Lori’s background has always been based in customer service. She studied business management in school and from her first job as circulation manager for an investment newsletter, an Office Manager for a Vocational Rehabilitation firm specializing in injuries related to workers compensation, to working as a Marketing Analyst at a small, boutique bank where she worked with customers to develop new products and offerings to meet their needs. Her goal has always been to discover better ways to meet the needs of customers. She believes her calling is in serving others and trying to find ways to meet their needs.
Lori has been with OCC since 2006, she started as a Patient Care Coordinator shortly after coming to Dr. Ortiz for her Lap Band Surgery. She is now Lead Patient Coordinator overseeing our team of coordinators and making sure that all patients get the information they need to choose the best surgery for their needs as well as acting as a liaison between the patients and the surgical team. In addition to assisting patients with their pre and post-surgery needs, she also runs our online support groups and forum and is constantly working on finding better ways to provide the support our patients need before and after surgery, and to improve communication between patients and OCC.
“I get a lot of private messages from people asking how I’ve done with my sleeve, how I’ve REALLY done long term. I think so many things have failed for us over the years, that we are afraid to believe that this could really work and be long-lasting. I had an appointment yesterday with my doctor, and I was cold so I had on jeans, tank, shirt, sweater, scarf, and heavy socks and boots… so I was seriously winter dressed (don’t we all usually wear “lightweight clothes” when we know we are going to get weighed lol)… my weight on the scale fully clothed was 147.1. I’m 5’7, the jeans I was wearing were a 6 (I go between 4 & 6 and an occasional 8, depending on brand and how I want it to fit. I had my sleeve surgery 4/12/2012 so I’m almost 6 years out (my original band surgery was 6/2006 – you’ll find more info on that in my blog). I did go under 140 for a short time (naked weight) after my surgery, but it was too skinny for me (and way too skinny for my hubby!) – I’m really happy mid-140’s and haven’t had trouble maintaining this. So it really DOES work. You have to work it too… but when I say I love my sleeve, I really do love my sleeve!” To learn more about Lori Wrights’ journey, watch her interview here.
Q&A with Lori
1. Did you struggle with weight during your childhood?
I always struggled with some weight as a child, but my struggles with being really overweight started with my first miscarriage. I soothed myself with food and that would become a battle that lasted 20+ years. I still have to be mindful of that.
2. What was your highest weight?
My highest recorded weight was 282, but I’m sure I went higher than that.
3. When did you decide you needed help or was there one specific turning point you recall?
I had been doing Weight Watchers for years – I was even a Leader’s Assistant for a while – but after my miscarriage, I really gave up. Then, through fertility treatments, I gained weight, then through each of my pregnancies/miscarriages, I kept gaining. I wasn’t considered heavy enough or sick enough for any treatment in the US, but I was doing some research on alternatives and found Obesity Control Center.
4. What options did you explore (other surgeons, diets, exercise, etc.)?
Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Diet Pills, every diet you can think of. Even if I lost weight, I would gain it back, sometimes more than I’d lost.
5. What were you scared about?
Not keeping up with my children, not being here for them. And getting sick. Even though I was obese, I didn’t have the other health issues… yet… but I knew I couldn’t avoid those forever.
6. Who supported you in your journey?
My husband and best friend. I was pretty secretive about it because I didn’t want people hearing Mexico and freaking out (which actually happened after the fact!)
7. How was the experience prepping for surgery?
It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t hard. I knew by doing this right, I was preparing myself for a safer surgery, and I was running towards that hope at full speed.
8. How was the experience traveling to OCC (plane, hotel, the night before surgery, etc.)?
Since I’m in California, we drove in the night before. I wasn’t scared, I was excited. But I kept waiting for the “scary Mexico” to happen… that never happened. After 14 years, that has still never happened.
9. What was your first impression walking in the door at OCC?
I have had a lot of surgeries in my life, but none of them compared to the amazing OCC Facility, the care I received before and after surgery, and the ease and recovery of surgery. It was like a dream. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.
10. What surgery did you have?
I had the band in 2006, and a sleeve revision in 2012. (More at my blog here.)
11. What was the recovery like?
It was all a breeze, I recovered very quickly. The only time I had any pain or issue was when I wasn’t following the post-op guidelines for physical limitations the first few weeks after surgery. I felt so good that I was going too much too soon.
12. How much weight have you lost?
About ½ my original weight.
13. What is your best advice for someone else considering bariatric surgery?
Don’t put it off! For everyone I’ve spoken with, all the thousands of patients I’ve worked with, their biggest regret was not doing it sooner!
14. What is one of your favorite stories you have encountered being a coordinator at OCC?
Honestly, it’s the sleeve babies. The families that are happening because of this! And the rainbow babies… those are incredibly special.
15. What is your favorite thing about working for OCC?
Helping other people! Being a part of their journey. And it’s not just about weight loss… this journey can help people find themselves again, become that version of themselves that was trapped and hiding and either stopping them from doing things they really wanted to do or taking that leap of faith. Maybe it was leaving a toxic relationship, starting a new business venture, going on that amusement park ride they couldn’t fit on before, starting a family, belly dancing, running a marathon, finding their true love, going to a reunion, not being the biggest person in a room, just venturing out and finding their confidence.