Procedure: Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Pounds lost: 104
Motivators: Lack of energy, joint and muscle pain, family history of diabetes
I’ve always felt comfortable coming here, have never had an issue with scheduling. I’ve always had all my questions answered thoroughly. I can call the office at any time and get help. If they can’t help me on the phone I get a call back. I really enjoy working with them because I really feel like they are invested in you, as well. I would definitely say they are very well attended to the patients; that is their main priority. There wasn’t a time where I ever had to address a lack of care with them they were always there whenever you needed something, checking in even when you didn’t think you needed anything just to make sure that the recovery went along great.
I struggled with my weight my whole life. Even as a child I was always overweight. In my early 20s is whenever I probably peaked, I was close to 300 pounds. I had lost weight after that for a while and I had gotten down close to probably 200 pounds, and after that I gained back up to about 260 and no matter what I would yo-yo back and forth.
I’ve done just about every type of little fad diet or infomercial type thing you’ve seen I do it for a week or two and realize that I either physically couldn’t keep up with what it demanded from you or it just wasn’t something that wasn’t going to work for me. It just was always an obstacle in the way rather than helping me it just frustrated me more and would end up hurting me in the long run.
I knew I couldn’t do it on my own anymore and I wanted to be able to go play with my kids and run. I figured it was time to do something about it. I consulted with my own doctor’s office and had asked them if there was anything that they would suggest and they did say that there was a program here [at Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber] that they felt that would definitely be a benefit to me.
I thought it through with the sleeve. I felt that it was a less invasive surgery, that long term when it came to absorption for vitamins and things like that there wouldn’t be as many issues with it. It was something that I thought would work better for me in my lifestyle.
The surgery that I chose, it does work great for me. It’s definitely a tool that you have to use to utilize. If you don’t work at it the right way it’s not gonna work for you, but it’s definitely been what I needed to get where I want to be. It really has changed so much in our lives. Instead of being close to home with no physical activity, we go camping all the time now, we bought kayaks, we’re out on the water; we just have a good time and we enjoy the outdoors with each other. This is the life I had always pictured but instead of picturing it, I’m actually living it.
Don’t wait. You’ll find every excuse not to do it but the big one is still there. Before I lost the weight that I did, in the back of my mind it legitimately always was a concern making it to a point in my kids’ lives where I’ll be able to enjoy them as adults and their kids. I always was afraid that something would happen involving my weight that would cause another disease or some sort of injury that would end up being the death of me. Losing the weight it gave me a new hope that I will be there for them, to see them and experience them and their kids.
Procedure: Gastric Bypass Surgery
Pounds lost: 85
Motivators: Lack of energy, depression, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hiatal hernia & GERD (acid reflux), back pain, foot pain, and a family history of thyroid problems and diabetes
I felt comfortable from the time I walked in, the receptionist, all the nurses… everyone was very nice. Everyone was very supportive, from the time I started, just the very first month clear through to now, even 3 years later after surgery I come in and everyone’s still very supportive a lot of positive feedback, it’s very nice, it’s been a very positive experience. I would say it’s very much patient centered here, I have never walked in this office and felt like I was a number instead of a person. Every time I’ve ever seen Dr. Moon, he’s been very caring and very, just very caring and professional and considerate. The hospital was wonderful, the nurses were always very good to me and I always felt like it was very patient-centered.
Most people who haven’t seen me for a while have no idea who I am, people I went to school with. I went to my class reunion in October and no one knew me. It’s really, it’s shocking, I mean I have family who haven’t seen me in a while don’t recognize me. It is a big difference, I was looking the other day at pictures, before and after, and, I mean, I don’t recognize me. I don’t look the same, I’m not the same person at all, so it’s definitely a big change.
I no longer take any medications except for the vitamins that you need to take, I don’t take a heart pill, cholesterol pills, my cholesterol’s perfect, I don’t take the medication for heartburn for GERD anymore, it’s all better, I don’t take any kind of pain medication for back pain, my feet don’t hurt anymore, it’s wonderful, my medical doctor told me this is the best thing you’ve ever done for you, he said it’s the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. So, it’s wonderful.
