Category: News Published on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 12:04 Written by Catt Tatum Hits: 1604
In recent years that has been a growing trend in the Bariatric Community. A surgical procedure better known as Gastric Bypass surgery has stirred up quite a bit of controversy in mainstream America.
SK recently had the privilege of interviewing five amazing people who have had the surgery and/or considering the surgery. All of them are in different stages of their weight loss journey’s. This topic will be a “two-part” series focusing on the phenomenon of Weight Loss Surgery and why it is becoming the popular choice in fighting obesity.
Darwin Jackson of Chicago, Illinois
Katrina Fluker-Stewart of Tampa, Florida
George “Juice” Hall of Woodbury, Minnesota
SK: What made you take such drastic measures to lose weight?
Darwin: It was because of multiple attempts to lose weight. WLS (Gastric Bypass) was a final attempt. It was an extreme decision for an extreme problem. At my highest weight I was, 448lbs. My back hurt if I walked a half block. My knees hurt. I couldn’t wear the seatbelt in my car. In fact, I had to buy a truck because I couldn’t deal with squeezing into a car.
Katrina: I made the decision on my own after having one health issue after another. My health issues continued to arise and I was in my early 20's. At such a young age, I was already struggling with high blood pressure, knee problems, GERD, and I was a border line diabetic. After trying every diet and following all the suggestions given to me by my doctors and family members to lose weight...and continuing to fail, I made up my mind to go ahead with the surgery.
George: I was a severe diabetic. I was taking 6 shots of Insulin and 4 pills daily to combat diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Diet and exercise was helping, but I was on a collision course with Heart Disease, Blindness, and possible Amputations, so the choice was clear.”
SK: How do you feel now that you have had the surgery?
Darwin: The first thing I noticed after surgery was that my back and knee’s stopped hurting when I walked. Strangely enough, my skin cleared up. I’m sure that this was a result of the healthier choices I was making. And, I no longer tire quickly…I’m like a machine now! Having the surgery was the best thing I could have done for myself.
Katrina: Before surgery I was miserable. I had no energy and no motivation. I just had no interest in life and the activities life had to offer. After surgery it took a few months, but I started "living" again. I no longer have the desire to stay in bed or, stay in the house. I have tons of energy and I just want to “go, see, and do!”
George: I feel wonderful. I have a new lease on life. I did the work that comes before and after my WLS and I'm still working on it. I wake up everyday thankful. I eat differently, I play harder, and I know I will live longer.
Darwin: My relationship with food has changed. In preparation for surgery I was made aware of several reasons why I ate and how I ate. I had to adjust my eating because of knowledge AND physical limitations. Gastric Bypass works in a couple of different ways. Not only does it limit your intake of food, it also causes malabsorption, which means that the nutrients within food is not fully absorbed and this can cause deficiencies of certain vitamins. As a result, I have to take Multi-vitamins, B-complex and Calcium Citrate daily for the rest of my life. The goal is healthier living, so one must make healthier choices.
Katrina: You have to put in the work! It may come off easily in the beginning but this is not a race. This is for life! So your health and results depend on you doing what you’re supposed to do, which is eating right and exercising on a regular basis. It’s easy to lose focus, but trust me when I say, “its better to stick with it than to have to start all over and I’m speaking from experience.”
George: I have to eat wisely, drink plenty of water, and get my protein in. I have to stay away from sweets (sugar) and breads. I no longer have to shop in the “big and tall” stores. And, I can now get on the “roller coaster” rides at the amusement parks instead of watching everyone else get on and have fun. I now take the stairs instead of the elevator.
SK: Many people in society have said that your decision to have WLS is taking the “easy way out.” What is your take on society’s opinion of your choice to have Weight Loss Surgery?
Darwin: Most of it is bred in ignorance. They just don’t know how or why it works, so they believe whatever they hear instead of researching it themselves. Weight Loss Surgery is a tool towards better health. It’s not the “quick fix” that many think it is. Because of its popularity, it’s becoming more accepted, so I wouldn’t say society’s views are positive or negative… I would say that there are the “informed,” “un-informed” and the “misinformed.”
Katrina: Well if that’s the way they want to look at it…then I’m glad. It is the “easy way” out because it makes no sense to continue to struggle a losing battle when there’s a so-called “easier” way to do it!”
George: It's been nearly 100% positive reactions from family, friends, coworkers, and my physicians. Being linked to athletics with all its characteristics & professionals, I thought I'd be judged for taking the "easy" route unlike certain nationally televised weight loss programs that shed a negative light on Weight Loss Surgery. I received full support from within my circle and outside my circle.
SK: Is there anything that you want to tell our readers that you wished someone would have told you before you had Weight Loss Surgery?
Darwin: Weight Loss Surgery is a very personal decision and it is not for everyone. I'd advise anyone considering WLS to do a lot of research and find the surgery that is best for them. As there are many different kinds...
Katrina: Don’t have this surgery thinking its going to change your life instantly. There are so many emotional roller coasters that come along with the decision of having surgery. Go to counseling, whether you think you need it or not....once you no longer have "food" to comfort you, there are so many other things out there that "could" be comforting to you that may be BAD for you. Do your research so that you really know what you’re getting into. I was blessed to have had successful results from the surgery, but they didn’t come without trial & error.
George: Start a healthier routine before your Weight Loss Surgery to help you prepare for your new lifestyle.
SK: If our readers have any questions for any of you, how can they get in touch with you?