Before & After RNY with Vickie

Before & After RNY with Vickie, losing 140 pounds!

September 10, 2019

Why I Decided to Have WLS

Let me start with an oh-so-common story. I was about 7 years old when I started getting heavy. Everything that was fun and with family was about food; theme parks, holiday, picnics, beach days, and parties. The first time, first of many, I joined Weight Watchers. That was also the year I tried to tap dance. But I quit due to my little round figure in the leotard, even the dance teacher made comments. Losing and gaining continued annually until high school. I stayed pretty thin for those years. I rarely ate, an entirely new issue.

Through college with heavy class loads, studying and working combined with my love of fast food, I saw my weight heading up and up. After I got married and had two kids, I steadied out, at about 210 pounds, ugh. I made a “few” attempts at dieting. Weight Watchers, Atkins, grapefruit, South Beach, Slimfast...I could go on. All I did was get myself up to 225 pounds at 34 years old.

Then in a valiant 14-month effort with Jenny Craig, I lost 85 pounds. I even made a set of exercise videos with Jenny Craig. WOW. Amazing. I got it now, right? Not right. Less than three months after those videos, I started heading back up. And up. Well, that was it. I had given 100% and still failed.

For the next twenty years, I accepted that I was just a “fluffy girl.” I could live with that. Right? Well, my body couldn’t live with the stress of 250 pounds on that 5’4’’ frame. And still, there’s all that fast food and sweets. But only Diet Coke, of course. So here I am, 55 years old, severe diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, chronic pain, and depression... and not facing the cold hard truth. My weight was killing me. My kidneys had begun to fail.

I had reached the fork in the road, ironically. To choose life or death, I had to shift my mindset. I had to lose my “diet” mentality. I had to totally change my approach, my relationship, with food, and change my attitude about how to take care of myself. Weight loss surgery was the answer...the tool, the jumpstart, to my paradigm shift. I was going to lose the weight, but keep it off permanently this time.

Before & After RNY with VickieBefore & After RNY with Vickie

OH Username: VickieOrtega21
Total Weight Loss: 140 pounds
Surgery Type: RNY
Surgery Date: 7/17/17
Surgeon: Dr. David Suh

My Surgery and Post-Op Life

The adventure begins. A 12-week required course from my medical group. 12 weeks! That seemed excessive. But little did I know how little I knew. I was in a great program taught by Dr. Sen Padilla, who I continue to see on a monthly basis for advice on nutrition, vitamins, protein, and exercise. After 12 weeks, I passed, with some type of graduation certificate I’m sure.

Now off to the surgeon. The very experienced, knowledgeable, and straightforward Dr. David Suh. He and his team, especially Lisa Wright, get me started on the path to surgery. Surgery day arrived on 7/17/17. 17 is now my lucky number. Really not a fun experience, but not a terrible one either. I’ve had three babies, now that’s hard work.

The first few weeks definitely are re-learning how to eat. I never knew I could be so happy to see soft food. Month by month the weight drops off and I adapt myself to my new lifestyle. It’s just one step at a time. Seeing those sizes drop and drop, an amazing feeling. Goal weight! Blissful.

I had chosen 145 pounds as my goal weight. I wanted to reach that magical, normal BMI. After all this work, I did not want to be classified as obese or even overweight. Though I do realize the number for BMI is sort of arbitrary.

I just decided to keep following those “magic rules:” protein, water, vitamins, exercise, and support. And my body kind of decided 125 pounds was perfect. Hey, there’s a petite lady hiding under there!

Now we enter the minefield that is called maintenance. Support, support, support. Look to your bariatric peers. In my circle, I have Sue, 12 years out, selflessly dedicated to leading our support groups; Susan, 15 years out, still going to groups to share wisdom and to learn; Frances, with over 500 pounds lost. There are no words to describe my awe. These are just a few of the amazing people I have met.

Now that I have had my stomach fixed, I need to do the hard work, that is, fixing my brain.

Mindset, yep. Dr. Steven Reyes, my bariatric (psychologist) coach, lead the charge into the post-honeymoon danger zone. And,  of course, all the online forums and groups. And that leads me to ObesityHelp, a great resource. I was lucky enough to attend the 2018 ObesityHelp Conference in Anaheim. Never have I been around a more accepting, positive, and fun group. This CAN be done!

Before & After RNY with Vickie Pinterest

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