Before & After VSG with Melissa, losing 109 lbs!November 13, 2018
Why I Decided to Have WLS
I was very thin, I was a size 0 in my senior year of high school. However, when I went to college, I gained almost 100 pounds in a year after being placed on a series of medications. Once I was married, in 2001, my grandmother urged me to try Weight Watchers. I lost 75 pounds, but when finances became difficult, I went back to buying cheaper foods and gained the weight back.
In 2012, I lost another 50 pounds, which was much more difficult to lose due to my sedentary job as an analyst. However, after a life event, I began eating high sugar drinks and desserts with every meal. Once I was back on my feet those bad habits continued. I was a stress eater.
I always wanted to get away from my desk and eat out for lunch to de-stress and socialize. I began closet eating and my weight skyrocketed to 251.4. For two years, I had invested myself in regular 2-hour gym workouts, walking up 17,000 steps a day, and participating in group Beach Body sessions.
This only caused injuries. I consulted a dietician and trainer at work and I continued to go to Weight Watchers with very little success. I was on too many medications and I began receiving very scary health news. I had severe stomach issues and my doctors found tumors on my liver along with suspicious lab work requiring me to see a host of specialists.
The overall message from my physicians was that obesity was most likely the root cause of all my issues. I was very scared, so I decided to follow in my sister’s footsteps and pursue the gastric sleeve. She had been very successful in losing about 135 pounds in a year after her gastric sleeve surgery which was performed by the Nicholson Clinic. I immediately began petitioning insurance and my physicians for the approvals needed. Most of my physicians were thrilled to hear that I was going to have this surgery.
Before & After VSG with Melissa
Total Weight Loss: 109 pounds
Surgery Type: Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Surgery Date: 06/12/2017
Surgeon: Dr. Nick Nicholson
My Surgery and Post-Op Life
I went through a rigorous surgical approval process, including a psychiatric evaluation. The Nicholson Clinic supplied me with a host of documentation to prepare me for my surgery. I read Dr. Nicholson’s book, “Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny”, which prompted me to ask my spouse to read the materials.
I decided to be up front and honest with my employer, my co-workers, my friends & family about why I was going on leave. I cleaned out my pantry and ordered plenty of supplies, based on my instructions. I bought my protein from the Nicholson Clinic and insurance even paid for a 6-month mail order supply of Premier Protein.
Two weeks before the surgery, I received a kit with all the medications and vitamins that I would need for the coming months. I also went on a very strict diet preparing for surgery. In the three weeks following surgery, I was in moderate pain and I was allowed only liquids. The third week was the most difficult because I went back to work and I was very weak. By the third week, my weight loss enabled me to stop taking my blood pressure medicine. I began documenting my journey with pictures just prior to my surgery and I took new pictures, celebrating every 10 pounds, then every 5 pounds as I got closer to my goal weight.
I found that taking selfies of workouts and sending them to my friends was very motivational. We had a great support system going. I opened an Instagram account and eventually a Facebook account and began unapologetically broadcasting my successes. I could never have predicted the amazing amount of support that ensued or the fact that I would surpass my doctor’s weight loss expectations.
I get regular feedback from others who tell me how I’ve helped to inspire them to turn their lives and their health around. I began to feel more self-esteem immediately and I began to train myself to run. I had never been a runner, but after losing about 50 pounds, I felt so much lighter.
I began with 1-minute runs and built myself up to 6-mile continuous runs. I’ve also been to the gym and lifted weights, where I found my weight loss would plateau, but I would still lose inches.
My weight loss has allowed me to lower my medication dosages and even cut out medications. Also, the ability to effectively exercise without expending so much energy due to the excess weight has improved my mental health tenfold. All of my stomach problems, acid reflux, and sleep apnea disappeared. The weight loss actually uncovered health issues that were hidden by my obesity.
My gynecologist found a breast tumor after losing over 75 pounds. It was benign, but as a result, I have discovered that I have a genetic mutation that is indicative of breast and ovarian cancer. The weight loss may have saved my life in this case, because I am now following a high-risk regime. My blood pressure and blood sugar are now normal. My cholesterol is almost down to normal. Liver damage cannot be reversed, but the tumors are benign and stable.
The surgery and weight loss are an emotional rollercoaster. Hormones stored in your fat cells are released throughout your body. It also takes time, mentally to get used to looking in the mirror and feeling your new curves. I’ve spent hours doing so.
It definitely takes a toll on your relationships. However, in the end, you become a much stronger person and you learn empathy for others who have faced all types of diversity. I am almost to goal, just 6.4 pounds away.
Over the past year, I have learned to love myself all over again.
Food is an addiction, it should be treated as only fuel for your body. I started the year by feeding myself pre-prepared and prepacked foods because it was easier and now I am looking beyond that at maintenance. How will I keep this weight off and fend off the embarrassment of gaining it back?
I’ve begun choosing recipes and posting blogs about the healthy food that I cook. I am a living motivational speaker, telling strangers my story and assisting others with making healthier lifestyle choices. I make mistakes and I am not perfect. I am the first person to admit this publicly.
I indulge every once in a while, but as a general rule, I rarely drink, I never drink carbonated beverages, and I do not eat bread, pasta, rice, tortillas, chips or fried foods. I avoid starchy vegetables and I always begin my day with a protein shake and vitamins.
You have to live the changes and realize that you will make mistakes, but that you can start all over right then. You do not have to wait for the next meal or next week. Every choice is a new choice. I feel better than I have ever felt in my entire adult life and people seem to respect me more. Thank you for giving me my life back, Dr. Nicholson!
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