“I had had a blood clot in my leg and was dealing with a wide variety of symptoms. High blood pressure, knee, back and hip pain and polycystic ovarian syndrome to name a few. I was only 25 and was going to be unable to start a family with my husband.
I had tried several diets and different workout routines and none of them worked. When these methods continued to fail, I knew I needed help. I didn’t need to lose 50 pounds to be healthy, I needed to lose 150. My primary care provider reminded me that there was nothing I could do about my genetics, but there was something I could do about the weight. If I didn’t, it was likely I would clot again. This was the moment I knew I needed to get weight loss surgery.
My mom, who’s been my biggest supporter, and I went to the “Get the Facts about Surgical Weight Loss” seminar at UnityPoint Clinic Weight Loss - West Des Moines and learned about the different types of surgery. It was at the seminar where I learned that this was not going to be an “easy fix.” I was going to get a jump start, but from there it was me that was going to have to do the work. After consulting with my primary care provider, I chose the gastric sleeve. The process from seminar to surgery took about five months and I lost 60 pounds within the first three months from the surgery. It gave me the motivation to start putting in the rest of the work. I worked very hard to learn how to eat healthier and was thankful to Janelle, dietitian, for always being available if I needed her. I felt better, I felt stronger and my self-confidence was growing every day. Unlike pre-surgery, I did not quit.
Now, five years later, I have lost 160 pounds. I don’t struggle with high blood pressure. I no longer have knee, back or hip pain. My husband and I have an amazing two-year-old son; I can play and enjoy life with them. I lead an active lifestyle and finally feel like I am living life to its fullest.
My biggest piece of advice for people looking to change their life through surgery is make rules and stick to them. I will never drink carbonated drinks or eat McDonald's again. It’s these small steps that truly make a big change. Don’t ever look at surgery as the "end all, be all." You’ll lose weight at first, but if you don’t change your overall lifestyle, learn and embrace a new way of eating and find an activity you enjoy, you will be missing out on the most important benefits of this journey.
I’ll never be ashamed that I got weight loss surgery. I needed help saving my life and the staff at UnityPoint Clinic did just that. Everyone from the registration staff to the nurses and Dr. LaMasters helped give me a fighting chance. I will forever be grateful to them for my new, better life."