Gastric Sleeve, Oregon - Patient Story.

Rachel K.. from Clatskanie

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Reasons to choose Dr. Ortiz at OCC.

I have been overweight for about 25years of my life. I have tried Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Metifast and just exercising/starving. With no long lasting effects.  Three years ago my friend spoke to me of a surgery done in Mexico that her friend did. When I began to discuss this with my family I had 100% support and excitement for the future.


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Nothing Has Worked, Until Now

My name is Rachel. I'm 5'2" and 38 years old. I currently weight around 259lbs. I have been overweight for about 25years of my life. I have been married for 12 years (almost, and 16 years together) and have a wonderful husband and two wonderful children (10&5yo). I work from home part time in order to taxi my children to/from School, Piano, Kung Fu, Ballet, Swimming.... We live in Clatskanie Oregon on 5 acres of grass overlooking the picturesque Columbia River. I have tried Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Metifast and just exercising/starving. With no long lasting effects. Ever since I started making my own food choices in middle school, I chose wrong. It caught up with me in High School. I was able to lose a significant amount of weight after high school by exercising and just not eating. I found myself in a very comfortable spot in my early 20's and relaxed my hold and gained weight again. With the help of my mother (a temporary tool) I was able to lose over 50lbs just before my wedding but once that tool was removed I began to gain weight again. In my late 20's I found myself at 220lbs and pregnant. I had no complications other than gaining 35lbs. After 3.5 years I was able to get down to 200lbs with a temporary tool (Nutrisystem). But once that tool was removed, and I became pregnant again, I gained it all back and have stayed at 265lbs (pregnant or not). I have longed to join my family in the lower weight category but seem to lack the motivation. And add life, two kids, working blablabla. I seem to have reached my limit of mental focus. I do enjoy exercising (swimming, Yoga, Zumba...) but without the other half (eating right) I don't seem to lose weight. About three years ago my friend spoke to me of a surgery done in Mexico that her friend did. Since then she has spoken to me of her success and words like "my only regret is that I didn't do this 10 years ago" echoes in my mind. My friend then watched her friend's husband do the same thing. And even though I do know that there is a mental/physical struggle/success they both seem to feel the same way about the procedure. Very POSITIVE. Then one day my friend says, it's her turn! She is heading to Mexico after watching her friends struggle & success. The Pro's outweigh the Con's. She came back feeling great, not hungry and excited to start this journey. Many things sound great to me. A tool that never abandons you. The possibility of removing the part of your stomach that communicates with your brain that says your hungry. The rapid weight loss, which for those that need to lose a body or two, will keep one motivated through the struggle when you feel and look better quickly. I know that there are complications with any procedure. I have read about them. I am concerned with them, no lie. But after almost 25 years of being overweight I think that this might be the door God has opened for me, because even though I knew about this 3 years ago I NEVER considered it until my friend a few weeks ago went down and had the procedure. I feel that God works in mysterious ways and can use people and your surroundings to open doors and to bless you. When I began to discuss this with my family I had 100% support and excitement for the future. I was going to wait a year to save but God opened the door and the money has been loaned to me in advance. I even have a support willing to travel with me. I also have many praying for me to make the correct decision when the time comes and am so happy for all in my life right now that is part of this private/secretive possibility. I feel that looking at my track record, the possibility of me succeeding long term with thi s all on my own or once again with a temporary tool, do not seem very high. And the possibility of Diabetes, Heart problems and more are on my horizons. As of right now I have no medical problems resulting in my obesity, but that can't last for long. So I can see the doors have been opened and I do not see any doors closed at this time. God has time to tell me not to go down this path as I still have to find out and schedule everything (surgery, childcare, airfare...). I am waiting for some obstacle that has yet to arrive. I know that this is NOT the easy way out. That there is still the struggle ahead. But with me I usually fight my hungry stomach and my hungry brain. And with temporary help I seem to be able to cope but if I can possibly get rid of my hungry stomach and give my ALL to dealing with my hungry mind with the help of a PERMANENT tool I can only foresee success. I think I can rewire my brain, I think I will HAVE too, which is what I need. A kick in the rear end, every day! But with anything, if I give up than I loose. I end up stretching my stomach back out and Walla! I'm obese once again. This is the only con I see in the long run, ending where I began. We can "what if" all day long, but I cannot live that way. I have to try, I have to move forward, I have to swim not just tread water, no matter how scary it is. In the long run I will either have tried and failed or tried and succeeded but try I must. To live in fear of the negatives is not a life worth living. With every long term/permanent change your mind/body will adapt. It has no choice if not given one. One might fight it but if no other option you will move down that path. I do not want to change because of a medical diagnosis, which is what happens to most people (to change when not wanting too). I want to be proactive! I want to take the control myself! I am tired of my life being an "after school special" and want it more like a "feminine hygiene commercial", I want to ride horses, run on the beach, go kayaking, and dance! I want to live a long life and watch my children grow up. I want my children to know that "mom will do everything in her power to stay with them as long as possible". I love the debates I get from family/friends on this subject. I feel honesty can be hurtful but not if done in love and I do love the fact that I have so many that would risk hurting me in order to help me. I am writing this because I feel I can write better than I can speak most times. And I want those that support me and those that are not on board yet, to see where I'm coming from.

