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Angela's Weight Loss Journey
Surgery: Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
Date of Surgery:
Weight Loss Since Surgery: 70 pounds

Angela's Personal Success Story

What was life like before surgery?

I think I tried just about every diet on the market. I have been on and off weight loss programs for many years. I was followed by a local physician for my weight issues with various forms of protein diets and I went to a local weight loss center. I have also followed the ADA diet for diabetes and could only loose a minimal amount of weight. My weight problem made life more challenging. At times I had problems with my breathing and I snored very badly due to the excess weight. My energy level was at a low and I was generally unhappy. Due to my weight, I developed diabetes and hypertension. Diabetes controls every aspect of your life and I also experienced severe aches and pains.

What made you decide to have surgery? 

I am a nurse and I knew that the excess weight was shortening my life. I see patients like myself all of the time and it started to make me think. I just finally realized that I could not do this without help. The final straw that really helped me make my decision was a vacation I took out of the country last year. I realized on the vacation that my life was being totally controlled by my diabetes and I wanted my control back. My diabetes was controlled with an insulin pump, and I had to take all my medications and pump supplies with on the plane. It was such a burden! I had to inform the TSA rep at the airport that I had a pump on which required me to be singled out of the crowd and have a body search at the security checkpoint. I had to carry water on the plane because I was diabetic. By the time I arrived to my destination, I was completely disgusted with the way I had allowed myself to get and thought I had to make a serious change in my life.

What has life been like since your surgery?

I am already seeing significant results from my surgery. I am back to bike riding, and I was able to spend more time outdoors this fall. My ultimate goal is to learn how to run and complete a half marathon with my sister in 2013. I also would like to go hiking again because it has been many years since I was able to do this.

What did you like about the results of your surgery?

I am so happy that I am no longer on the insulin pump or on any medications for my diabetes. My blood pressure has greatly improved and of course I truly love the weight loss.

How long did it take before you noticed progress?

The progress was immediate! Within the first three weeks, I had loss a total of 19 pounds since surgery. When I got ready to come back to work none of my clothes in my closet fit. They were all too big, but this was a great thing!

What have you enjoyed about your experience with the Georgia Regents Weight Loss Center team?

Everyone on the team has been very supportive throughout the entire process.  All of the various departments that I was sent to for my different tests were very kind and supportive as well. I think this has been the most positive experience I have ever had as a patient. I am very proud to say I am employed and work with such great people at Medical Center at Augusta University! My inpatient experience following the surgery was great as well. Everyone was kind, helpful and very respectful.

How has losing weight affected your life?

I would say my entire life has been affected. I was born a normal size baby, but I quickly picked up weight as I started to develop. My parents told me that when I was a baby the pediatrician put me on a diet, but I cried so much that my mother gave in and gave me more formula. So starting as early as an infant, I was always considered the “chunky” and “big boned” young woman. I remember dieting in high school to try to feel like I fit in with the other girls, but after long I gave up because nothing seemed to work.

When you see other people struggling with weight issues, what do you want to tell them?

I want to tell them that they can get help, and it is not their fault. Sometimes we have health conditions that we are unaware of that make losing weight difficult or almost impossible. I want to tell them about how great this surgery worked for me and it could work for them if they are ready. I have realized that you have to be mentally ready because it is a complete change in your way of life. If you are not committed then it will not work.

How has weight loss success improved the quality of  your life?

The greatest improvement for me since losing weight has been the diabetes control and I experienced it immediately. The hypertension has improved and I feel better overall. I am able to move easier since the weight loss as well. I have also followed my physician instructions and nutritionist guidelines on my diet, and added in exercise to achieve my weight loss thus far. I plan on adding more forms of exercise as I continue to heal.