My Patients


Personal Stories



hen I was considering weight loss surgery I visited this website and poured over these stories. They helped me cement my resolve that this was the right path for me. I hope my story might help you in the same way.

before gastric bypass surgery

My journey to weight loss surgery has been a long one. I would love to say that I knew immediately and whole heartedly that I wanted weight loss surgery, but I call it a journey because that’s exactly what it was for me. I had been overweight my whole life. If you are reading this, maybe you are familiar with the cycle of dieting, weight loss, struggle, and regain. It is incredibly defeating, and I kept telling myself that if I could just be strong enough that I would lose weight in the long term. Spoiler alert, it didn’t happen.

In 2016 I went to see Dr. Ellner speak. It was inspiring, and I knew that if I ever was brave enough that she would be my first call. I desperately wanted the freedom that weight loss represented to me, but I was too scared to follow through. I lost weight on my own, and I gained it again. In 2019 I was 35 years old, had degenerative arthritis, my knees and hips were shot, and I started having days where I had to walk with a cane. I was car camping, and my friends were headed out on a hike with their kids. I could barely make it around the block without incredible pain, and I so desperately wanted to take my daughter and hike with them. That was my enough-is-enough moment.

before gastric bypass surgery

I went to see Dr. Ellner in October of 2019. At that point, I had lost some weight on my own and weighed in at a low (for me) 308 pounds. I hobbled into her office. She was warm and welcoming to me, as she is to everyone, but I was so scared I couldn’t stop tearing up. What I was thinking about doing was so drastic to me. Was it really worth all of this? Spoiler alert, it was.

before gastric bypass surgery

I was determined that if I was going to do this, I was going to give it my whole heart. In the months that followed, I stuck to the pre-op diet like glue with Dr. Ellner’s constant encouragement. I took my vitamins, gave up soda and alcohol, ate only foods on the liver shrinking diet, and started painfully and slowly exercising. On surgery day I had lost 60 pounds! It was a wonderful practice period for all of the new habits that I needed after surgery.

I was terrified on the day of surgery, but Dr. Ellner’s smiling face was there in pre-op and as soon as I woke up in recovery. I took my pre-op skills and put them to use every day; I take my vitamins, drink my water, eat reasonably, go to support group, reach out to Dr. Ellner when I need help, and exercise consistently. It is a new lifestyle from the one I was leading before, but I feel like I have a tool to help me succeed. For the first time, it seems possible to achieve and maintain a healthy weight for my body.

When I was pre-op I was hyper focused on how long it would take to get to my goal. As if my journey was binary; I was either 300+ pounds and in pain every day or I was at my goal weight with all that it entailed. I wish someone would have told me that each day is a little better than the last. That your effort matters, is cumulative, and that at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, I can see a huge difference in my mobility and my life.

It’s only been about six months since the day of surgery, and to say my world has changed is a drastic understatement. I still have a ways to go until I’m at goal, but I am thrilled with where I am. I’m currently 125 pounds down. For the first time I can run up the stairs, keep up with my kids, fit in an airplane seat, and buy clothes from almost anywhere. I’ve always loved being outdoors. I have camped and hiked more in the last 6 months that I have in my entire life. I just completed a solo backpacking trip where I trekked 10+ miles a day with a 40-pound pack. This is something that never would have been possible for me before. I am looking forward to the next six months, celebrating the anniversary of my surgery, and all of the adventures I will have between now and then.

Stay tuned for progress updates!

Jesse After Gastric Bypass Surgery

If you have questions, you can email me.