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Personal Stories

Catalina

after gastric bypass surgery
12 Months After Surgery

I

had my surgery 1 year anniversary this past October 2017. At my heaviest I was 235lbs 50% fat mass and now have lost 100lbs over the past year and have only 20% fat mass. It was the best decision I ever made.

I always struggled with my weight. I did every diet known to man and sometimes it would work and sometimes not, but I would always gain the weight back. After I had my second child, losing weight got harder. As I got heavier, I was discouraged, sedentary and ultimately depressed. I got tired very easily, going up a flight of stairs I was out of breath, playing outside with my kids was difficult. I limited myself to what I could do because it was hard with the weight, but also because I was embarrassed. During the summer I avoided the beach and pools so that I wouldn’t have to wear a bathing suit. Our neighbors had a hot tub and I always found an excuse not to join in. I missed out on things like ice skating and skiing which my family likes to do, because my legs were too big to fit the skates and boots.

My legs were always the biggest part of my body partly because that is where fat concentrates in my body and partly because I retain a lot of water. My ankles were huge. I was never able to wear boots, even the ones with a wide calf. I once, not even at my heaviest, had custom boots made just so I could wear them. I can now wear any boots I want and I love it! I know it is a little thing, but one that brings me a lot of joy because it is something that always bothered me.

I got very heavy, my feet and knees were constantly in pain, while walking, sitting and riding in planes. I was using a CPAP machine at night for sleep apnea and even got Barrett’s syndrome which is a precancerous disease of the esophagus, due to acid reflux. I was in my early thirties and having all these medical issues; I’d had enough. I decided to make a change, not only to how my body looked, but also a life style change. I came to one of the informational sessions, met Dr. Ellner and it changed my life.

I booked an appointment and started the preparation for the surgery. I was on the liver reducing diet for 6 months, which was a struggle because sweets have always been my weakness and the diet was only protein and vegetables. 2 weeks before surgery I was put on a liquid only diet and I have to say it was easier than I thought. By that time I was very motivated and excited about my journey. However, my husband and friends might disagree with me as I get very irritable when hungry.

I was concerned about what I was going to be able to eat, especially because my husband and I love to go out and eat all the time and also because I travel a lot for work and food choices can be more difficult when travelling. Regardless, I jumped and decided to have the surgery.

The surgery was a success and I was home 2 days after the operation. I have followed Dr. Ellner’s instructions throughout the process. I take my vitamins, exercise and eat the right way. I am happy to say that I have not had a single complication throughout the year and I feel great.

At the beginning, like with any abdominal surgery, there were some limitations as to what I could eat, but now I am able to eat everything. Off course in smaller portions, but I do not deprive myself and I’m able to participate in events like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The protein shakes, especially the Isopure, were my favorite and really helped me at the beginning. I would travel with my protein drinks and didn’t have to worry about only finding a taco or quesadillas on the go during my work trips to Mexico. Also, when travelling, if I had a business lunch or dinner my go to food was soup. It was small, easy to digest and it allowed me to be part of the dinner without bringing attention to my surgery or limited eating at the time.

Now 14 months after my surgery I love to exercise. I try new things all the time - home exercise videos, spinning, running stairs, boot camp classes, treadmill, weights, etc. I have a lot more energy, I play with my kids, I love to have pool days and play in the water with my daughters and we have even tried ice skating. A word of caution: my stomach changed, but my eyes stayed the same. All the mental weaknesses I had before surgery still exists. I am now aware of them and consciously work through them every day to really achieve a lifestyle change. I feel more confident in my own skin, I love to shop and try new cute outfits and of course wear high boots.

If you have any questions about my weight loss experience, you can email me at ktonga12@gmail.com

Cadeucus