Pat’s Weight Loss Story
I wasn’t an obese child, but had a mother with a weight problem, who was constantly on a diet. So you would think I would have learned from that… but as a teenager you don’t always make good decisions. My weight began to go up in High School and shortly after that I joined the Police Department. Working shifts and changing the hours you work every week is not good for your body. Your internal clock gets confused and often I didn’t feel like eating. Since I didn’t eat proper meals I would find that I’d get hungry when I was patrolling around and then you didn’t have the option to find a healthy meal so I snacked.
Over the next 20 years I would battle obesity, unfortunately the obesity was winning the battle. In the beginning I would see some weight gain and then I’d put myself on a diet and drop some weight. I tried many of the fad diets in the magazines… all with the same results… once you finished it the weight would come back. Many times I’d put on a few extra pounds as well! I did find that going to a supervised weight program such as Weight Trimmers, was my best option. I did that three different times with success but when I stopped attending I had the same result.
As I got older it was harder to get the weight off and along with the weight I started having health issues as well. By age 40 I had Diabetes, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (which required a CPAP machine at night), Tachycardia, High Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Fibromyalgia, and the list goes on. I was taking 15 different types of Medicines a day.
Unfortunately, some of those medicines had side affects of weight gain or making you hungry. So that made a bad situation even worse. Now not only was I Obese, my body hurt every day, I was depressed AND my weight was going up even faster. Many of us turn to food for comfort and it’s a vicious cycle.
In early 2004 my sleep Specialist, Dr. James Smith, took over as my primary doctor as well. I was suffering from so many things that most doctors were afraid to take on my case. Dr. Smith was brave and agreed to help me get things under control. He enlisted the help of a pain management doctor, Dr. Mike Gutkin, who helped me to get my Fibromyalgia under control. By July of 2004 I was at my all-time high of 239 pounds, and I was only 5’ 4” (I was wearing a size 22/24). Once we had these two aspects in better control Dr. Smith approached the idea of Weight Loss Surgery.
After checking it out on the Internet I signed up to attend a New Patient Seminar to learn more about it. It was there that I met Dr. Abkin and my life was changed forever! I really felt that the Lap Band would be the way to go, but after consulting with Dr. Abkin and really reflecting on my eating habits I changed my mind and decided to do the full Gastric Bypass. That decision was based on my love for Ice Cream and use of sweets as a coping mechanism in the past. It was explained that if I had a Lap Band and went for the Dairy Queen I could eat it and it would go right through the band and I’d absorb all those calories. On the other hand, after a Bypass, if I had the ice cream it would make me so sick that I would never desire it again. After reflecting back on all my failed attempts to stay on diets I felt it would be better for me to have my own body be a control for what I could put in it. It was probably the best decision I have ever made!
I had my surgery in December of 2004. The surgery went great and there was very little discomfort from it. I did endure some complications, such as strictures (where the new opening closes and they have to put a balloon in and open it back up), dehydration, severe irritable bowel syndrome, but even with those problems I would go back tomorrow and do it all again. It’s been over four years since I had my surgery and I do still battle some medical issues, mostly gastro intestinal issues, which are inconvenient and painful at times, but not life threatening. On the other side my Diabetes was cured instantly, I no longer have Heart Problems, and my Obstructive Sleep Apnea was cured. These issues were LIFE THREATENING and now they are gone! My weight now fluctuates between 130 and 140 (now a size 6 – 8).
My choice to use Advanced Laparoscopic Surgeons was the right choice. Dr Abkin is a great person and an Awesome Doctor. He is very thorough and very good at finding out what is wrong and has seen me through every medical problem that came up. They are not just there to do the surgery and then move on. His practice is set up to see you through this whole journey, which could be a lifetime if that’s what you need.
They start by educating you about the surgeries so you can make an informed decision on which surgery is best for you. They will set up your psychological and nutritional counseling, which is necessary prior to surgery. Their staff includes Insurance specialists to help get your surgery approved. There are Support Groups for free to attend after having the surgeries so you can network with others who are going through the same things that you are going through. SUPPORT is a Key Ingredient to being a Success at this. Remember the doctor’s operate on your stomach and give you a TOOL, but it is up to you to use that tool properly to be a success.
This is not an easy Fix… we work at this every day. But it is a LIFE STYLE CHANGE that is worth pursuing so we can have a long and Healthy Life to Enjoy!
UPDATE: 10 Years After Gastric Bypass Surgery: Pat’s Story
I have to Thank Dr Abkin as I’ve reached my 10 Year Surgiversary and I am so thankful for all he has done for me. When I think back 10 years ago and how sick I was, it’s all sad thoughts. I was in pain every day and wasn’t able to do my work anymore. Diabetes, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Heart Problems and Fibromyalgia were taking me away from my life! Today I am Free of Diabetes, Sleep Apnea and Heart Problems… My Fibro is under control and I have back my Life! I can’t imagine what life would have been like if I hadn’t had my Gastric Bypass…or if I’d even still be here. But I’m Here… and So Happy with my Life. My Family has grown and I so much enjoy being able to play with my Great Nieces and Nephew. Thank You Dr Abkin for not only being the best at what you do, but for being such a caring person as well