Ronald Kader, M.D., emergency department physician, before and after weight-loss surgery.
Why did you decide to have bariatric surgery?
Despite repeated efforts, I was unable to achieve a normal weight. I had tried several fad diets – Atkins, South Beach; diet pills and supplements, including prescription meds; gym membership with a trainer. Each time I was able to lose 40 to 50 pounds, but I always reached a plateau, and I was unable to progress. When reaching a plateau, it became impossible to continue with a weight-loss plan that was no longer yielding results and, thus, I would become discouraged, discontinue the weight-loss plan, and gradually regain all of the weight that I had lost. Bariatric surgery was my last option, and the most drastic choice I had made with regards to weight loss. I was hoping that it would make the difference in reaching my weight loss-goals (over 100 pounds), and, it did!
Did you have the sleeve or bypass, and why did you chose your option over other options?
Sleeve! Sleeve is less invasive, has less risk of complications, no post-surgical drains, no dumping syndrome, no vitamin malabsorption, and research demonstrates long-term results that are comparable to gastric bypass.
What was life like when you were morbidly obese?
I was uncomfortable with my appearance. I did not want my picture taken, even with my family on special occasions, and I was always embarrassed about what I saw in my pictures. I was irresponsible when it came to my diet and my physical activity. I preferred to sit and eat, rather than be active. I often dealt with stress through emotional eating. I had less energy to do things that I now enjoy on a daily basis. It was an effort to be active. I also found that I would easily get hot and sweaty with minimal exertion due to the extra insulation and deconditioning, which would further prevent me from wanting to be active. I would also have to make less desirable wardrobe choices in order to hide my obesity. I even found that I could not fit in a roller coaster seat at an amusement park –embarrassing! Obesity contributed to my sleep apnea, and I was forced to wear CPAP in order to feel rested and prevent my snores from detracting from my wife’s sleep.
What are some things you are able to do now that you were not able to do before surgery?
I enjoy being in pictures with my family. I enjoy getting dressed up and going out with my wife. I no longer feel embarrassed to be seen next to her. I am active! I exercise on a daily basis. I can see the results of lifting weights. I ran my first 5K. I am able to keep up with my children. I am more willing to be active in the outdoors. I no longer sweat uncomfortably. I can snuggle up with my wife and fall asleep without fear of waking her with my snoring. I have found healthier ways of dealing with stress. I have learned to enjoy eating in a responsible way.
What impact has losing weight and living with a new diet had on your household or immediate family?
Positive. I am far more active with my children; they get to go outside and play with Daddy on a regular basis now. My weight loss and desire to be fit has affected how my wife and I eat. We are far more responsible together in making healthy food choices. My active lifestyle has also encouraged my wife to be more active, and we now regularly exercise together.
How has your health improved?
Self-image has improved greatly. I no longer feel uncomfortable with my appearance. I am able to perform physical activities that I never dreamed possible. I feel more energetic.
What other medical conditions have been resolved or reduced as a result of the surgery and of losing weight?
My snoring and sleep apnea have improved. In fact, many nights, I fall asleep without my CPAP, and I still feel rested in the morning. I am scheduled for a repeat sleep study to see if my sleep apnea has been cured!
What would you tell someone considering weight-loss surgery?
It was the best choice I ever made with regards to reaching my weight-loss goals. It is exceedingly important that before considering the surgery, that a person be ready to make a permanent lifestyle change and be prepared to work hard. The surgery is only a tool to reach their goals, and it will not work without great effort on the part of the patient.
How was your experience with the FirstHealthBariatricCenter?
Fantastic. I was initially unaware that we had a bariatric program at FirstHealth, and I had started my journey at a weight-loss center in one of the larger cities to our north. My experience with that practice was poor. I had to make all of my preoperative appointments myself. All of these appointments were scheduled at various locations at various times. I later found out that FirstHealth does everything on a single day at the same location. I received little education and outdated materials at the other practice. In contrast, Dr. Grantham took his time and spoke with me in great detail, providing answers to all my questions. The educational material was excellent and up to date. There was no support staff at the outside practice. At FirstHealth, I had access to a nutritionist on a regular basis and was required to speak with her at each follow-up visit. Jan Norris, the secretary, truly rounds out the experience, making sure I had everything I needed in a timely fashion and keeping up with my various needs.
Would you recommend the FirstHealthBariatric Center?
Without reservation! I could not have had a better experience. I would not change a thing. Keep up the great work! Thank you for helping me brighten my stars!
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital and Pinehurst Surgical have established a comprehensive Bariatric Surgical Program in the mid-Carolinas. The program offers Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, Sleeve Gastrectomy and adjustable gastric band surgical approaches to significant weight loss and maintenance for those suffering from morbid obesity. The FirstHealth Bariatric Center is staffed by an interdisciplinary team who provide quality education and support, before and after surgery.
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