Win. We have a Withings, it's fancy and I love it. LOL
Well, yesterday when I got on... it knew it was me! I finally weigh enough less than hubby that it knows me! It knows me! It knows me! Woot Woot.
I'm REALLY close to a normal BMI too. 25.4 according to OH (and 25.2 according to my phone app, but whatever LOL). Yay. Wow. It's been a long hard road, but so worth it.
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My story in numbers...
My monthly #s are on top and weekly are below. Do NOT compare, I'm doing this for myself but also to show how the stair-step losing goes (stall, lose, stall, lose). I do NOT record gains because those are water and always come right back off. My usual pattern is to lose a few days, stall a week, gain a little, stall a week, lose those and a few more, stall, etc.
151 (-8) - Month 22 - 04/21/2013
159 (-4) - Month 21 - 03/21/2013
163 (-3) - Month 20 - 02/21/2013
166 (-5) - Month 19 - 01/21/2013
171 (-6) - Month 18 - 12/21/2012
177 (-7) - Month 17 - 11/21/2012
184 (-6) - Month 16 - 10/21/2012
190 (-10) - Month 15 - 09/21/2012
200 (-10) - Month 14, 08/21/2012
210 (-6) - Month 13, 07/21/2012
216 (-10) - Month 12, 06/21/2012
226 (-8) - Month 11, 5/21/2012
234 (-10) - Month 10, 04/21/2012
244 (-10) - Month 9, 03/21/2012
254 (-6) - Month 8, 02/21/2012
260 (-9) - Month 7, 01/21/2012
269 (-10) - Month 6, 12/21/2011
279 (-12) - Month 5, 11/21/2011
291 (-10) - Month 4, 10/21/2011
301 (-17) - Month 3, 09/21/2011
318 (-14) - Month 2, 08/21/2011
332 (-23) - Month 1, 07/21/2011
355 (-20) - Pre-op, 06/21/2011
375, Highest weight, June 7, 2011
151 (-0) - Week 98 - 05/14/2013
151 (-0) - Week 97 - 05/07/2013
151 (-0) - Week 96 - 04/30/2013
151 (-2) - Week 95 - 04/23/2013
153 (-5) - Week 94 - 04/16/2013
158 (-1) - Week 93 - 04/09/2013
159 (-0) - Week 92 - 04/02/2013
159 (-0) - Week 91 - 03/26/2013
159 (-0) - Week 90 - 03/19/2013
159 (-2) - Week 89 - 03/12/2013
161 (-1) - Week 88 - 03/05/2013
162 (-1) - Week 87 - 02/26/2013
163 (-0) - Week 86 - 02/19/2013
163 (-0) - Week 85 - 02/12/2013
163 (-0) - Week 84 - 02/05/2013
163 (-3) - Week 83 - 01/29/2013
166 (-1) - Week 82 - 01/22/2013
167 (-2) - Week 81 - 01/15/2013
169 (-1) - Week 80 - 01/08/2013
170 (-0) - Week 79 - 01/01/2013
170 (-2) - Week 78 - 12/25/2012
172 (-3) - Week 77 - 12/18/2012
175 (-2) - Week 76 - 12/11/2012
177 (-0) - Week 75 - 12/04/2012
177 (-0) - Week 74 - 11/27/2012
177 (-3) - Week 73 - 11/20/2012
180 (-3) - Week 72 - 11/13/2012
183 (-1) - Week 71 - 11/06/2012
184 (-0) - Week 70 - 10/30/2012
184 (-0) - Week 69 - 10/23/2012
184 (-1) - Week 68 - 10/16/2012
185 (-3) - Week 67 - 10/09/2012
188 (-1) - Week 66 - 10/02/2012
189 (-1) - Week 65 - 09/25/2012
190 (-0) - Week 64 - 09/18/2012
190 (-2) - Week 63 - 09/11/2012
192 (-5) - Week 62 - 09/04/2012
197 (-3) - Week 61 - 08/28/2012
200 (-3) - Week 60 - 08/21/2012
203 (-0) - Week 59 - 08/14/2012
203 (-4) - Week 59 - 08/08/2012
207 (-0) - Week 58 - 07/31/2012
207 (-3) - Week 57 - 07/24/2012
210 (-0) - Week 56 - 07/17/2012
210 (-4) - Week 55 - 07/10/2012
214 (-0) - Week 54 - 07/03/2012
214 (-3) - Week 53 - 06/26/2012
217 (-2) - Week 52 - 06/19/2012
219 (-5) - Week 51 - 06/12/2012
224 (-2) - Week 50 - 06/05/2012
226 (-0) - Week 49 - 05/29/2012
226 (-5) - Week 48 - 05/22/2012
231 (-0) - Week 47 - 05/15/2012
231 (-3) - Week 46 - 05/08/2012
234 (-0) - Week 45 - 05/01/2012
234 (-1) - Week 44 - 04/24/2012
235 (-6) - Week 43 - 04/17/2012
241 (-0) - Week 42 - 04/10/2012
241 (-2) - Week 41 - 04/03/2012
243 (-1) - Week 40 - 03/27/2012
244 (-2) - Week 39 - 03/20/2012
246 (-4) - Week 38 - 03/13/2012
250 (-0) - Week 37 - 03/06/2012
250 (-4) - Week 36 - 02/28/2012
254 (-1) - Week 35 - 02/21/2012
255 (-0) - Week 34 - 02/14/2012
255 (-2) - Week 33 - 02/07/2012
257 (-3) - Week 32 - 01/31/2012
260 (-2) - Week 31 - 01/24/2012
262 (-1) - Week 30 - 01/17/2012
263 (-1) - Week 29 - 01/10/2012
264 (-2) - Week 28 - 01/03/2012
266 (-4) - Week 27 - 12/27/2011
270 (-0) - Week 26 - 12/20/2011
270 (-1) - Week 25 - 12/13/2011
271 (-7) - Week 24 - 12/06/2011
278 (-1) - Week 23 - 11/29/2011
279 (-3) - Week 22 - 11/22/2011
282 (-2) - Week 21 - 11/15/2011
284 (-2) - Week 20 - 11/08/2011
286 (-3) - Week 19 - 11/01/2011
289 (-4) - Week 18 - 10/25/2011
293 (-2) - Week 17 - 10/18/2011
295 (-3) - Week 16 - 10/11/2011
298 (-3) - Week 15 - 10/04/2011
301 (-0) - Week 14 - 09/27/2011
301 (-4) - Week 13 - 09/20/2011
305 (-2) - Week 12 - 09/13/2011
307 (-5) - Week 11 - 09/06/2011
312 (-4) - Week 10 - 08/30/2011
316 (-4) - Week 9 - 08/23/2011
320 (-4) - Week 8 - 08/16/2011
324 (-0) - Week 7 - 08/09/2011
324 (-6) - Week 6 - 08/02/2011
330 (-3) - Week 5 - 07/26/2011
333 (-0) - Week 4 - 07/19/2011
333 (-0) - Week 3 - 07/12/2011
333 (-14) - Week 2 - 07/05/2011
347 (-8) - Week 1 - 06/28/2011
355 (-20) - Surgery - 06/21/2011
375 (+5) - Start Pre Op Diet - 06/07/2011
370 - Consult - 03/24/2011