Monika’s Story: Improving health and healing people through Bariatric Surgery | Northern Arizona

– When you’re overweight
there’s a common perception of maybe this person’s lazy,
maybe they just don’t care. When you walk into a
restaurant it’s very unnerving because you feel like
people are looking at you. You feel like people
are judging you. Should she be eating
that, there’s just so many little silent
struggles that people who struggle with their weight
deal with on a daily basis. And it’s a huge struggle,
not just physically but emotionally, it’s a
constant chatter in your brain. – Most our patients that come
to us for surgical weight loss have been through a
number of other options, trying to succeed
with weight loss. I think the biggest
challenge that patients face when they come to us
is basically believing that they’re going to
succeed after having so many other failures
prior to the surgery. – You start out as that person
in the information session that isn’t sure if they
should even be there or if they’re cheating somehow. And they realize that
this is not just about me looking better in a dress
or being able impress somebody, it’s really about
my health overall. To me it’s the opposite of
taking the easy way out. You’re doing an extra
level of commitment in order to do this. – From the time that
I entered the program till my lowest I lost
between 130 to 140 pounds. And that is a person. When I say I’ve lost a person I’ve also really
gained a person. And that is myself,
so I feel amazing. Is every day perfect,
absolutely not. But I have learned so much and I hope that I, in some
ways, can inspire people to not be so fearful
to have this surgery because it is the best gift
that you can give yourself. The program here at Flagstaff
Medical Center is phenomenal. There are so many different
components to weight loss. And from the moment that
you meet everyone involved in this program you feel
a sense of commitment. – I work with the patients
from their first phone call to the program all the way
to many years after surgery, helping them to guide
through the process. Part of our philosophy
in preparing the patients for bariatric surgery
is getting them ready for surgery as a whole person. That means they will have
dietary, psychological, health coach appointments
before and after surgery because we want to make sure
that they meet their goals and that they are successful and that it’s just
not a surgery, it’s
a lifestyle change. – We really, really
believe here, this is not a surgical procedure,
this is a program. And that program is designed
from six months before surgery to many years after surgery
to take care of the patient. So over the years we’ve seen
an incredible improvement in technology and so
our cameras are better, our equipment is better,
we have advanced care in the hospital and we’re able to do these procedures
much more safely. – I remember when I
woke up from the surgery and I had that
first amazing meal that we have of a sugar-free
popsicle and jello. And I remember feeling
full for the first time. Genuinely full, like
Thanksgiving Day full, off of these two things
and I had tears in my eyes and I thought, this is it
this is gonna be the success. It is going to work this time. And that feeling right
there is not anything that you can put into words. One of the sentiments
that I like to get across with this surgery
is, finally full. Finally full of
understanding that it is okay for us to have help
in this journey. It doesn’t mean that we’re weak. It doesn’t mean
that we’ve given up. It just means that we
need a little help. Finally full of
having the pleasure and the comfort of
winning over food. Because now you’re eating
food for different reasons. You’re eating it
to feed your body, to give yourself nutrition,
you’re not covering up emotions. You have control over food and
that is a beautiful feeling. And finally fully of
understanding that
this is your journey and possibly you may be
able to help other people on this journey as well. So to say that it’s the
easy way out, it’s not. It’s a genuine gift that
you can give yourself saying it’s okay
for you to do this. It’s okay for you to be thin and it’s okay for
you to be healthy.

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