The BEST Decision Ever Made - Edmonds, WA

As a 5'4" 55 yr old woman I decided it was time to...

As a 5'4" 55 yr old woman I decided it was time to do something permanent about my stubborn 90+ lbs. overweight most of my adult life. Didn't know the first thing about a "sleeve", but I was familiar with bypass and lap band, having friends with both procedures done and with varying success. I sort of stumbled upon the information watching YouTube videos. It was very informative to watch many, many videos (which I highly recommend) about this process and the outcomes from people of all walks of life. Without exception, everyone whose videos I watched had success without having to re-route intestines or have a foreign object in the body.
That was all I needed to make the decision, plus meeting with doctors at the U.W. Medical Center in Seattle, and finally deciding to have the procedure done at Puget Sound Bariatric Surgical Center in Edmonds, WA. The procedure was done as an outpatient and I had minimal pain for only the first two or three days.
So far, as of this writing, I have lost an average of 3 lbs per week since my surgery on July 8th, for a total of 49 lbs in three months since my high recorded weight (249) at my first appointment at the U.W. Med. Center.
I'm beyond elated, happy with the outcome! It's taken some getting used to but OH SO WORTH IT. So many changes have already taken place, beyond losing 3 clothing sizes so far. I have only the best things to say about my "team" at Puget Sound Bariatric Surgery, and Dr. Landerholm. They have a wonderful and complete aftercare program with a group of folks to ensure your success and health.
My portion (Cost is out of pocket that insurance didn't cover) was $1850, which included the aftercare appointments.

3.5 months out from VSG surgery

-50 lbs from highest weight and very happy with progress. Hoping for another 50 lbs.

Week 23 Post Op Update

Still going strong at week 23 after VSG.
Beginning highest weight: 249
Surgery day: 237
Week 23: 189 for a total loss of 60 lbs!

Update: 15 months Post-Op

I'm SO happy/thrilled that I had the VSG! I've lost approx. 80 lbs. since my highest recorded weight, 249 just before surgery. Health is great, no more achy/swollen joints. Wearing a size 10 pants, M-L tops (depending on cut). Now await a tummy tuck with muscle repair for the diastasis recti. I have a fairly large gap which will be repaired.. hoping to have the 'girls' done at the same time, but we'll see. My 18 month check up is in February 2015.
I'm still very restricted, food-wise. Have to be careful not to take one bite too many - as others have stated. I avoid certain foods, like chicken breasts... opt for less dense proteins. Still have a protein shake blended with fruit in the a.m. so I get my first 30 grams right away. I try to stay between 80-100 grams per day. Dining out: shared plate with my hubby. Choose wisely... try to limit desserts to small (shared) amounts. Fill up on 'good' stuff first!
My weight has stayed between 169-171 for the last 4 months or so, I think I've hit my set point. I'm not a real exerciser and walking is my main activity. This may change as I need to get that next 10-15 lbs off, ideally. I'm not very worried or upset about it - happy to be where I am right now!

Update: January 22, 2015 (17 months out)

I saw Dr. Harris who is also at Puget Sound Surgical Ctr. to consult about a tummy tuck with muscle repair back a few months ago. I mainly wanted to see what could be done about my "sharpei" tummy. (imagine having one of those dogs sitting on your lap! HA!) He confirmed I have a fairly large gap (muscle separation) that would be repaired and the excess skin removal would give me the flat stomach I haven't seen since the early 1980s. He also confirmed that I have pretty good skin with only a few stretch marks on my lower abdomen which would result in a good outcome. I got my estimate for this procedure and a "fleur de lis" procedure, as he felt I would get an even better outcome with that. I had to think about this, and think about how I would take the time off work (4 weeks, possibly) and if insurance would pay for it. As it turned out the universe granted my wish. My contract at work ended right after I went back to his office to revisit and review both procedures he laid out for me months ago. This time he felt that a regular tummy tuck, not the fleur de lis, would be good for me. Plus, no long vertical scar. I asked how soon can I get in? I was anxious to have it done before April as we have a cruise coming up in May. I'd have to wait for them to check his schedule which is usually booked out a couple of months. Got a call a few days later-- he had a surgery date available on Feb. 4 - I will have my tummy tuck/muscle repair done! And I won't have to worry about taking time off work. This is exactly what I imagined would happen. I will pay out of pocket as my insurance said this surgical ctr is not covered by my plan. (It changed since my VSG surgery was performed there) It will be a total of $8K (gasp!) but I'm confident that it will be worth every single penny. Dr. Harris estimated that my excess skin will be around 7 lbs. He will suture my separated muscles giving me a more hourglass shape and a flat tummy. I really wanted a breast lift at the same time but he said not to do it - wait until after the tummy heals. I'm a bit disappointed, but a friend of mine told me my body will be much different when I heal - the shape will be different. Plus.. healing will be a bit rough so I'm sure I'll be glad I didn't do both at the same time. Anyway... just an update for my upcoming surgery. I'm excited and have great anticipation!

Three weeks post Tummy Tuck

I'm over the hump! TT went perfectly, spent one night at the center and sent home the following morning. The first three days were the worst, the pain meds were a godsend. Had two drains that were located just above the pubic bone, left and right side. The drains are the worst part of the experience as they tend to get in the way, and if you accidentally pull on them.. ouch! After one week the left drain was removed as it was not putting out much fluid. The right drain was in for over two weeks, and now I wish I kept it a bit longer as I did have some fluid buildup that had to be removed via long needle at the doctor's office during this weeks checkup. Over 150 ml. of fluid! It felt like a sloshing waterbed. Not pleasant.
The scar which extends just beyond my hip bone side to side is healing beautifully. My new belly button is perfect - it looks very smooth around the edges and I can't see a line. I am, however, very swollen in the lower belly. It feels hard and warm. I am told this will subside over the next couple of weeks.

I am so happy with the outcome of my (almost) flat stomach! The muscles are together for the first time since 1982 or before. The suturing of the muscles can be felt if I sneeze or cough, so I try really hard not to. This is getting better with each passing day. To keep everything in place I'm wearing a compression garment that holds it all in place. I also have one of those wrap around binders but that thing is a real pain to use, plus it tends to roll and pucker. I haven't used that much - only if I'm washing the compression garment. Otherwise the doctor said I should wear it 24 / 7, taking it off only for showers. It actually feels better having it on so I have no problem with that.

After having about 5 lbs. of skin/fat removed, I am now able to wear a size 8-10 comfortably. Thinking this will change after the swelling goes down. Very excited about wearing pretty undies as I couldn't do that for so many years!
Might actually be shopping at Victoria's Secret. LOL!
Dr. Landerholm

Professional, super, knowledgeable, listens carefully to all concerns and answers every question without hesitation. He gives you all the information and never once did I feel he was in a hurry - he was relaxed and had a good sense of humor, too. I felt very secure in his experience and level of expertise. His team is equally good. They are wonderful!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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