Client Profile: Tobi-Lynn
During the summer of 2008, I began to investigate bariatric surgery. I knew a woman who had the gastric band procedure and quizzed her at length. She gave me a helpful booklet from her surgeon, and then my mom introduced me to one of her neighbors who also had the procedure. Then I hit the internet and learned all I could, including the experience of different surgeons in my area. I decided I really wanted to do it -after almost 30 years of dieting, all I had done was lose a lot of weight to then gain it back. I checked into my insurance and its requirements to qualify for coverage. I also interviewed several surgeons. Dr. Chae was, in my opinion, by far the most experienced and competent. When we met, we just clicked.
Then began the next phase of my journey --a six-month, doctor-supervised diet, a meeting with a psychologist and a class with my surgeon's nutritionist to learn what it would take to succeed after surgery. I did it all - eagerly! After submitting the insurance paperwork, I waited and waited to find out if I qualified. I got the great news on my birthday that I did! Yippee! I had my gastric band surgery on June 15, 2009 and have never regretted it for a moment!
It is a journey, the band is a tool. I've had to learn a lot of lessons and challenging things about myself. It has not been easy. There have been slip-ups and bad behaviors rearing their ugly heads when I felt I could not cope. I lost my mom suddenly on May 2, 2010 after she had neck surgery. But, through it all, Dr. Chae, Kelly Elliott and the fantastic support group at Sky Ridge have helped me get back up and keep walking my journey. I have a wonderfully supportive family and friend network. But truly being able to relate with people who "get it" and understand the struggles we face is priceless.
I ended 2010 at my goal -a normal BMI. Wow! I have lost 75 pounds and gained a new appreciation for the things I am physically able to do now. My kids said they are proud of me! Two teenagers who are proud of their mom? Priceless! We ride bikes together, walk/hike, camp, ride four-wheelers, go snowmobiling and I'm even back to skiing! Life is good again and I can participate. My health has improved by leaps and bounds. I'm no longer hypertensive and am off the meds and my cholesterol numbers are back in the normal range too.
Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! Would I recommend it? Yes, but I do encourage people to really learn what it is about, what they will need to give up and live with as a result of the choice to have surgery. Visit the Sky Ridge bariatric support group and ask questions. And, be sure to meet Dr. Chae -he is the best surgeon I know.