Before & After VSG with Melissa

Before & After VSG with Melissa, losing 112 lbs!

March 20, 2018

Why I Decided To Have WLS

One year... who would have thought my life could have changed so much in just one year. Ever since I was a young child I have had weight issues. I can remember when I was only about 10 years old, my aunt made a comment about not trying on her new high heels because I might stretch them or break the heel. I was always bigger than everyone in my classes in school, I was always the subject of the “fat jokes.” My brother made a comment one time after I fell that he felt the earth shake when I hit the ground. I should have known that it was just him being a young boy, but it always stuck with me.

I've had self-esteem issues due to my weight for as long as I remember.

At 16, I had my first child and gained 95 pounds with that pregnancy. At my heaviest, during that pregnancy, I was 246 pounds, nowhere near my heaviest weight. I went on to have two more children and the weight just continued to creep up. I had always tried the newest “fad diet” that was popular at the time. SlimFast, Weight Watchers, Atkins... I was even taking weight loss medications to try and help curb my appetite. They would work, and I would lose some weight while on the pills but as soon as I stopped them the weight would come back plus some!

After numerous attempts to lose weight with no result but failing each time, I had finally just given up and decided I was going to be fat all my life and I better get used to it.

I can remember when my weight started to affect my children. One day my oldest son came home upset and told me that the kids in his class were calling me fat and it made him cry. I knew that I needed to get my weight under control but how was I going to do that? I have tried so many times and had no success. Then, I started hearing about all these people that were getting the “weight loss surgery” and they were losing hundreds of pounds.

At the time, weighed around 250 pounds and thought I would never qualify because I was not as big as the other people were. My husband kept telling me that I was okay and didn’t need to lose the weight. So once again I gave up on my happiness. 25  years after having my first son, I found myself in a new career working as a Medical Assistant for an Urgent Care and my weight had ballooned to a whopping 312 pounds! That was the most I had ever weighed.

I worked with another woman who was having weight issues also and she told me that she was checking into this weight loss surgery called the gastric sleeve. I had never heard of such a thing before that day. She told me that she was going to meet with Dr. Rekkas and I should check it out also because our new insurance would cover it. I went home that night and looked up the surgery and saw all of the before and after videos and pictures, and I was amazed! For the first time in about 15 years, I was excited that I might have finally found the answer to what I have always looked for.

I went to my husband about it and he was not happy that I was back on the weight loss bandwagon as he called it. He told me again that I was fine just the way I am and didn’t need to lose any weight for him. That is when I realized that I didn’t need to lose the weight for him, I needed to lose it for myself!

So, I went to work on setting up appointments and getting in to see my primary care doctor who was 100% on board with me having the surgery. She helped me get all the referrals and testing that I needed to get started.

Before & After VSG with Melissa

Surgery Type: VSG
Surgery Date: December 21, 2016
Surgeon: Dr. Rekkas
Weight Lost: 112 pounds

My Surgery and Post-Op Life

In October 2016, I finally met Dr. Rekkas. I had no idea how much he was going to change my life over that next year. When I went to see him, I was a size 24 and I weighed 312 pounds which was the most I have ever weighed in my whole life. I met with Dr. Rekkas and we went over the different weight loss surgeries that were available to me. We decided after a long discussion and a lot of research that I would go with the vertical sleeve gastrectomy. It was not an easy decision by no means.

I had friends telling me that I shouldn’t get it, my husband didn’t want me to have it done. I had to really think long and hard and had several discussions with my husband before I finally made my decision. That was the best decision I have ever made in my life for myself. After my husband saw how happy I was getting he finally agreed to support me in my journey which made it 200 times better to have him on my side. He has always been one of my biggest supporters and to not have him approve of my decision was killing me inside.

Everything was falling into place and before I knew it, my surgery date was finally here, December 21, 2016. I was very nervous but Dr. Rekkas calmed my nerves and let me know that I was making the right decision. When I woke up and felt the pain that I was in I just knew that I had made the wrong choice. Or, so I thought anyway. When Dr. Rekkas came in to check on me, he informed me that the pain I was feeling was from the hernia repair. I thought for sure that I had made the wrong decision. Just a few short weeks later I was fine.

I was drinking my fluids and slurping my soups. You have no idea how bad I wanted to eat something crunchy. All that bland food was driving me crazy. At about two weeks after the surge, y I went through the regret phase that many people go through. I had thought of why did I do this, oh my God I could have just cut down on my eating, I should have exercised more, all the excuses that I always told myself in the past. But after the weight started falling off I started to see my hard work paying off.

Special Milestones and Non-Scale Victories

Now I am over one-year post-op and 112 pounds lighter! I am currently in a size 12/14 which I have not seen since I was 12 or 14! I enjoy working out now, something I was not able to do when I was 312 pounds. I love to walk the bridge near my house after work, watch the sunset, and think back how that same bridge previously sent me into an asthma attack! Now, I can walk back and forth several times before I start to get winded.

I have never been happier with the way I look. I still have a little way to go and yes, I do have some loose skin that I would like to get taken care of. For the most part, I am ecstatic with my results! I am still amazed at how far I have come in such a short time. It was not always easy and took a lot of work. Meal planning, exercise, water drinking... Getting my water in was a challenge but I made it work somehow.

My children and family cannot believe the difference in me from my weight loss!

My husband has even said that he might consider having the surgery also to lose weight. I get asked lots of questions about my decision to have the surgery. What are my biggest regrets? I tell them my only regret is that I did not have the surgery sooner. I am asked if I could do it over again, would I? My answer to that question is "Yes, in a heartbeat!”  I have recommended so many people to Dr. Rekkas and I cannot wait to see the results they achieve.

My advice to anyone who is considering weight loss surgery would be to do your research and make sure that what you are doing is for you. Don’t do it to make anyone else happy, this is something that you need to do for yourself. It is not always rainbows and sunshine, but it is so worth the storm you go through to get to the rainbows and sunshine!

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.