If you’re very serious about losing weight and it’s something that you really want to do, I would say definitely go for it cause it definitely makes a difference, it will change your life. You just have to be willing to stick to the plan. It isn’t when the surgery is over the process is over, once you take that weight off you have to continue to change your life and lead a healthy life. No one says it’s going to be easy, but it’s not easy when you’re overweight either. It’s not easy dealing with all the problems you have, the way you look and the way others see you. So it’s worth going through the process.
If you’re determined and you do what the doctors tell you to do, it’s very possible [to succeed]. I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished, I’m even prouder that it’s been 3 years and I haven’t gained any weight back, so it’s wonderful.
Procedure: Gastric Bypass Surgery
Pounds lost: 59
Motivators: Diabetes, Fatty Liver (elevated liver enzymes), family history of cirrhosis of the liver
Dr. Moon here and his staff and everybody was absolutely wonderful. I referred my sister here and my best friend here, and they both had the surgeries done. I would say the care here is absolutely phenomenal. I would recommend this place 100% to anybody. I would come to again and again and again ‘cause I was very, very happy and pleased with what care I received. You call they answer questions, you know they’re checking up on you. They’re always right there for you.
I feel wonderful, I haven’t felt this good in years, I mean I really have not felt this good. I’ve completely changed my whole lifestyle. I never went to the gym before. [After surgery], I started out only 2-3 days a week. [My] trainer has me now at 7 days a week. And I take kickboxing class, I take a cardio class, and I take a Zumba class, plus he has me on a regular workout program. I would’ve never of thought I would be here going to the gym and doing kickboxing at my age, at 47 years old, but I do it. I got back into riding horses and now I don’t need a step stool to get up on, now I can pull myself up on to the horse. And it’s been wonderful because me and my daughter go shopping together and she helps me pick out new clothes all the time because she says that I’m 20 years younger again.
I take no sugar medicine at all, no diabetes medicine at all. And I just recently had done my blood work and my liver scan and my blood work is completely back to normal and there’s no sign of fatty liver at all. It completely went back to where it needs to be.
I would tell them that the surgery isn’t as bad as what you think it is and the nursing staff here, the nurses here, Dr. Moon, everybody’s wonderful. But you’ve got to make sure before you get ready to have this surgery you have to have the mindset up in your head you’re going to do this and you’re not going to stop until you get to the goal that you set for yourself and you can’t go back. The surgery was absolutely the best thing I ever had done.
A lot of people asked me, ‘How do you do it?’ and I say, ‘It’s a whole life change.’ That’s the biggest thing, the surgery is not an easy fix. It’s a fix to get you started, but once you get started you’ve got to keep after it every day. There’s days that I want to lay in bed and say I’m not going to the gym today, I’m not going to do this, but now… every day. I was never able to push mow my yard, I had a riding tractor, now I push mow the whole yard, and I have a bank and they’re like ‘unbelievable you’re able to push that up and down the bank’…I said yep, ‘cause I have the strength and I’ve got the willpower now. That’s my biggest thing is I don’t quit, I keep going.
Procedure: Gastric Bypass Surgery
Pounds lost: 207
Motivators: High blood pressure, back pain, shortness of breath, difficulty with work tasks, lack of energy for family activities
I did a lot of research to find the best place to go and through talking to a lot of people I found that probably Windber was my best option. I’ve had a lot of my friends had it done and they came here and they had a lot of success with it.
Everybody treated me really well. First I went to a seminar and listened to Dr. Moon talk and then I scheduled an appointment. Everybody here was great, I have no complaints. Windber is probably the best hospital I’ve ever been in. They were very attentive to whatever I needed; they were always checking on me.
I’m no longer on medication for high blood pressure, and the back pain is gone, I have no more back pain. I can actually go for a walk with my wife and kids in the evening and there’s so much I can do, I mean as far as like my job I can do everything. I can climb up in the truck now, clean the bed out, climb underneath. I’m not limited to anything now.
Do your research, make sure… a lot of people think it’s an easy fix, you get surgery and that’s it. There’s nothing easy about it. I mean, it’s a lifestyle change and the surgery is a tool just to help you. It’s not the cure all. Just do your research. Windber is a very good facility. I had Dr. Moon and he’s terrific. I would recommend anybody coming to Windber.