Success StoriesSee the difference with weight loss surgery

Meet Beth, 125 lbs weight loss

April 9, 2018, was a date to remember for Beth Scheidler of Princeton. It marked her one-year anniversary to a day that changed her life, her family’s life, and her future. Beth, like many women these days struggles to find the right work/life balance. As a Family Nurse Practitioner in Princeton, her job is very demanding and her days are long. She is married to Jason, her husband of 25 years and they have one son, Jake, who is 17 years of age. Over the years with going to school, having a family and a hectic work schedule, Beth neglected to take a lot of time out for herself and focus on what she needed. She, like many other women put everybody else first. Her top priority was her family, and being actively involved in her son’s rodeo activities.

“I’ve always struggled with my weight,” said Beth. “I couldn’t ride horses anymore and my feet and knees just hurt.”

When her weight reached a point where she could not do some of the things she loved anymore, that is when Beth made a decision to do something about it. She contacted Dr. Brian Swain and Bariatric Solutions in Murray to set up her initial appointment.

“I was nervous to go because I knew I was unhealthy. Dr. Swain and the staff are all great! No one makes you feel like they are judging you; they provided so much education and support. It was just a great experience and the only regret I have is that I didn’t do it years ago.”

She met with the office in September of 2017 to start the education process and in January took a step further before her surgery to begin exercising and making better eating choices. Two weeks prior to gastric sleeve surgery Beth began the liver shrinking diet and by her surgery day was already down 25 lbs.

I asked her what she thought the key to her success with the surgery has been. Beth said that she learned a lot and received so much education on what to expect and what comes next that she felt very informed about everything that was going to happen in the process. She also said the support from her husband Jason and her son Jake was key to keep moving forward.

When I asked her what the hardest part has been, she said the liver shrinking diet prior to surgery was probably the hardest but she thought to herself that she could do anything for two weeks.

Today, Beth has lost 125 lbs and what a reason to celebrate her success on her 1 year anniversary! Now a shopper which she didn’t love before, Beth continues to celebrate the little things like walking in a store and being able to purchase items off the clearance rack because she’s a size medium when she started as a 3XLG and hadn’t been able to do that.

What else has changed for Beth and her family? She can ride horses again with her husband and her son. When her son qualified for nationals in rodeo, she was able to go to Wyoming and go white water rafting and do a variety of activities with her family that she could not before.

“I just have much more energy and don’t just crash when I get home like a did before. Also, even my patients notice a change and make comments to my staff and myself that I just overall seem happier and bubblier. When they ask what I did, I always tell them that I exercise regularly and changed my diet, gastric sleeve surgery was just the tool I needed to get me going,” said Beth.

It’s not easy she continued to tell me, “I still have cravings for bad food but now I just eat smaller portions and I try to make healthier lean meat choices and eat more veggies. I typically eat three small meals a day and have two snacks. My favorite snacks are almonds, and apples with peanut butter. I’m also still exercising 3-4 times a week and have found a great group that I enjoy doing Barre, Cycling and Kettle Bell classes with!”

Her final thoughts for anyone struggling with obesity, and where to start next, were these simple words: Once you get your mind really set, you can do anything!

 

 

Meet Andy, 74 lbs weight loss

Andy's two kids, Matthew, 12 and Caden, 10 were definitely his motivation to lose weight. His trigger to make a change begin while playing little league football with his kids. He felt worn out after just 5-10 minutes and when asked to be a referee, he felt physically unable to give his all to doing it.

“I got to do something,” he said.

So he did, on August 20, 2019, he underwent gastric sleeve surgery. Andy is 8 months post op and has lost 74 lbs. His is 52 lbs. from his long-term goal. Andy is a Murray State University team leader over the building service techs and recently received a promotion.

"I look at my eating habits, try to eat more vegetables and not much fast food or any junk food in general. I have a lot more energy and try to exercise everyday and just enjoy life. I can actually play football with my kids and go hiking with my family."

“I enjoy lifting weights the most, and for cardio I like taking my wife, Melissa, and our children to hike or to the park. It is good for them and for me.”

 

 

Meet Ashley, 236 lbs weight loss

Ashley's struggle with her weight began as a child. At 13 years of age, she weighed 298 lbs. and felt like she was in a body she did not deserve to be. She had little self-esteem and as she grew older continued to gain weight and allow food to be her comfort. At the age of 27, Ashley found herself not ever wanting to leave the house. She had reached 480 lbs. by this point.

