Lisa's Diary reveals the emotions and day-to-day experiences of a real patient in Fort HealthCare's Bariatric Program.


July 28, 2010

Wow, this summer is flying by! Wish I could say my fat was flying off… but it’s not. :(

I had more saline injected into the band last night, and my official weight loss is at 47 pounds. Not too bad, considering the amount of time (about four months) since my surgery.

However, if you’ve ever dieted and lost weight quickly, only to come to a standstill, you know how frustrating it is. I’m keeping my head up, though.

I haven’t gained weight, so I’m doing OK.

I went to a family reunion last Sunday, and had a GREAT time! There were about 100 people there, and TONS of food! I have to admit — I ate some pretty decadent stuff. Had this event been a year ago, I’d probably still be there eating. I was careful and ate slowly. One plate of food with about a tablespoon each of three or four dishes, and a cut up brat (no bun, of course). After that, I was totally stuffed. My brain wanted to eat, but there was no place for the food to go.

The whole “no liquids before and after meals” thing didn’t work so well, because I always had a beverage of some kind in my hand — it WAS a party, after all! I did ‘fess up to Dr. Erickson and Patrice, and they didn’t seem to be too concerned about it — this time, anyway. It’s not like I do that every weekend!

The people who knew about my surgery kept asking me if I had the band let down for the party — of course that’s a big, fat NOPE. It wouldn’t have made any sense; this isn’t a tool of convenience. If you have that kind of expectation after all the education you go through, then this probably wouldn’t be the weight-loss solution for you. It’s a commitment that needs to be taken seriously.

Speaking of commitments, I have to be truthful with you regarding WHY I’m not losing a lot of weight. I am lacking in my ambition to get off my butt and exercise. I’ve kind of taken a little (OK, big) break from all of that. Just last week, I got back on the treadmill, not as much as I should — but baby steps, right? (Say, “yes!”)

My newest goal is to lose 20 pounds by October 1. An unlikely goal? Perhaps, but it’s worth a shot.

I previously mentioned that I got more saline, and it seems to be making a difference already. Usually it takes a couple days for me to feel the effects, but I really have to concentrate on chewing well — otherwise things don’t want to go down, or it’s a little painful. Not bad, but just a reminder of why I had this done. It’s exciting when you can feel that it’s working, but it can sometimes take a while to reach the correct fill. I’m hoping this is the last one for a long time.

That’s about all I’ve got for tonight.

Oh, wait! In other news, my 16-week-old puppy went from 19 pounds to 34 pounds in ONE month. I finally found someone who can gain weight faster than I can! ;)

I’ll check in again after five pounds. Hopefully, that will be soon.

— Lisa

June 1, 2010

Hi folks!

Hope everyone had a safe, happy holiday weekend! I am so ready to go back to work. I had the Friday before Memorial Day off, making it a four-day weekend. Too much time off isn’t good for me; I tend to get in trouble (ha!).

It was a little too hot for me and my band; for some reason, I can’t get things done when it’s too hot and/or humid. I ended up eating a lot of ice cream, since that’s all that would go down!

I’m including some pictures with this entry (please don’t hassle my photography skills — I’m not trying to win any awards). This first picture was before surgery:

This one was from this weekend:

(I was forced to be in a picture and I have NEVER liked getting my picture taken!)

I can see a difference, can you?

Down 42 pounds and another 60 to go — I’ll keep you posted!

Later Tater,

— Lisa

February 28, 2010

Hi everyone,

My name is Lisa Starin and I am — never thought I would have to say this — morbidly obese.

Lisa Before Bariatric Surgery at Fort HealthCare

For this reason I have decided to undergo bariatric surgery. I’m writing this in the hope that others in our community who also suffer with obesity may gain knowledge and courage to help themselves make a difference in their lives. I will try to give you a step-by-step information guide about what I have gone through and what I will be going through.

Now, how did I get started with all of this? I’ll start by telling you a little bit about myself. I’m 47 years old and have worked in surgery for about 25 years. I love my work and can’t imagine doing anything else, but all this extra weight is starting to make everything more difficult. I am currently between 260 and 270 pounds — although I’ve never been “thin,” I’ve never beenthisheavy. I was average weight at birth and average or a little above during childhood.

My adult life, however, has been a gradual but steady increase as I get older. I’ve tried lots of diets — Weight Watchers, Fen-Phen (great stuff but bad for you, isn’t that always the case?), exercise — you name it. I can lose weight, but the minute I stop a regimented program, it comes back — plus more.

For this reason, I have decided to take a more drastic measure. My decision to get bariatric surgery did not come easy for me. When Dr. Erickson first started doing these, I was very skeptical.Didn’t these people know that diet and exercise would do the trick?

Working in surgery, I have seen some great success stories, and some not-so-great. I realize that once the band is put in, the pounds don’t magically fall off. It takes a whole lifestyle change — with diet and exercise included, if not foremost.

I did a lot of soul searching to come to my decision, and I didn’t tell anyone until I was 80% sure that I could make the commitment. I am very ready now.

I wish it were already here!

Once my mind was made up, I talked to Dr. Erickson first — he was very enthusiastic about it. I was kind of hoping he’d say, “What?! You don’t need it!”

No such luck. 

He then sent me to Patrice Stair, the Bariatric Coordinator, who also used to work in surgery. She was also very enthusiastic. Again, I was hoping for the, “What?! You don’t need it!” but once again, a big fat no!

Okay, back on track — Patrice set me up with an informative session, which was exactly as advertised, very informative. Then the legwork started!

They needed a history of my weight from the last five years, so I went to my doctors’ offices and signed a release for them to give to Patrice. She also said they could use the recorded weights from Weight Watchers — so if you are in that program now, or have been in the past, hold on to your books!

The next step was to make an appointment with a psychologist to see if I was making this decision for the right reasons, or if I had high expectations without the willingness to work for it. She pronounced me sane — ha, fooled another one — and then I was pretty much ready to go.

I forgot to say that, somewhere in there, I had an appointment at the Bariatric Clinic where more information was given and discussed. Dr. Erickson weighs you, and he’s courteous enough to not gasp audibly when you step on the scale. At that time, you’re given a sheet with dietary restrictions and helpful things to buy for the liquid diet (gasp!) that is required for 14 days prior to the surgery. 

I am writing this on Saturday, and my liquid diet starts on Tuesday. Not really looking forward to it — I’m pretty sure I’m going to starve to death, even though Patrice assures me I won’t. So, my surgery is scheduled for March 16, and I see Dr. Erickson on March 2 for one last time. After this appointment, I will not be allowed to gain any more than five pounds until the surgery date, or it will be cancelled for non-compliance. I guess they weigh you when you check in in the morning. 

I am going to stop now and check back in after my appointment on Tuesday.

— Lisa