Hello, my name is Jo Anne, I am 60 years old and live in Cedar City, UT with my husband, two horses and two dogs. I moved to Utah from California in 2000. I came from a rural area, although raised in the suburbs, and was used to a lot of physical activity at work. When I got to Utah, specifically Cedar City, I stopped moving around so much and started eating home cooking, including green Jell-O, donuts and diet coke. I was wearing down a hole in the couch and getting more and more depressed about my weight and lack of exercise. It was a strange spiral…something I had never experienced, and I was ALWAYS hungry. Really, really hungry, not just kinda hungry. I was addicted to red licorice, junk food and diet coke.
In the end, my weight gain took me to around 255 pounds, and a BMI of 40 (calculate your BMI here). I was heavy—super heavy for me. I think the thing that bothered me the most was waddling with my svelte husband into Home Depot, having a lot of people recognize him, and my being seen as his fat wife. My self-esteem went to hell in a handbag. No one mentioned it, but I always sang to myself as I wen it, “Jack Sprat could eat no fat. His wife could eat no lean.” A nursery rhyme that looked like what I was living.
I had developed, along with the lowering self-esteem, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, a fast heart rate, couldn’t breathe, sore legs and feet, and was ALWAYS HUNGRY. I knew I was at risk for stroke or early death. So I went home, ate more Jell-O, donuts and drank diet coke. Then I saw some help on TV, so I joined up with Jenny Craig which increased my heart rate; Nutri-System, which tasted like erasers; E-Diets, where you pick your menu and they send you what they want already prepared and pre-frozen; Weight Watchers, like group therapy; Richard Simmons; one my personal favs; Overeaters Anonymous; and my husband’s all-time favorite, the Smart Cookie Diet. I was a failure and it was expensive. I was still ALWAYS HUNGRY.
I was having lunch with friends and while drinking my diet coke and picking through the buffet, one of the men there told me he was having sleeve gastrectomy surgery. He told me about how the doctor was going to take out 75% of his stomach and how he planned to lose weight. He had done a lot of research. I was kind of excited about the potential to become myself again. He told me my insurance would cover much of the costs. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I had to check this out.
My insurance required I have surgery at a Bariatric Center of Excellence accredited doctor and facility. These centers have different requirements for insurance coverage and higher standards of care. I found Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) online and watched the Risks and Benefits seminar via my computer. I sent in my application and then went the next step for approval. I went to the next educational seminar and met my surgeon, Dr. Rodrick McKinlay. There was absolutely no sales pitch by anyone, including the doctor. The entire RMAP staff respected my ability to make the choice for surgery, which type of surgery, and who would do it. It was a great experience. I was approved and began the insurance approval waiting period.
Before and after surgery, I joined the RMAP Education Program where patients pre and post op are able to ask questions and have in our possession a binder in simple language for guidance through the entire process. I can attend support group meetings which have an LCSW leader. There is a licensed bariatric dietitian, Facebook private group and there is friendly phone support as well. I cannot say enough good things about the RMAP Education Program. Simply the best!
Well, I had sleeve gastrectomy surgery done by Dr. Rodrick McKinlay on April 15, 2013. I have lost a little over 100 pounds in 10 months and reached my goal weight. It was amazing! I cannot believe this could happen to me and for me. My horse, Jack, likes it too. He is carrying a lot less weight now. I am able to easily tie my shoes, cut my toenails and no longer waddle into Home Depot with my adorable husband.
Just one more thing…RMAP offices are nice. Really nice with big comfy chairs and carpet. They are not linoleum and benches. It is a first class office with first class staff. Staff members are kind and helpful with even the strangest questions. They are experienced, professional and clearly believe in the procedures they perform. And the doctors? The BEST! I can’t express my thanks enough. I even got a new haircut, clothes and am a rockin’ 60 year old now. I do get hungry, but not crazy on the couch hungry. I am shoveling sand and manure with greater ease, have resolved most of my physical problems, and can spoon closer with my husband. How much better can it be? My theme song is by The Heavy, “How you like me now?”
–Jo Anne O
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