“All my life I was different. I was always the biggest in my family,” she said.

In August of 2013, more life changes took place when she lost her dad. She was a daddy’s girl and after he passed, she began to eat even more to deal with her emotions. Things begin to spiral out of control when she was rushed to the Emergency room with an infection in her bloodstream caused from a cyst on her stomach and then a few weeks later was back in the hospital for nearly three more weeks with cellulitis in her right leg.

In 2015, Ashley fell to the lowest point in her life and found herself in an abusive relationship. She had reached 520 lbs. at this point and had just heard about Dr. Swain offering bariatric surgery.

Her nephews are also a huge part of her life and would constantly ask her when she was going to play with them. All of these life events finally led her to making an appointment with the Bariatric Solutions office and Dr. Swain.

“I thought if there’s any hope I have to go here. So I went to the support group meeting. If you’ve never been a big person and had to deal with the cruelty of bigger people you don’t understand. Other people in the support group know where I’ve been. They were all so supportive, Dr. Swain saw me at my worst and I never felt judged by anyone at their office for my weight,” said Ashley.

Much like our other success stories, Ashley said the first step was admitting she had a problem and knowing she had to make a lot of changes. On February 6, 2017, she underwent gastric bypass and by 9 weeks post-surgery had lost 31 lbs.

She had made a goal to lose 100 lbs by her birthday that year on July 13, surpassed her goal and hit 107 lbs. of weight loss.

“I just kept thinking that I don’t want to go back to my old lifestyle. It was miserable. I was getting skin infections constantly and staying sick.”

Ashley has learned a lot and she says her eating habits have changed and she’s able to exercise and walk around and play basketball and kickball with her nephews. She feels like she actually has a life.

“It was hard but once I started losing the weight I could walk a lot further and even play some with my nephews – I used to go to the bathroom and be out of breath.”

On June 25, 2018, Ashley had a skin removal surgery that removed an additional 22 lbs. of skin. She said this was also a big step, which helped remove the excess weight of my stomach from hitting her legs.

As she continued to lose weight, the excess skin became more of an issue and she completed her third surgery on February 12, 2019, to remove additional skin from her legs and arms. Ashley will be 31 in July and is currently at 288 lbs. She continues to go to the support group meetings and says the encouragement continues to motivate her. Just at the last meeting, someone new told her what an inspiration she was. Her goal is 220 lbs.

"I get to spend time with my nephews and help take care of my mom now; they are my world and they need me. I have a better outlook on life because I'm able to do more. I don't have to worry about my weight killing me now. So much physically has changed, I had Type 2 Diabetes since I was 13, and suffered with sleep apnea since 2006. Both are gone. I've also been on thyroid medication since childhood and am now on a lower dose than when I was a teenager. Everything has changed and I have more self-confidence, and I'm in a new relationship with someone who really supports me."

 

 

Meet Stacey, 160 lbs weight loss

When her husband became disabled, Stacey felt like her life was spinning out of control and she had lost a sense of security. He suffers from multiple health issues and is essentially bedridden. She knew she had to regroup and make changes.

“I wanted to get as strong and healthy as possible to care for my husband! That was my motivation to change,” she said. “It wasn’t all about vanity – I wanted a second chance to change everything - my entire lifestyle. I didn’t want a quick fix, I wanted to be the most compliant patient ever and follow every rule and make the necessary changes all along the journey to make it last.”

On April 25, 2016, her second chance began when she had bariatric gastric sleeve surgery. Stacey says the first year she focused on learning how to eat healthy and what to eat. Three months after she had the surgery she started doing cardio machines at the gym then over the course of the year added Yoga, weights and running. She said she had walked the dog some prior to surgery but had never been dedicated to working out.

The second year she increased her exercise and strength training and was excited to be able to try kayaking, something she never would have tried before. Now that its’ been three years, she’s keeping her fitness a priority and is working on the behavioral and emotional aspects involved in maintaining weight loss. She says she tries to stay focused by making plans that help her make the best food choices and staying active.

“I can now do the yard work, housework and everything I need to do to care for my husband. I can go to the gym and do the body pump classes there. That’s my ‘me time’, it’s my thing, and I can’t wait to go now,” Stacey commented.

