“I’ve been overweight my whole life,” said Tim Swanson. “I finally just decided that I couldn’t go on this way because every time I would ‘yo-yo,’ my weight would just get higher the next time.” Since Tim made the decision to change his life with the help of Bariatric Care, he has lost nearly 200 pounds.
“I finally came to grips with the fact that this had to be a life change,” Tim said. “It couldn’t be a diet or temporary, it had to be a complete life change, and I was going to have to change my behavior.” Tim had a complete gastric bypass surgery and then began working hard at lifestyle changes.
“I used to be big into running,” Tim said after mentioning how he used last year’s Christmas bonus to buy a nice treadmill. “The weight loss has allowed me to get back into running, and now I have a goal of running a marathon.”
While the weight loss has been a great achievement for Tim, reducing medications has been a great accomplishment as well. “I was at 14 medications, and now I’m down to about four,” Tim said.
Many times, people don’t realize the cost associated with being overweight. It can cost a lot for medications, but it also costs time. Tim focused on what his time was worth when he reminded himself of how important it was to get back into shape. “What’s the price of diabetes? What’s the price of all the medications, things you have to buy and the time it takes? I don’t think people factor in the cost of their time sometimes,” Tim said.
This cost has also helped Tim see even more clearly the difference between how he feels now as opposed to before his surgery and weight loss. “There’s a cost associated with the things you can’t do anymore,” Tim said. “If I were to get down on the floor, I couldn’t have gotten up. Now, I can get down on the floor, grab a tool I need, pop back up and get back to work, and it just feels great.”
Tim is also pleased with the improvements in how he’s been able to perform everyday tasks. “There’s a lot of stairs where I work,” Tim said. “I’ve found that now I can do my job a lot better, and the daily routine is so much easier now.”
The caregivers at Mosaic Life Care at St. Joseph - Bariatric Care were one of the things that Tim was extremely impressed and happy with. “The whole staff is impressive, it really is,” Tim said. “For people like me, the surgery was so positive and Dr. Hornbostel was so good, that I never really had any concerns. I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute recommending to anyone to go through it.”
As a veteran of the armed forces, Tim has seen the inside of his share of hospitals and medical facilities. However, Mosaic Life Care is the one he would recommend to others. “I’ve been to a lot of different hospitals from being in the service and this is one of the best, if not the best, that I’ve ever been around,” Tim said. “You can’t get better staff or doctors than the ones who are at Mosaic Life Care.”
“I have struggled with my weight as long as I can remember,” says Aaron Lytton of Savannah, Mo. “I know how to lose weight, I’ve done it many times. The hardest part for me is keeping it off. The last time I lost more than 90 pounds and gained it back plus some.” Like Aaron, many people struggle at maintaining weight loss for a long period of time.
“The tipping point for me was when I went to Worlds of Fun with my children last summer. I got on the ride and the attendants could not get the belt fastened around me so I had to get off of the ride. That was probably the biggest slap in the face.” Aaron knew if he was going to get healthy, he needed to stop the yo-yo dieting. He called Bariatric Care to schedule an orientation to learn more about weight–loss surgery and which one was right for him.
“I’ve always thought of myself very similar to a drug addict, only I think being addicted to food is harder because humans cannot live without food. After Dr. Hornbostel [Bariatric Surgeon] called food addiction a disease, I felt peace with my decision. Listening to Dr. Hornbostel made me realize that weight-loss surgery will help me long term and that made me feel better. I also knew that for me, I had a greater chance of success by choosing the gastric bypass. It was all coming together.”
When deciding where to have the surgery, Aaron did not look any further than Mosaic Life Care at St. Joseph - Bariatric Care. “Not only is it convenient, but the fact that people drive hundreds of miles to have their surgery here is a great testament to the program. If I ever have a need, someone is always available to help me — no matter what time or day. That shows me that they truly care about me and my health.”
Since receiving the gastric bypass in July of 2011, Aaron has lost 105 pounds. The number on the scale is exciting for Aaron, but health improvement is his true victory. “Heart disease, obesity and diabetes are huge family issues in my family. I took my blood pressure medicine for the last time the morning of my surgery. I no longer take cholesterol medicine and I’m no longer pre-diabetic. If I would have known how well I was going to feel, I would have received the surgery sooner.”
“I’ve been overweight the majority of my life,” says Kim Griffin of Chillicothe, Mo. “After I had my children, life got crazy and I put myself on the back burner. It was when I started having grandchildren that I realized I was going to have trouble keeping up with them. I’m also a preschool teacher and I was having trouble getting on and off the floor to interact with my students. My entire life was affected by being overweight.”
When Kim started looking at surgical weight–loss options, she became discouraged. “To be honest, at first I was devastated. I learned that my insurance required a six-month, medically managed program where I needed to log my diet and exercise and meet with a dietitian and physician monthly, before I would even qualify for surgery. I just thought to myself, ‘I’ll never be able to do this — that’s a long time!’” That’s when she found that Mosaic Life Care at St. Joseph - Bariatric Care not only had surgical options, but would also help her through her six–month required program.
“I owe my success to Bariatric Care. They have the resources to help you through this entire journey, taking care of your mind, body and soul. I have access to a physical therapist, dietitian, psychologist, surgeon and bariatric nurse practitioner. I have friends who have had surgery other places and they did not look at the entire person — this program is complete and supportive. I tell everyone about it.”
