Bariatric Center Success Stories

Weight loss surgery success stories

Deana Sroka

Deana Sroka, Age 45

Gastric Sleeve, April 2014

Total Weightloss to date: *152 pounds

What's your history with diet and exercise?

When I was young, I was a competitive figure skater and never thought in a million years that I would end up overweight. But once I stopped training, the weight slowly crept on. I didn't just wake up one day and weigh 300 pounds; it was 20 years in the making, ten pounds a year.

When did you realize you had to make a change?

I was tired of being tired. It was getting harder and harder to do my job. To live my life. I wanted to set a good example for my daughter. And deep down I knew that 300-pound woman wasn't me.

Why did you feel like surgery was the only option?

I knew I had the potential to lose the weight and get healthy, but I needed help to control my eating and make better choices. I knew that if I was going to do something as drastic and life altering as the surgery, I had to be really committed.

What did you learn at Dr. Strom's introductory seminar that surprised you?

Before that seminar I had no idea how nutritionally deprived I was. I ate too much, but there was no nutrition, and I felt terrible. I just thought that was how I felt. I didn't understand that it was a physiological reaction to the foods I ate.

Once you decided to have the procedure, what was the process like?

It was absolutely amazing. I feel like I have a support system there, I can call whenever I want, I can call the nutritionist with questions about diet and vitamins. They are VERY accessible. And I like the group meetings, too. I go whenever I can.

How is life different today?

Now I'm a new and improved Deana. My friends love the change because I'm more fun to be around. I have tons of energy. I exercise all the time. My husband and I run together. My competitive spirit is back—I live for race day, crossing the finish line, and getting my finisher medal.

What would you tell a friend considering this surgery?

I tell them I wish I'd done it fifteen years sooner. It's life changing. And my life is so much better now.

*Results may vary based on a variety of factors.

Milka Ortiz

Milka Ortiz, Age 31

Gasteric Sleeve, November 2014

Total weight loss to date: *101 pounds

What's your history with diet and exercise?

After I had my first child and started taking birth control, I started to gain weight. So I joined Weight Watchers. But I'd lose the weight, then I'd gain it right back. Lose it, then gain it back again. And it was very hard to stay motivated.

Were you experiencing other health issues?

Yes, I had high cholesterol, swollen ankles, aches and pains in my legs and back.

What was the process leading up to surgery like?

I saw a nutritionist for six months before the surgery, so I learned a lot of behaviors I didn't know before. Portion control, exercise, that it's better not to eat and drink at the same time.

How was your experience at Mountainside?

They are a great team. I can call anytime with any concerns. I had some gallbladder issues that slowed my recovery, and they were very attentive to my concerns. They are the best team ever for this kind of surgery.

What would you say to a friend considering this surgery?

I would tell them to do their research first and be serious about it. It's not just about looking pretty, you need to be doing it for health reasons. And you have to be ready and willing to change your behavior.

How has your diet changed since the procedure?

It's very easy to control my portions now. I have a small stomach. I eat off a smaller plate. I eat protein first, then vegetables, then starches, which helps me a lot.

What else has changed?

Going shopping is interesting. I've forgotten and gone to the plus size section to shop, because I'm not used to my smaller body yet. I have clothes from when I was 17 and they're too big!

And your life overall? How are you doing?

Once I got the surgery, I was already doing a lot better. Now I feel a lot lighter. And I can run now—I couldn't do that before. I feel great, and I don't worry that I'm going to have diabetes or high blood pressure. This is a great option for health.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith, Age 58

Gastric Sleeve, July 2014

Total weight loss to date: *132 Pounds

What's your history with diet and exercise?

I was always a big guy, but I was in good shape, and I carried my weight well. But in the ten years post-college I gained 40 pounds, and then I got married. I weighed 240 when I got married. Then the kids came along—that's when I really started to put it on. I was 347 pounds when I decided to have the sleeve procedure.

How was your weight affecting your quality of life and your health?

When you get that heavy, doing anything—walking, going up a flight of stairs—is really difficult. My hip started bothering me, then my knee. Then my cholesterol increased and my blood sugar got up to 149 (150 is Type 2 Diabetes). My blood pressure was 140/90. I had sleep apnea, which makes you extremely tired.

What prompted you to consider weight loss surgery?

A year and a half ago, I went for my checkup and the doctor said everything looked fine. But then a week later, the nurse called and said the doctor wanted to see me back in his office. I thought, "this is it—the call I've been dreading." He said he was calling me back in as a friend and told me about Dr. Strom's seminar. That was the wakeup call I needed.

What made you realize surgery was the right choice for you?

I had tried different diets many, many times over the years. I thought it was simply poor choices or a lack of willpower on my part, but Dr. Strom really helped me see that when you're obese, there are many factors working against you that are largely outside of your control.

How long did it take you to recover from surgery?

It was quick. I had no complications. I went in at 7:30 a.m., and I was in recovery by 8:45. Home within two days, and within a week I was riding my bike.

And now that over a year has passed?

I have been back to my college weight for the past eight months. My blood pressure, my cholesterol, my blood sugar, my vitamin levels—all great. Sleep apnea—gone. I'm not sweating all the time. I have energy. I can be active. It's the best thing I could have done for my health.