10 MONTHS POST OP GASTRIC SLEEVE UPDATE Well, it's still Rachel at 39yo 5'2" but it's not me at the same time. :) I started 2014 at 265lbs and am currently at 147lbs. My next goal is 143lbs (same weight as the day I married) and my final personal goal weight is 135lbs (I walked into surgery 7/10/14 at 235lbs). The paperwork from the physician's office gives me a goal weight of 165lbs after 12months. So I've passed that and am very happy even if I never reach my final two goals. :) I think I was at 44%Body Fat and now I'm 32%Body Fat! Still a lot of flab and sag but nothing you can't stuff in a pair of size 8 jeans! :) (Because these last goals the toughest I guess I need to diet to get there. So I best get moving on that. :) ) If you read my before story you will understand where I have come from. To back track I wouldn't have had the procedure if not for friends surviving it before me and for prayers answered as well. God sure did open all the doors wide open for me on this and I was never afraid or nervous or anything. I was very calm which was helpful. I just wanted to get it done and be on the road to my new life. And with the support of family & friends and the OCC that has been accomplished. I have changed my life to suite my new stomach. There are personal things I do not do just for giggles, it's not that I cannot do it. For instance I do not drink any coffee anymore, I do have about 3/4 cup of daily apple juice to help with any kind of constipation (plus 2 daily chewable Fiber pills). I do/did not smoke or drink alcohol before so that's not been a problem after. I have a few other "do not's" but they are just for my silly self (no corn/popcorn, lettuce...). I did keep mum to many folks after surgery but released my Before Story to all that showed interest in my new self about 6 months post op after getting all my labs drawn again and getting the thumbs up from my doctor. I go back again in June for the last time to check labs, this is just for me personally and not anything that is required. The only problem I had was 6.5months postop I had my first Kidney Stones but that was my fault due to not drinking adequately. I have since then increased my daily water intake and make that a priority EVERY DAY because that was really painful and costly (ER charges) and I do NOT want to do that again. :) I did not begin to exercising in any way until September/October and that was just cardio and light hand weights at home. In January I got a trainer and I began to go to the gym and life weights 4x a week thru May. I will then be on my own at home with weights, squats and cardio as I cannot afford the gym costs and my children will be home all summer and I have no time to get to the gym anyway with them home all day. :) I am writing this because I sent my OCC coordinator and nutritionist my mother's day breakfast in bed photo's from 2014 & 2015. They were impressed with the change and told me to share my story/pictures. So here I am. :) I will get this up on their website for them to use as needed. So to close I will say: "I am so happy to have had the opportunity to get this procedure. I would do it again in a heartbeat! It has saved my life by taking the bad body/choices away and replaced it with a new great healthy ones! I'm very impressed with the staff both in the States and in Mexico. The level of care before/during/after is amazing. I have told everyone I can to 'Go do it!' as it has been a life changing event I will never forget. I now pray God will give me the opportunity with doors open to go back and get some Nip Tuck here and there! :) Don't let fear guide you, but do take the time to think, pray, ask questions, prepare for your new life and smile because this procedure will amaze you too!"

- Rachel

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