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Personal Stories

Tracy

after gastric bypass surgery
After Gastric Bypass

I

Having gastric bypass surgery (GBS) was the best decision I have made for myself and especially for my health.

When I first looked in to GBS in 2008 I was denied by my insurance because I was only over weight, I had no other health issues. However, as time went on I only got heavier and then developed hypertension (high blood pressure), sleep apnea and later found out through Dr. Ellner’s endoscopy, a stomach full of ulcers. I was at my heaviest, 251 lbs. My BMI was 43.1.

I was always unhappy being overweight and I was so tired of the yo-yo dieting and weight-loss weight-gain roller coaster life I was leading. I had been fighting my weight since puberty. I was athletic in high school and off and on throughout my life. I have always enjoyed the beach, hiking and the outdoors in general. I got tired of being fat on the beach and only being able to hike up short trails. Sometimes not even being able to summit.

I decided to attend a weight loss seminar at Grossmont hospital. Dr. Ellner was the doctor giving the seminar. I was so impressed with her knowledge and validation of my feelings and constant struggles with my weight. She did not make me feel bad being overweight and not being able to keep the weight off. She had former patients there to speak and answer any questions any of us had.

before gastric bypass surgery

I lost 34 pounds prior to my surgery on 02/01/2016 through Dr. Ellner’s pre-op Liver shrinking diet. Whenever I was discouraged because of insurance road blocks or my own ulcer issues, Dr. Ellner was there to pick my spirits back up and let me know it is the process and not to worry. She was very encouraging and my biggest supporter. And just when I was giving up on not being able to have the surgery, Dawn called and advised me it was authorized! I could not get on the schedule fast enough!

February 1, 2016 was the first day of the rest of my life! And I was not going to waste it. I woke up from surgery with no pain. When Dr. Ellner came in and checked on me and told me I could take walks around the floor I took total advantage of that. I started walking immediately. I did 100 laps from one end to the other of the surgical floor 3 times a day. Other doctors told me they wished their patients would follow my example. I was released from the hospital a couple days after surgery and I had some pain around the incision sites. The hardest thing for me was the eating, remembering to chew my food to mush type consistency. As the days turned into weeks I had to learn how little my new pouch could hold. I had to listen to my body not my brain. I had to re-learn to eat. I loved walking the pounds off and I did this quickly. The more you move (with Dr. Ellner’s permission) the quicker the pounds come off.

after gastric bypass surgery

It has been 2 years since my surgery. I have been at my goal weight since July 2016 and loving life. I have become an avid hiker and backpacker. I have hiked Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48 at 14,508 feet. I’ve backpacked through Zion NP, hiked Rim2Rim2Rim in the Grand Canyon, backpacked the Eastern Sierra Mountains, hiked all the peaks in Southern California and hiked and backpacked Anza-Borrego desert and many others. I just got back from Peru after backpacking/hiking the original Inca Trail into Machu Pichu. I also hiked Huayna Pichu, the big rock behind Machu Pichu. This was by far the most spiritual and rewarding hike I have done to date. I have plans to hike Kilimanjaro in 2019, the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT), and the John Muir Trail (JMT) and have backpacked the Napali Coast on Kauai. I have completed several 5K’s and 15K’s, but have decided running is not my thing. I also enjoy paddling and may join a paddling club when I have time, but hiking and backpacking takes up all my time. The trails around San Diego are my gym, they are my training hikes for the big ones. I also have been sky-diving, something I always wanted to do but couldn’t because of my weight.

before gastric bypass surgery

I have found that you must find what you love, so try everything. You will find your passion or passions and it will make living life a blast! Having GBS was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I am living and loving life. And without Dr. Ellner and her encouragement this would not have been possible. I thank her at every appointment and even saw her at La Jolla Playhouse and thanked her there. She is always happy to see her patients in the office and in public. Dr. Ellner is the best and I highly recommend her. She will be your biggest cheerleader! She loves to listen to your stories of how your life has changed for the better. She follows you for the rest of your life, she just doesn’t do the surgery and cut you loose. She has you come in regularly to see how you are doing and if you are struggling with something. She is there to help you work through it. She is committed to you for the rest of your life. I am thankful for Dr. Ellner every day!

If you have any questions you can email me at tracymcpike@gmail.com.

 

after gastric bypass surgery after gasric bypass surgery

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