Kim had gastric band surgery December 2008. Since her surgery she has lost more than 165 pounds, is no longer on blood pressure medication, is running five miles a day and has competed in 5K races. “If you would have asked me in high school if I could run five miles, I would have said you were crazy. Mosaic Life Care at St. Joseph - Bariatric Care is more than a place to receive weight-loss surgery — it’s about a lifestyle change. I’m the healthiest I have ever been and I know with their help, I’ll stay that way.”
“The best part about my weight loss is feeling normal, like I actually fit in the world now,” says Julie Jones-McGohan. In January 2011, Julie made a life-changing decision to receive the Gastric Sleeve operation for weight loss. “There are two important moments in life that helped me make this decision. First, I was meeting with Dr. Bronson (Rheumatology Care) and he scooted his chair over to me so that we were knee-to-knee and eye-to-eye and asked me if I ever considered weight-loss surgery.”
This conversation started a very important revolution in Julie’s life. “Dr. Bronson cared enough about me to suggest that. He knew that my knees, hips and ankles would not be able to handle the weight I was carrying for much longer. Then he went a step further and actually made an appointment for me to attend an information session at Heartland Bariatric Center. He is my hero and I will forever be grateful to him for caring that much about me,” says Julie.
There was a second instrumental moment for Julie’s life-altering decision. “My husband and I took our children and grandchildren to Disney World. I tried everything I could to keep up by my knees and feet were hurting. I noticed a lot of people using the motorized vehicles to get around the parks. Most importantly I noticed that a majority of the people using these vehicles were not elderly or had broken bones, but where overweight. I knew that I would be there soon if I didn’t make a change.”
Julie attended Mosaic Life Care at St. Joseph - Bariatric Care information session and decided that she was ready for weight-loss surgery. Julie researched the surgical options available at Mosaic Life Care and decided the best option for her was the Gastric Sleeve. “I have Crohn’s Disease and after a lot of research and discussion with Dr. Nguyen [Bariatric Surgeon], I knew this was the best option for me.”
Not only did Julie decide which surgery was right for her, but she was also confident in where she was going to have her surgery. “Everyone at Mosaic Life Care was amazing. Dr. Nguyen took the best care of me and made sure that I was fully prepared for not only the surgery, but how my life would change after the surgery. I had the support of a nutritionist, physical therapist, and psychologist. Everyone prepared me to the fullest extent.”
Julie has lost a total of 120 pounds. But to her, it’s more than fitting into a smaller pair of jeans. “I feel like I fit in the world. I fit in airplane seats and in restaurant booths. I don’t feel like I’m encroaching on anyone when I get onto an elevator. That is the best part about waking up every morning. I fit in this world and it feels so great!”
"I knew if I didn't take control of my life, I would be diabetic by the time I was 50 years old," says Mosaic Life Care at St. Joseph - Bariatric Care patient Dodie Elliston. "Both of my parents are diabetic and I have a sister who is diabetic. I developed high blood pressure in my late thirties. I was a ticking time bomb for bad health and I was scared."
Dodie was tired of yo-yo dieting. "I remember my first diet was in high school. I have tried every weight loss trick in the book. I have had four kids and every time would gain weight and then I would do a fad diet to lose it, only to gain it right back plus more." When Dodie turned 44 years old, she began to research the adjustable gastric band. "I took this very seriously. I wanted to be 100 percent certain that I was ready to make this decision. What I found was that this was exactly the tool I needed. I needed help with feeling full and being able to control my portions."
Becoming a healthy person was Dodie's main reason for getting the adjustable gastric band, but she wasn't just doing it for her. "I have four kids ranging from 20 years old to 10 years old. My 10-year-old has a LOT of energy. I didn't want to be sick when she gets into high school. I didn't want to be the fat mom. I want to be the fun, healthy mom - the active mom. She keeps me young, and the band has allowed me to keep up with her."
Approaching her one-year anniversary since receiving the adjustable gastric band from Mosaic Life Care at St. Joseph - Bariatric Care, Dodie reflects on how her life is different today than a year ago. "I've exceeded my goal - I've lost 80 pounds and I'm no longer on blood pressure medicine! I love shopping and I can wear cute clothes and shoes. I can climb stairs without being out of breath. My church hosts a 5K. Before I always volunteered to help with the event - I would serve food. This year, I participated and walked the entire 5K. I feel like a brand new person!"
"It was time for me," says Mosaic Life Care patient Michelle Munger. "I've lived my life for my husband and my two 14-year-old boys. They are getting older and getting ready to start high school and I didn't want to be an embarrassment to them - it was time for me to take my life back."
Like many, Michelle has struggled with her weight her entire life. "I've tried every weight-loss diet imaginable and nothing worked for me. I knew having the gastric band would not only help me lose the weight, but keep it off. I needed as much help maintaining my weight loss as I did losing it." After much thought and research, in May of 2010, Michelle decided to get the gastric band weight-loss surgery offered by Mosaic Life Care at St. Joseph - Bariatric Care. "It was the best thing I have ever done for myself and my family."
Since Michelle's surgery, she has lost 95 pounds. "I feel great. It's the little things that motivate me like being able to sit with my legs crossed and being able to breathe easier when I walk. I'm more outgoing; I feel better about myself. My boys are very adventurous, and now I can do more things with them. We recently went kayaking and zip lining. I would have never done those things before. In fact, before my surgery, we went to an amusement park and everyone wanted me to get on the rides. I knew I would not fit, so I used my hurt wrist as an excuse. Now, I'm ready for everything. I love life!"
Michelle is not the only one noticing changes in her life. "Losing the weight has made me a better mom because I'm happier. I love it when they say, 'Wow mom, I can put my arms all the way around you!' My husband will make me blush by telling me that he thinks I look really good. I'm a totally different person now."