I want to offer a very special thank you to Barbara
Bailey for sharing her story with us.
In October of 1977, I weighed 165 lbs. Over the
next 30 years I gained between 5 and 10 lbs a year and was unsuccessful
at taking the weight off. I would try to diet and exercise, only to lose
weight and regain it.
In the Summer of 2006, several things happened to
me that have changed my life.
- My daughter shared with me a procedure called “lap band surgery.”
- I was taken out of my job as a Fast Track Nurse
and was given a position as an Emergency Room Nurse.
- After two months as Emergency Room Nurse, I was
given the opportunity to transfer to the Cardiopulmonary Dept. as a Cardio
Pulmonary Rehab Coordinator.
- In October I weighed 260 lbs for my work
I hated being in the Emergency Room, I was
depressed and very upset. I felt like my professional life was doomed.
When given the opportunity to be the Cardiac
Rehabilitation Nurse, I knew I could not be successful giving my
patients advice on how to be healthier, if I was not healthy myself. So I
started investigating this thing called Lap Band Surgery.
I looked at the web site for Memorial Health
Bariatrics in Savannah, GA. I spoke to the employee health nurse at my
job that had gastric bypass surgery. And I went on line to
On Nov. 1, 2006, I drove myself to Memorial Health
Bariatrics (MHB) information session in Savannah. I can remember my
first thought when I walked in and saw the other people also coming to
hear what those from the practice had to say. My thought was ‘this is
not for me, I am not that big, but I drove all this way, so I’ll stay
and hear what they have to say.’
I remember Dr. Angstadt saying, “diets do not work
on morbidly obese patients.”
Wow I do believe that, I had watched my ex-husband
try and try to lose weight unsuccessfully. And it had not worked for me
either. I sat in my seat and listened to Dr. Angstadt and Glenda, the
nurse practitioner talk about eating food in a certain order, not
drinking fluids while one eats and waiting one hour before drinking
fluids again, eating small bites, chewing food thoroughly, and setting
fork down between bites.
I heard a woman talk about forgetting to eat lunch
and having a “shake” in the afternoon. I wondered what a shake was, did
she mean like a McDonald’s shake?
When the information session was finished for the
evening I stayed and filled out the package I had received for starting
the process of becoming a bariatric candidate. I turned it in to
Stephanie. Later, I was told my insurance would not cover my surgery.
It was not an option my employer had contracted in our insurance
package. MHB had a self pay option which I decided to take.
If I was going to pay $15,000 for this surgery, I
needed to know that I could follow the plan for weight loss surgery. I
purchased Slim Fast protein shakes, chilled them and started to drink.
The shakes were not bad. I could drink it. I began to eat what I call
the “bariatric way,” protein first, vegetables second, fruit third and
only if I was still hungry would I eat carbohydrates. I also started
practicing no drinking with meals, waiting one hour after I was
finished eating, taking small bites, and placing my fork down between
I began to feel satisfied. I stopped craving sweets
and salty food. And I started losing pounds. I was aware of how the
different foods tasted, and began to savory the flavors and enjoy what I
In October, 2006, when I took my new job, I also
started to walk on the treadmill, which was in my department. I would
walk very slowly, for 10 minutes then I gradually increased my time to
20 minutes, then 30 minutes. Now I can walk 45 – 60 minutes without any
problems. My speed when I first started was 1.0 mph. My knees and legs
hurt with almost every step. Now I have no pain and my speed is 3.3mph.
I can even do a short time at 4.0 mph jogging.
I had all of my clearances completed; had attended
all of my classes and was scheduled for surgery on Friday, March 2, 2007.
When I woke up in my room at Memorial Health, I felt good, with no pain,
and no grogginess. I waited my 3 hours and got up and walked the hall
one time. That wasn’t bad. The next hour I got up and walked 2 laps in
the hallway, and I continued each hour I was awake to increase the
distance I walked by one lap. While walking in the hall, I saw another
woman who was doing the same. I spoke to her and discovered that she too
had lap band surgery. Her name was Linda and she lived in Richmond Hill.
She asked me to stop by her room when I walked again, which I did. We
saw each other at support group meetings and started riding together and
talking. Now I have a very good friend who understands the process, and
we support each other.
My weight has steadily come off over the months.
Two days before my 6th month anniversary after having weight
loss surgery, I reached my 100 lbs weight loss. I went from 260 lbs. in
October 2006 to 160 lbs. August 31, 2007.
There were times I would go shopping before my
surgery and I was not able to get into a pair of jeans size 26
because they were too small. When I worked in Maryland as a nurse, I
could not wear 3x scrubs because they were too small. I had to wear 5x’s. Boy was I wrong about not being big and morbidly obese in Nov.
when I went to my first meeting! Today I can wear medium scrubs, size 10
dresses, and some size 10 shorts and size 12 pants. I have so much
energy, and I feel great.
Weight loss surgery has been the best thing I have
ever done for myself. Being a bariatric patient has just clicked for me,
and has been the easiest tool and program I have ever used to lose
I am forever grateful to Dr. Angstadt and Dr.
Whipple for perfecting the surgery process, for Memorial Health for
allowing the bariatric program to be available, to Glenda the nurse
practitioner, Jodi, the physician assistant, Leigh Ann the office nurse
and Stephanie, financial personnel, and all the office staff at Memorial
Health Bariatrics, and to all the hospital staff in the many
departments that help with the success of the bariatric patient.
My life is
now very happy, exciting, and I love my new attitude and relationship
|I love good news. If you have good news, a
success story to share, or inspiration, please send it to me at
Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can include it in future