Tammi H.

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Obesity & Me

Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.

As young as 16 I was taking diet pills loosing weight and looking good, only for it to last a short time. By age 18 I was 175 and devastated thinking I was to heavy for anyone to want me, it almost seemed true since I didn't do really any dating until I hooked up with my first living in BF. I was 22, and weighing over 200 lbs, tried to do the deal-a-meal for three to four months only to loose like 20 lbs, and of course I gained that and more. Quit smoking when I was 27 *I think lol* and gained to 285. From there I carried this weight for YEARS. Going up and down just a little. By 2003 I found the Atkins Diet, lost 100 lbs in a year and felt so good.. Got into another live in relationship and couldn't stay with the Diet, so gained and gained even more. I went from 185 to 320, in just 2 years,at which time is when I started researching the WLS and felt it was my last chance at a healthier, slimmer, and happier me.

What was (is) the worst thing about being overweight?

The pain, hurting all the time for me. I have fibromyalgia, and so the more I weight the more I hurt. I also had no confident in anything much and anxieties in public was through the roof. I hated myself and felt no one would ever love me at 320. Just doing daily chores was hard on me, my asthma was allot worse then it is now. Couldn't walk far or stand long, and was always hot. I was almost ready for an electric chair to get around. I had to sit in the shower, and get a seat riser for the toilet. Due to pain in my knees, and unable to stand long enough in the shower. There was so many limitations that I dealt with that I just couldn't take it any longer so I started the process of getting the surgery, I was blessed, it happened so much faster then what it normally takes, an unusual circumstance developed and it sped up the process for me, and also I fought, I fought hard to get it, I wasn't going to take no for an answer if I didn't have to, I knew this was the answer to my misery.

If you have had weight loss surgery already, what things do you most enjoy doing now that you weren't able to do before?

I had my WLS in 07, by 08 I had reached 182 and was feeling so good about everything, just having some fibromyalgia pains, so spoke to a dr about the pain, they put me on Lyrica and from the medication and change in my eating I regained up to 265. Ended up using a walker, due to a nerve being pinched and because I couldn't walk to far without needing to sit and take a break. I was so devastated, about the weight gain. It was more then I could handle. Well I got off of the medications that was causing me to gain and remain at that weight, slowly started to loose until I reached a point where I stopped, and that is when I returned to the WLS diet/ Atkins diet and am now at 175 and am doing great. The pain is so much less. I go to the gym to swim 2-3x a week, walk my dog 3-5x a day and other then being tired from the Fibro these things I am able to do. I can sit in restaurant booths, theme park rides, seat belts fit better, I fit behind my steering wheel better, and I can buy cloths easier, there is a larger selection at this size then when I was 320. Weight gain can happen, and so I give a warning to you who read this, to be cautious of what you do end up eating, and allowing your Dr to give you. It has taken me since 07 to reach this weight where my goal weight is within reach, I will hit my goal weight, I have struggled and fought to hard to not reach it.

How did you first find out about bariatric surgery and what were your initial impressions of it?

I knew of this surgery for a long time since I had an Aunt who had it done. She had it done years ago, and it was so successful for her, so would often tell people when my weight got out of control *100lbs over normal* I would say I would get it in a heart beat if I could ever afford it.

Describe your experience with getting insurance approval for surgery. What advice, if any, do you have for other people in this stage?

I had no issues with getting approval. I did have some issues with being in Idaho and having to go to Washington state to get the surgery, the clinic and or hospital wasn't real sure about the medicaid part of my insurance, but I was approved right away, and even had surgery months before I would had normally waited, but there was a sudden cancellation and I was the only one close to having all the needed tests and phyc. visits done so they jumped me way up and took me in right away. All total I think from start to stop it was 3 maybe 6 months.

What made you finally decide to have the surgery?

Since I had gain and lost so many times I felt like this would be more permanent for me, WRONG, I still gained on this. It is a tool not fail proof, you can find ways around. Mine was sweets, didn't have dumping to much, and also medication Dr put me on. Devastation when that weight came back on, but am not shrinking again, so the tool never goes away. Some may need the revision, but I had mine checked and it was working just fine.

How did you decide which proceedure to have?

In order to have a chance at a more normal life with less pains and less restrictions. I Gastric Bypass so not to have a foreign object in my body, plus with the lap band you loose slower, less, and have to have many visits to get the fills up to where they need to be.

What fears did you have about having complications or even dying from from the surgery, and what would you tell other people having the same fears now?

I tried not to think about them to much. Did tell others if I was to die during the surgery to not be to sad for me for I was doing what I had to do to live again, for at that weight I was not living a happy life, and living much at all, so just know I was doing what I needed to do. For those who are going in to have it and have fears, just leave it in God's hands, and know that your crew are all well trained to do what it is they do.

How did your family and friends react to your decision? Would you have communicated anything differently if you could now? How supportive were they after your surgery?

All was supportive, even had two cousins have the surgery right around the same time as myself. One cousin and I shared the same Dr even. That was pretty cool.

What was it like attending your first information seminar on weight loss surgery? Were you glad you attended? if so, why?

I was so excited, Yes I was super thrilled I attended it made it clear what surgery I was going to have. The RNY Gastric Bypass.

What was your stay in the hospital like? How long where you there? What things are most important to bring?

My stay in the hospital was longer then it should had been. I had complications, but not with the WLS it was with the removal of my gallbladder. it had an extra set of ducks that Dr couldn't see and so it was allowing liver liquids to flow into my abdominal area and so another surgery was needed to put a g-tube in through my liver to redirect the liquid. There was some scary moments there, and I had to struggle with the dr to get discharged from the hospital after 7 days to go home, and then he was reluctant, but allowed it. It took over 6 weeks for this issue to be cured before I could work out and exercise so it set me back some.

In the weeks after you got your surgery date, how did you feel? How did you cope with any anxiety you might have felt?

I knew they would be coming for I researched it well. and I had my share of them, especially with the 6 wks delay and complications, the g-tube was very painful, it went through my muscle and rib and it would feel like some one was stabbing me if I moved wrong. So yeah I had my moments of why did I do this, this wasn't worth it. But it didn't last long and I knew it was going to happen even if I didn't have the complications.

Describe your first few weeks home from the hospital. What should people expect from this period?

Rest, but do as much as you feel you can. For moving will aid in your weight loss.

How far did you travel to have your surgery? (If far, how did this affect your aftercare?)

I traveled over 300 miles one way for my surgery. Yes it affected my aftercare some, and then I moved away which affected it even more so.

What vitamins and/or dietary supplements have you taken since your surgery?

I am on a high dose of vitamin D and also take chewable calcium as well as a liquid vitamin, very important to keeping healthy, oh yes I also take B12

What was the worst part about the entire bariatric surgery process?

the foam and sticking food

What aftercare support group/program do you have? How helpful/important is this?

I don't have a support group, I could attend one that is pretty close by, but feeling I am doing pretty darn good on my own. I am so close to my final goal weight.

What is your scar like? Is this what you expected?

tiny little slits

Do you notice people treating you any differently now?

yes, lots of changes have happened and I have changed and therefore people also treat me different, for I am not that 320lb person I once was.
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Before & After
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