In Her Own Words:
On March 18, 2006 I woke up and couldn't see, couldn't walk, and lost all control of all body functions. After several months of testing, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) on June 5, 2006. That diagnosis ended my career as an Emergency Department Patient Care RN. I spent five months in physical and occupational therapy learning to walk and deal with my balance issues.
Over the next two years I gained almost 100 pounds. I was not able to stand for more than two or three minutes, I could not do aerobic exercise due to my size, by then over 300 pounds, and the MS symptoms become worse with heat, so it was a no-win situation. I basically became homebound, and at 48 my life was over as far as I was concerned. My blood pressure remained elevated on three different medications, my heart rate was elevated, my feet would swell and turn purple, I became completely out of breath walking to the car. My knees were shot and I was getting injections into the knee joint every two to three months. I needed knee replacement, but with my size and MS I couldn't be successfully rehabilitated after the surgery.
In March of 2009 I heard about Dr. Anderson and the Surgical Weight Loss program he was heading up at St. Francis from my neurologist. Three years before I had looked into gastric bypass with another doctor and the same neurologist had refused to clear me for surgery, so this spoke volumes to me about the state of my health.
When I initially met with Dr. Anderson, he was not sure I was a good candidate due to the MS limitations. I had to convince him I would be compliant; Id find a way to get exercise. About this same time St. Francis made available an aquatic therapy program, and my neurologist changed me to that.
On June 8, 2009, almost three years to the day from my MS diagnosis, I went to surgery for the Roux-En-Y gastric bypass. I had the surgery and came out with no complications. I was walking that evening and didn't need any narcotic pain medicine. When I went home two days after surgery, the doctors were already stopping some of my blood pressure medications.
The first week I lost 18 pounds. I was amazed. Just six months out from surgery, I have now lost 75 pounds, and I am off all my blood pressure meds. I can stand for more than 16 minutes. I have had no injections into my knee since the week before surgery. I had not been able to go more than three months without knee injections in years. The swelling in my feet has resolved and Im no longer winded. I am able to get out and about much easier.
Dr. Anderson saved my life, I don't say that lightly. The impact on my life is more than I can put into words. The surgery itself can not stand alone though. I have been 100% compliant with the pre- and post-surgery instructions. Which I attribute to me having no issues post surgery, no nausea, no vomiting, and no pain NO COMPLICATIONS. I believe that being compliant is not negotiable; compliance impacts your outcome and results.
In addition, the St. Francis Surgical Weight Loss Program is set up not only for outstanding patient care pre-surgery, but post surgery as well. This I feel is a huge patient satisfier. I still see Dr. Anderson for post surgery checkups, I have unlimited access to the dietitian and the coordinator. The monthly support group has become my extended family. The staff is so in tune to the needs of the Bariatric patient. Again I cant say enough about Dr. Anderson, the dietitian and the staff.
If you are a pre-op patient that wants to talk, I am always here to help anyway I can. I want to pay forward the gift of a life that I have been given back.
Want to know more? Email Gail >>