How Bariatric Surgery Changed My Life - Testimonials
“I am extremely happy with my results. I followed orders, I've made the changes mentally before my body would even comply and now I can see the changes and the weight continues to drop off. Now with over 100lbs lost in 7 1/2 months, I have to say that I am beside myself. Literally my life has changed in ways I could never imagine and I feel like I'm 18 again. Thank you Dr. Averbach and your wonderful team!!!” ~ Keisha W, lost 100 pounds
A New Way of Looking at Food (Natasha)
Natasha struggled with her weight her whole life, and attempted many diet plans with no success. When she began to consider weight loss surgery she did her research, and talked to people who had found success through bariatric surgery. “I felt like a failure that I had put this weight on, and needed help to get it off,” says Natasha. “Then I thought about my family, and how much I wanted to be around and able to do activities with my child without being tired all the time.”
After the surgery, Natasha changed the way she viewed food selection as well as life. She now devotes herself to exercise daily and healthy living, and says she has never felt better. “No more will I feel ashamed or embarrass of my weight,” says Natasha. “I was tired of living my life overweight and I am loving my results!” She urges others to find the courage to make a change in their life for good. “I have no regrets and I am not embarrassed about having weight loss surgery. I encourage anyone who struggles with weight loss to consider it because it can change your life.”
Rediscovering the “Wow” in Life
“My WOW moments have been things like the first time I could wear a car seat belt, fitting into a chair, going up the steps, driving again, going from 20 medications to 2, or getting on the floor to cut off some of the low branches at the bottom of my Christmas tree.” ~Laurie, lost 215+ pounds
Laurie remembers going on her first diet in the third grade. It didn’t work. She was adopted, and no one in her adoptive family was overweight – but she met her biological mother in her 20s and found that both she and Laurie’s sister were also overweight. “At that point, I thought there was no use in trying -- I will always be fat,” says Laurie. Laurie continued to gain weight, through a 15-year abusive marriage and having several children. She returned to school for her AA degree, hoping to start over, but the weight continued to pile on and her health continued to decline.
“I had lupus, fibromyalgia, and arthritis with both knees needing joint replacement,” recalls Laurie of her poor condition at the time. “I had sleep apnea. Then there were the medications: I was on well over 20 different medications being taken multiple times a day.” By the time Laurie turned to gastric bypass surgery, she had tried many diets with no results. She was determined to make a change and save her life, so she entered a pre-surgery program at another hospital and began a lengthy fight with her insurance company to acquire the procedure. “I fought and fought. I was turned down again and again. I even appealed their decisions. I went to hearings that were so humiliating. I had to sit in a room with mostly men and beg them to save my life and tell them how fat I was. Still, they turned me down,” she remembers.
Finally in 2005, Laurie’s insurance approved her for surgery. But her bariatric surgeon then refused to do the surgery because of her lupus, even though he had been supportive through 5 years of struggles with the insurance company. Laurie didn’t know where to turn. “I was frantic and depressed. I knew I would die. I felt my body giving out. This was my last chance.”
At this point, Laurie was almost completely bedridden and weight 430 lbs. at her heaviest. “When I had doctor’s appointments, I would basically walk a couple of steps, sit down and crawl to the car that someone had to literally drive across my front lawn to my front door to pick me up inches from the front door. My life was spent in a small hospital bed because I couldn’t get upstairs to my bedroom except once in a great while.” Her doctors said she had less than five years to live in her condition, and she knew it was true. At that point, Laurie says, something inside of her changed.
She turned to Saint Agnes and Dr. Averbach for help. After a team of specialists examined and treated Laurie for various potential risks, Dr. Averbach agreed to operate. “I was and will be forever grateful to him. He not only saved my life. He gave me a life,” says Laurie. Laurie has now dropped 215 lbs and is still losing. “My life is amazing, a gift I treasure every day.
I can never thank or repay Dr. Averbach for taking a chance on me, doing my surgery and giving me a life. The only thing I can do now is not let his wonderful, hard work go to waste. I must do what I am supposed to do and continue to get as healthy as I can. I will always treasure this tool, this gift he gave me.”
“I consider November 2, 2011 to be the first day of my new life. After having gastric bypass surgery performed by Dr. Andrew Averbach, I was free of Type II Diabetes within 8 days. In 8 short weeks, my blood pressure returned to a normal level, and I was off of all of my medications. At 4 months post-op, I ran my very first 5k. I am down 126 pounds and am about 20 pounds from reaching my goal weight. I highly recommend Dr. Averbach and his knowledgeable staff – let them give you the first day of the rest of your life.” ~ Brenda, lost 126 pounds
Surgery Improves Diabetes and Sleep Apnea
Tom had been overweight his entire life, but when he hit the magic 300 pound mark he knew the time had come to make a permanent change. “I never had any problem losing weight, but always gained it back plus some,” says Tom.
His diabetes and sleep apnea had worsened along with his weight, so he had two co-morbidities along with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 37.5 to qualify for bariatric surgery coverage. For the sake of his health, he decided to take that step. At his heaviest, Tom weighed 311 pounds when he received surgery. He was taking Humilog (fast insulin) at meals, Lantus (slow insulin) twice daily, Metformin (2,000mg daily, max dose) Diabeta (twice daily) Lipitor. He used a Bi-level APAP (automatic positive air pressure) for his obstructive sleep apnea.
Tom lost more than 105 pounds to achieve his goal weight of 200 pounds. He is off all medication and is no longer using an APAP machine. “I have ZERO regrets. Right now I need to INCREASE my calorie intake to halt my weight loss, which is a good problem to have!” says Tom.
The Gift of Health
“The years of telling myself I was fine the way I was, loving myself because my husband loved me, and laughing at myself before anyone else could had served a purpose for a while. But my health continued to remind me that all the lies in the world wouldn't prolong my life.” – Teresa, lost 134 pounds
By the time Teresa decided to have bariatric surgery she was living in constant pain caused by her weight and attendant issues. She suffered a mixed connective tissue disease and fibromyalgia, to the point where she says she was “existing, not living.” She describes getting home from work on Friday and medicating before going to bed just to make it back to work Monday morning.
Teresa’s sister had weight loss surgery with Dr. Averbach and was successful. “I was overjoyed for her, but secretly bitter as I felt like the "white elephant" in the room at every family function,” Teresa admits. She decided to look into it further and began to work with her insurance company. When insurance denied her claim, Teresa’s parents stepped forward to offer payment. “I hesitated because of the cost, but my dad said consider it part of my inheritance. They wanted me to live to see it. I believe that gift from them saved my life.”
On June 15, 2007, Teresa received gastric bypass at Saint Agnes from Dr. Averbach and his team. She then lost 134 pounds, to go from a size 26 to a size 8/10.
“Now, when we go on family vacations, I participate with my family rather than stay in the room medicated,” says Teresa. “My children aren't looking at me sadly anymore -- now they are even a little frustrated because mom can be more involved in what they do and don't do, such as schoolwork!” She says that Dr. Averbach and his office has been great through all of it. “If I have ever had a question or problem they have been available immediately. Never once have I felt I was just a patient, or a nuisance,” Teresa said.
Since having the surgery Teresa and her family have moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, but still travels for follow-up care with Dr. Averbach. “He is worth it. I am thankful to God for the blessing of having this surgery and having the chance to have a future with my family.”