If you’ve thought about gastric sleeve surgery for more than a minute, you’ve probably imagined the ultimate benefit: dramatic (but healthy) weight loss. I mean, that’s the goal, right? But have you considered what that weight loss will actually mean for you? The best people to ask about how life changes, beyond wearing smaller clothing sizes, are patients who are enjoying the perks of gastric sleeve.
Being overweight or obese usually comes with a host of health problems. So when you lose a bunch of excess weight, it makes sense that your health improves. Patients who need insulin for diabetes or pills for high blood pressure and cholesterol pre-surgery often are able to reduce or eliminate those medications in a surprisingly short amount of time. My patient, Julie, says the best benefit of her surgery has been “not having to give myself insulin shots every day.” Gerry received “remission from a debilitating disease that was said to not have a cure, but the sleeve cured it.” Debbie comments, “I am no longer a diabetic…off my meds…my thyroid meds have been reduced, and my doctor is going to review my BP meds.” And then there’s the “health improvement” that lasts a lifetime. Says Francheska, “The number one benefit: Having a healthy pregnancy and bringing this beautiful, healthy baby into the world.”
When you’re obese, adventure seems like a distant dream. Friends who are planning active vacations? They’re crazy, you think. Even commercials advertising walks along the beach seem way out of reach. All that changes after being sleeved. “At 28, I feel like I’m living for the first time,” shares Elizabeth. “My social life is so much more active, I’m not afraid to try new things, and I can just do more in general.” Rhonda, who clearly feels incredible, says the best part of her sleeve is “being able to be active and ski and hike and kayak.” Elise is planning to do “all kinds of things I’ve never done before (skiing? riding horses? rock climbing?).”
Everything is Easier
Before the sleeve, some of my patients report that even bending over to tie their shoes leaves them gasping for breath. Doing their jobs, cleaning their homes, playing with their kids and grandkids…everything really does become easier when you’re not lugging around dozens—or even hundreds—of extra pounds. Regina says that she’s “no longer a spectator in my children’s lives…I’m an active participant.” And my female patients, especially, love that the beauty rituals so many of their friends take for granted are no longer off limits. Colleen reveals that she’s reveling in finally “being able to put nail polish on my toes.” Kim’s surgery even put more hours back into her days. “I was completely tired all the time (sleeping nine hours every night and often naps),” she says. “Now no naps, and I sleep eight hours.” Time back on the clock? Yes, please!
Improved Self Esteem
Don’t underestimate the psychological benefits of gastric sleeve. Yes, your physical health will skyrocket, but it’s mental health that dictates whether you’re happy vs. sad, confident vs. anxious, or optimistic vs. hopeless every day. Many of my patients find themselves consistently moving towards happy, confident, and optimistic as the pounds come off. Tessa, whose newfound confidence has allowed her to be more active and take on leadership roles, says she’s “no longer a slave to my insecurities.” Cathy can relate to that powerful statement. “I’m outgoing again,” she states. “I no longer hide out in my house because I’m too afraid someone will see how big I’ve gotten.” And Cheri says she feels “confident and beautiful for the first time in my life.”
Any one of those benefits would make gastric sleeve worthwhile, but the fact that my patients routinely experience all of them—and more!—gives you a sneak preview into the many ways your life can change for the better after surgery.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.