The new more confident Stacey has lost a total of 160 lbs. She says her biggest advice if someone is struggling with their weight and thinking about bariatric surgery is to do your research, be informed about how it works, know the statistics, and go for consultation. She also said don’t be a regain statistic, use the tool (bariatric surgery) in the right way and make it work. In the end, it all comes down to the choices the patient makes.

“The first appointment was the hardest – be brave enough to see what its’ about and meet the team. Just go talk to them,” said Stacey

The changes have been good for their family also. Her husband and three grown children have all been supportive and are proud of her success.

“Its’ been three years and I’m doing great – I haven’t had a single complication and my surgery was textbook. Everyone at Dr. Swain’s office I consider my special ops team. They’re who I go to for answers to any questions and they set you up for success by educating and preparing you so well before surgery. You just have to be willing to do what they tell you and follow the plan.”

 

 

Meet Rob, 116 lbs weight loss

Rob is a 44 year old father, husband, and preacher living a busy life with a full load. As a teenager Rob never had to worry about his weight – he was active in high school. Then for Rob, much like for many of us, life gets really busy, you get married, have kids, and try to stay focused on your life goals, all while maintaining a balance between work and your personal life.

Rob was just that person – he was really dedicated to his family and to his commitment as a preacher. At age 31, he was diagnosed with Type II diabetes and became insulin dependent. He began experiencing depression and had absolutely no energy, which later he found were both side effects of the insulin dependency. His weight was at an all-time high reaching 330 pounds and he knew something had to change. After years of taking insulin he decided in 2013 to start exercising. He began walking 7 miles a day in the hope of eliminating his insulin regimen and was able to get his weight down to 290 lbs., losing 40 pounds over three years by incorporating exercise. However, his blood sugar continued to rise despite his new exercise routine and it was recommended by his physician to begin insulin again in the fall of 2016. It was at that time he was referred to the Bariatric Solutions office to help take better control of his weight and get nutrition therapy, so his diabetes could be better managed.

In November 2016, he had his first visit to Bariatric Solutions where he met with Rebecca Wright, Registered and Licensed Dietitian who taught him about proper nutrition, when to eat, what to eat, and how nutrition choices affected his diabetes. He started with daily food logs and weigh-ins in the Bariatric Solutions office which kept him accountable and on track. He also stopped eating fast food regularly which had been part of his regular diet. With continued nutrition counseling Rob lost an additional 35 lbs. prior to surgery, however, he was still battling elevated A1C levels and was on four medications for diabetes daily.

“I learned so much about nutrition that I thought I knew, but I really did not. The key is to follow the regimen laid out by the Bariatric Solutions team, they were amazing,” said Rob.

Initially, he had no intent to have weight loss surgery but after his A1C levels continued to rise, he made the decision to move forward with the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass weight loss surgery. He lost an additional 41 lbs. following his weight loss surgery on 6/5/17 and 76 lbs. total since he first met with Rebecca Wright in November of 2016. The results were almost immediate. He lost 20 lbs. in June, 10 additional pounds in July, and then continued gradual weight loss of 11 pounds over the next three months. Rob has lost a total of 116 lbs. from his highest point and is now 214 lbs.

“I want people to know that they have no idea what they’re missing out on in life – the energy I have now is worth it alone, plus my health is so much better. I’m just enjoying life more,” he exclaimed.

“I used to wear a XXXL shirt and now I buy an XLG for comfort, but really could wear a large,” he said.

Besides the impact his bariatric journey has had on him personally, the best benefits have come to what matters to him most, his family. He has taken his knowledge and incorporated it into his family goals. His kids now eat correct portion sizes of good food, at appropriate times of the day, and they drink a ton of water. Their whole routine has changed. Rob’s life also completely changed throughout his bariatric journey. He now enjoys attending his kid’s baseball games and doesn’t feel like he has to avoid people and he isn’t self-conscious like he was before his weight loss.

“I can’t say enough about the entire team – they were amazing! Not only were they professional but they were compassionate as well and the support group was a big help,” said Rob.

Rob continues to maintain healthy habits and he walks 28 miles a week and incorporates prayer into his walking routine. He says that walking has become his “happy place” and brings him great joy.

Rob’s final thoughts were simple – follow the plan, listen to the team, keep your daily food logs, and be accountable. It really does work!

Start now and make a commitment to change your lifestyle to a healthier new you. If weight loss is something you struggle with and you want to know more about nutrition education or weight loss surgery options, call Bariatric Solutions of Murray-Calloway County Hospital at 270.762.1547.