Michelle was struggling with health complications as a result of obesity and often found herself unable to participate in activities with friends and family. Finally, Michelle decided she had enough and wanted to be able to enjoy her life again. She met with Dr. Houston at Nashville Weight Loss Solutions, and he helped her explore the different options available for her to reach her weight loss goals. Together, they decided that gastric bypass surgery would help change her life for the better.
We asked Michelle some questions about her experience with gastric bypass surgery, and she shared her inspirational story about her journey to a happier, healthier life!
What was your life like before surgery?
I had been struggling to get my weight under control. The numbers on the scale just continued to go higher and higher. My highest weight was 472 lbs. I was over fifty and realized that I was missing out on way too much life. I was avoiding people and avoiding life because of my weight. The final straw was a vacation my family took, where I did not leave the resort. My weight held me back from participating in any of the activities with my family.
Additionally, because of my weight, I had persistent atrial fibrillation and terrible heartburn, and it was too much. It was not a way to live.
Why did you choose Nashville Weight Loss Solutions?
I started researching the weight loss center and participated in a seminar that Dr. Houston did. I just loved his approach. When I met him, it was confirmed that he was the right guy to do my surgery.
At first, I was worried that I was too big to have the surgery. Dr. Houston alleviated that fear quickly, and he agreed that I was not living a good life and said that he could help me. He said he would do his part, but I had to do my part. We talked about gastric sleeve vs. bypass, and because of my horrible heartburn, we decided that gastric bypass was the best solution for me. Within a couple of months, I got the surgery.
What tools were provided to prepare you for life after the surgery?
The booklet and the pre-op classes were very helpful, and the whole staff was supportive. If I had questions, I could call and get an answer. If the person I called didn’t have the answer, they could connect me to someone who did. They don’t hold your hand the whole time, but they are there if you need your hand held.
I also discovered a Facebook message board that has been very helpful. Reaching out online has helped me because you get to see other people’s stories, and you have that sense of camaraderie with people who know the experience of being morbidly obese and have gone through the surgery.
What was your experience post-op?
The post-op went relatively smoothly. I was there for two days and two nights. All of the nurses on the floor at Centennial Hospital were very supportive and encouraging. The whole experience has been excellent. I came home and started losing weight really quickly and steadily after that. I have lost 260 lbs overall.
How has your life changed since the surgery?
I have an entirely different life! I have a life I couldn't have even imagined two years ago. I had my surgery on August 29th of 2017. Since then, not only have I participated in family vacations, I’ve also taken some trips completely by myself. I took an 11-day trip last summer to visit friends and family I hadn’t seen in a long time because I hid from everybody. I was too embarrassed about my weight to go to weddings and family reunions.
Now, I’m living a full life. I rode a roller coaster this summer with my grandson. I do what I want now. I even plan on going zip-lining soon. I am doing all of the stuff that I missed out on. I’m also going back to school to become a social worker so that I can work with other people who have had things in their lives that have prevented them from living life to the fullest.
Another thing is the atrial fibrillation that I mentioned. I’m off all of those medications, and I have not had one episode of atrial fibrillation since having my gastric bypass surgery.
Do you wish you had the surgery sooner?
I wish I had been willing to explore bariatric surgery sooner. I kept telling myself that I can move it down the road, that I had lost weight before. I’ve had to learn to not live with regret for the years I was obese because I can’t go back and change that.
I would say to anybody who is trying to decide if they should wait or not to do it, because they are older or for whatever reason, that this is a one-shot deal. You have the opportunity to change your life, and Dr. Houston and his team are ready to help you do that.
I wish I had been ready sooner. I’m grateful that I did it when I did it. I don’t think I would have seen sixty if I hadn’t had the surgery. Now, I’m planning on being around in my 80s.
What advice do you have for people preparing for weight loss surgery?
Be ready for everything to change. Be patient. Participate in the support groups or have a solid support system even outside of your family. Seek out and get to know other people that are going through the same thing. There are usually psychological and emotional reasons that lead to being overweight. Those things don’t go away just because we have a tool that keeps us from eating. When I’m upset, I can’t go through the drive-through and fill up on food. I have to find different ways to cope with those things. Help is out there. This isn't a journey anybody has to go through alone.
You not only have to learn how to eat, but how to dress. I used only to try to find things that could fit on my body. Now, I have options that I haven’t had in twenty or more years. That part can be kind of overwhelming sometimes.
Go to your follow up appointments. I can’t stress this enough. Even if you don’t think you’ve done what you need to do, or if you haven’t lost as fast as you think you should for whatever reason, go and check-up. Take care of yourself, and know that the doctor is part of your team and not your enemy.
We all have different pieces of our puzzle that are missing or broken or too much, and we try to put these pieces in the wrong hole. Dr. Houston and his team have a multi-faceted approach to this, and the biggest tool in the toolbox is the support. They will do their part to help you get the tools you need, but you have to do your part to use them.
Would you recommend Dr. Houston to others?
Absolutely! They offer so much support and so many different kinds of support. The people at Nashville Weight Loss Solutions care, and they continue to show support well after the surgery. I am so grateful for the life I have today thanks to them.
Contact Nashville Weight Loss Solutions for more information about our weight loss options.
Are you dieting and exercising on your own, but still not getting the results you want? Nashville Weight Loss Solutions offers a comprehensive range of proven weight loss programs to help, whether you need to lose 20 pounds or 200. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation!