Amy's Story

Amy

Date of surgery: Summer 2018
Age at time of surgery: 49
Weight at surgery: 339
Lowest/current weight: 160/182
Health improvements: Vastly improved mobility and energy. Comfortable sleep.

AmyAfter AmyBefore

Before Amy decided to have weight loss surgery, she’d already lost on her own – and then gained back – 100 pounds, three times. “I’d given up,” she says. “I decided I would just be fat.”

So it wasn’t, technically, her weight that led her to surgery. What she hadn’t given up on was being able to move and be active. Amy suffered a hip injury that led to chronic pain, with a rapid loss of mobility and depression. “It was scary for me, to be on that precipice,” Amy says. “I realized I’d have to make changes or spend the rest of my life sitting. My health would deteriorate. My world would get smaller. I was at rock bottom, and I really needed help.”

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Amy consulted with an orthopedic surgeon and learned she needed a hip replacement. Unfortunately, she wasn’t a candidate because of her weight. The doctor urged her to consider weight loss surgery. “He told me he couldn’t help me get my mobility back until I got the weight off. He pushed me a little.”

“I had the misconception at that point that weight loss surgery was ‘cheating,’” Amy says. “But when I started to research it and initiated the process with Swedish, I began to see it differently. I was deteriorating quickly. I did not want that for myself.”

The boost

For weight loss surgery to be covered, Amy’s health plan required waiting nine months and losing weight on her own. During that period she watched her diet, and she did lose weight. On weight loss surgery day she weighed 303 pounds, which was still above the maximum for hip replacement. But she was hopeful that a gastric sleeve procedure would give her the boost she needed.

It did.

“After surgery, I did what I was supposed to do and the weight came off,” she says. Within six months she had lost enough to have her hip replaced. “Once I got through that surgery, and recovery, I had a new outlook on life. My hip improved. My health improved. It was an excellent package deal.”

The wisdom of perspective

Amy admits to feeling fear that she might “fall of the wagon” and regain the weight after she got her new hip, but she didn’t. The benefits of her new lifestyle were too great, and she had adapted to a new way of eating.

“It was a learning experience, the first year or two,” she says. “You learn, ‘this is what my body is going to do.’ You can eat more over time, and you have to pay attention, because your body will regain the weight. But what keeps me in check is that I love my life. It’s about the new clothes in my closet that I want to fit into. But mostly, it’s about the way I feel.”

When Amy reflects on the last three years of her life, she says it’s sometimes hard to remember what things were like before. “Being overweight is like a prison. That life is your normal, but you don’t see what it could be.” Today, Amy spends a lot of time gardening, and out and about on the trails around North Bend. “I’m always heading to the woods. I used to drive up to the scenic viewpoint; now I look for the trail with the most incline to challenge myself. The whole world is open to me. It may seem strange to say, but I’m really glad my hip went out.”