Carla Gold lost 110 pounds
My overall health wasn't too bad, but I was tired all the time. I always felt like people were noticing that I was the heaviest person in the room. Self-consciousness about my weight kept me from getting out and trying new things.
Around the same time, my daughter was about to start school. I remembered defending my own mom when kids called her names. I didn't want my daughter to be put in that situation.
Now I can do just about anything.
I'd thought about weight loss surgery on and off for a couple of years. Then I ran into someone who'd had surgery at John Muir Health. I talked to the program coordinator, who gave me all the information I needed to make the best decision for me.
I've received so much support. Even now, I can just shoot the program coordinator an email if I have a question. A lot of food doesn't agree with me, and eating the right things can be a real challenge, but the monthly support group helps me stay focused on what I should be doing.
Having the surgery at John Muir Health was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Now I can do just about anything. I no longer feel like everybody's staring at me. I'm not afraid to try new things, and I have no regrets.
Barbara Butt lost 125 pounds
I tried to lose weight for years but chronic back pain and diabetes medication made it very hard to exercise. I had to take painkillers to walk more than a block. I'd already had one back surgery, and my doctor said the next step was going to be major, major surgery.
I was so scared and nervous, but the doctor and his team were wonderful. A year and a half later, the changes in my life have been phenomenal. My diabetes is just gone, and I have far less back pain. My husband and I go on long walks, and I even play racquetball! I'm lousy at it, but I have a great time.
It's the best thing I've ever done.
One thing I didn't expect was all the emotional support I've received. At the monthly support group, it's very reassuring to meet people who've been through the same experiences I have. It's wonderful to be able to talk to someone who had the surgery five or six years ago.
The surgery isn't a cure-all. I still have to work at my weight. But the surgery has given me the chance to work at it. It's the best thing I've ever done.
Cheryl Keisic lost 112 pounds
I weighed 253 pounds and I was about to have knee surgery. One day my doctor was brutally honest with me. He said my knees wouldn't hurt so much if I wasn't so heavy. At home, my twin teenage boys were embarrassed to bring friends over because of my weight.
I started researching my options. I went to an introductory seminar at John Muir Health and then to the monthly support group to learn as much as I could from people who'd been through the process themselves. That was six months before my surgery, and I still haven't missed a single meeting. People don't just share practical tips, but also talk about the emotional aspects. It is an emotional journey as much as it is a physical transformation.
My whole life has changed for the better.
The surgery process was pretty intense, but straightforward. A friend of mine had the same surgery at another hospital, and the process was much more drawn out and complicated. I appreciated the friendliness and helpfulness of the John Muir Health staff.
Since the surgery, my whole life has changed. I exercise four or five days a week, and I have no problems with my knees. I go biking now, dancing with friends, and I've even started dating again. My twins say it's like having a whole new mom.
Lin Tomy Lost 140 Pounds
Before the surgery, every year I was diagnosed with another medical condition. I was on 23 different medicines for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and ankle and knee pain. At age 40, I was in a wheelchair and was told I'd never walk again. This was my last-ditch effort, so I did everything the surgery team recommended. I was bound and determined the surgery was going to work.
There’s so much I can do now — it’s phenomenal.
Things I couldn’t do before I now do with ease. I walk three miles daily and ride a motorcycle! I'm thinking about traveling to China this year, and I could never have done that before the surgery. My self-esteem has improved and my family says that I'm so much happier now.
The group at John Muir is wonderful and very supportive. Four years later, I still get a monthly check-in email from the program coordinator. If I had to do it over again, I would in a heartbeat. My only regret is that I waited so long.
John Cisneros Lost 78 Pounds
All my life I struggled with my weight. As a kid, I got teased about my weight. Everyday activities were difficult and my health suffered. With a family history of high blood pressure and diabetes and young kids who still need me around, I decided to have the surgery.
Now, my energy level is through the roof. I go to the gym, I'm more active, and I can jog four miles a day without losing my breath in the first 100 yards. I have higher self-esteem and I’m not embarrassed by my weight anymore.
My whole lifestyle has changed.
I’d do it all over again. My whole lifestyle has changed, including my clothes size. I went from an XXL to a medium-sized shirt. I can go to the store and buy clothes off the rack. I don't have to try them on to make sure they're not too tight.
The John Muir team was impressive, especially the doctor and the program coordinator. The support group meetings were very helpful and put me at ease about the surgery.