Prior to having the gastric sleeve surgery in November 2022, my weight had crept up to 241 lbs. This affected my life in many negative ways, including high blood pressure, fatigue, headaches, body aches & pains, shortness of breath, and sleep apnea. This kept me from enjoying a good night’s sleep and prevented me from participating in outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, swimming, or most yard work due to shortness of breath, fatigue, and hatred of wearing swimsuits in public.
I had thought about getting approval for bariatric surgery in the past. Other than being overweight, I was healthy, so insurance would not cover the surgery. After struggling to lose weight most of my adult life, with only temporary success, things started changing after I contracted Covid in 2020. My blood pressure was high, requiring medication to keep it normal. Along with other various nagging health issues, it became harder for me to breathe, even after I recovered from Covid. This gradually reduced my activity level from hiking most every weekend and going to the gym, to barely having energy to get through the day. In Feb. 2022, I went for my first bariatric consultation, just to see what options were out there for me. Without energy to exercise and perform normal daily activities, I had no hope of losing any of my excess weight, which had started climbing again.
About the same time, I was hospitalized the first of three times due to headaches, nausea, vomiting, confusion, disorientation, slow speech, and even loss of fine motor skills (ability to write my name, text, hold my phone, etc..). I was, eventually, diagnosed with COPD which caused my oxygen/02 levels to be imbalanced. There was no doubt about it now. I HAD to do something that would quickly help improve some of these health issues.
From the very beginning, Dr. Doucette, and all the bariatric team at Alabama Surgical Associates made me feel welcome and hopeful that gastric sleeve surgery would change my life. Everyone was very helpful and understanding, answering all my questions, listening to my concerns, and encouraging me along the way.
My surgery was Nov. 21, 2022. After 3 weeks of a liquid diet, I had already lost 20 lbs. So I felt like we were off to a great start. It wasn’t easy. I’ve never gone 3 hours without eating, much less three weeks! But it got better as I stuck to it. Not only does the pre-op liquid diet help shrink the liver, to make surgery easier, it also helped to break some impulsive snacking/eating habits that I had developed over the years. For those three weeks, shopping wasn’t even fun anymore, because even that revolved around food (lunch, snacks, ice cream, milk shakes).
After surgery, there was 2 more weeks of liquids, then I began progressing through the phases and before I knew it, 3 months had passed and I was once again eating normal food. By Feb./March of 2023, I was already down about 60 lbs. By July 2023, I hit the -90 lbs. mark and as of this writing, am only 10 lbs. away from the 100 lbs. weight loss goal. I couldn’t be more excited!! I honestly thought I might lose 50-60 lbs. and at least get to what I considered a normal weight for me. At 150 lbs. I’m wearing sizes I’ve never worn. I’ve gone from wearing 3x tops and 20/22 bottoms to med/large tops and for the first time EVER, I have purchased shorts, capris, and jeans in sizes smaller than a 12. Depending on the styles and fabric, I can wear sizes 6, 8, or 10!!! I have an abundance of energy and able to do anything I choose to do, from walking 3 miles at a time most days, to hiking on the weekends or working in the yard all day. My breathing has greatly improved with the weight loss (and CPAP usage for the COPD). Headaches and bladder issues have disappeared. I’ve been off BP meds for several months. I’ve been able to stop relying on daily OTC meds for aches and pains. Most recently, I wore a swimsuit in public at a pool party for the first time in a really long time without feeling completely miserable!