I want to offer special thanks to Laura and
Frank Casper for sharing their story of their double success.
Here is their story:
I enjoy reading your monthly newsletter. My husband and I
are both RNY post-ops and have had incredible success so far (knock
on wood). After our health continued to decline, we both decided to
pursue bariatric surgery a little over five years ago. We started
doing research and trying to learn about the surgery and weigh the
risks and benefits.
After being referred to a weight loss surgery
program in late 2004, we were both put on a waiting list until our
HMO could fit us into their very busy surgery schedule. There was
very little prep work or requirements. All we did was ask for the
surgery, get rejected once (as everyone told us would happen), ask
again and get approved. There was no testing, classes, support
groups or pre-op weight loss required. Before we reached the top of
the surgery list, our circumstances changed and we relocated, so we
had to start all over with our new HMO.
We were referred to a bariatric surgery program
again in late 2005. With this program, there were a considerable
number of pre-surgery requirements, including attending classes,
numerous medical tests, support group meetings, and a loss of 10% of
our highest weight. I was sure that my HMO was doing everything to
continue to put hurdles in my path. It seemed like every time I
completed one of their requirements, there were new ones to
conquer. I convinced myself that my HMO would rather see me die of
the complications that come with morbid obesity, and I spent a lot
of time feeling sorry for myself and crying at support group
It took me almost a year to ďget my head in the
right placeĒ and stop feeling like a victim. Once everything
clicked into place mentally, I started seeing success. Within about
four to five more months, I completed the rest of the required steps
and was approved for surgery.
Shortly before my surgery date arrived, there
were more medical complications, so my surgery was postponed four
different times. Not only was I dealing with diabetes, high blood
pressure, high cholesterol, cellulitis, migraines, back pain,
severe obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome,
anemia, severe depression, suicidal tendencies, edema, GERD, a heart
murmur, and complications from Lyme Disease, during the process, I
was diagnosed with Cushingís Syndrome and chronic kidney disease. I
was devastated every time my surgery was postponed and again felt
like it might never happen, but I was able to stay on program and
continue to lose weight.
By the time I made it to the operating room, I
had lost 80 lbs and totally retrained my brain. I knew this was not
the easy way out, because I had worked so hard
just to get to the operating room, although I still weighed 348
lbs. I knew what I had to do and basically what to expect as a
post-op, thanks to a fabulous support group and online group. My
weight loss surgery friends kept me motivated and educated. Without
them, I donít think I would have had the surgery, because I would
have given up. They gave me hope and tremendous support!
On September 5, 2007, the day of my surgery, I was suffering from the
worst migraine I ever had and couldnít stop holding my head, closing
my eyes, moaning, crying and vomiting. I think all the stress of
the two year long process getting to surgery was bringing on a
horrible migraine. I was so sure that my surgeon would boot me out
the door again, but he said he knew the migraine was just the result
of stress. Some drug knocked me out in the prep area. I donít
remember my surgeon visiting, being taken to the operating room,
kissing my husband and daughter goodbye, and I never saw the
operating room. When I woke up, I was being moved from the recovery
room to a room in the progressive care unit, where the nurses are
very experienced and knowledgeable about bariatric surgery.
My surgery was textbook thanks to an awesome
bariatric surgery team. Our program includes a severe obesity case
program manager, a dietician, a social worker, a physical therapist,
a pharmacist, bariatric surgeons, and others, who work well as a
team to give weight loss surgery patients the best chance of post-op
I have lost a total of 248 lbs. (including 80
lbs pre-op) and will be two years post-op in September. I am thrilled to be able to say I am at goal weight. I am one of the few
who has lost every pound I hoped to lose.
My husband was with me every step of the way.
He went to all my appointments, classes, support group meetings and
worked out with me. We decided that I would ďgo firstĒ and once I
felt like things were under control, my husband began seriously
working towards getting approved for his surgery. On July 9, 2008, he
had RNY surgery with the same surgeon who operated on me. He is
almost one year post-op and has lost 203 lbs. (including 58 lbs
pre-op) and is still losing fairly quickly.
The changes in our lives are amazing. Neither
of us is considered diabetic any more. Neither of us requires a
C-PAP to control sleep apnea. Neither of us has blood pressure or
cholesterol problems any more. My endocrinologist says I no longer
test positive for Cushing ís syndrome. I havenít had a migraine
since the day of surgery. I no longer have suicidal thoughts. I
will always have kidney disease to deal with, and was told that best
case scenario was to stop the further loss of kidney function, avoid
dialysis (which would have started if my kidney function reached
10%) and stay off the transplant list. My nephrologist was amazed
when my kidney function went from a low of 21% all the way up to 54%
the last time he checked. He said he has no idea how I did that!
Both my husband and I feel so lucky to have
been so successful. We are trying hard to keep up with all the
post-op requirements. It has been so helpful having each other to
work toward the same goal.
Next month, we are going on a Western Caribbean
Family Reunion Cruise. We havenít seen this side of my family in
two years and it will be so much fun showing them the new and
improved Frank & Laura, and seeing if they can keep up with us this
time! We are going to do things we never thought weíd ever be able
to do, like going horseback riding on the beach and riding on a zip
line. I played laser tag on my sonís birthday and outscored some of
the high school students!
Though I still see myself as a morbidly obese
person, people call me skinny now. Itís very weird to be able to
enjoy looking at myself in the mirror and not trying to avoid
mirrors and cameras. I can buy clothes in any store. I can fit in
airplane seats, restaurant booths, movie seats, chairs with arms,
restroom stalls, etc! I have blossomed mentally and socially,
though I still need prescription anti-depressants to control my
depression. We attend two different monthly support group meetings, plus I am the moderator of our local online
support group with almost 200 members in various stages of the
weight loss surgery process.
We each used to weigh 428 lbs at our top
weights. We have lost a total of 451 lbs (so far) so we tell people
we are literally half the couple we used to be!
Life is awesome and we are both so happy that
we chose this option! My only regret is that I didnít do this years
Thanks for listening!
Congratulations Frank and Laura