Success Stories: Jackie

I Celebrate My New Life

I’d been struggling with my weight ever since the third grade.

Over the years, I tried all the diets. But I’d feel deprived and start eating again. I tried exercise, too. But when you’re fat, exercise is the last thing you want to do.

As I approached my 50th birthday, I started to notice I was struggling with low energy. As a nurse, I was used to working 18-hour days, but they started to wear me down. My physical weight was becoming more and more of a problem. I was losing the desire to do my best. It was then that I knew I had to do something.

I knew a couple of people who had bariatric surgery and could see their success. But thinking about it made me a little afraid at first. Not about my lifestyle or image, but about altering my internal organs. Then I heard Dr. Samuel speak at a nursing conference. He was convincing enough to help me make my decision to go ahead with the surgery.

I’ve always considered the care at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to be excellent. The physicians always want to give you the best. So when my husband and I had concerns about the surgery, Drs. Samuel and Jamal spent two hours answering every question we had. They were very realistic. They didn’t sugarcoat it. They want you to fully understand what you’re getting into.

I decided on the Roux-en-Y surgery. It lasted six hours and was a piece of cake. I was extremely satisfied. Especially because they were very respectful of my privacy.

Before surgery I was 270 pounds. I’ve lost 95 pounds in a little less than six months. I went from a size 24 to a size 16. I can buy clothes in the girls’ department instead of the women’s. Recently, I flew to a conference and the airplane seat belt fit, and my hips didn’t hit the sides of the seat.

Everything has changed from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. Before, energy was a challenge. I hated the 14 steps up to our bedroom--now I run those steps. I don’t even take the elevators at work anymore. I take the stairs to the eighth floor every time. I have a 500 percent turn in my energy level. I walk five miles a day, and it makes me mad when I don’t get my walk in.

I am so committed to make this successful. I know I could go back to my old ways, but I don’t want to. So now I slow down when I eat. They teach you that. I set a timer to make sure I spend at least 30 minutes on each meal. I don’t eat in the car anymore. I look at everything before I put it in my mouth. I read labels. I look for sugar, carbonation. I avoid chewing gum and soft drinks--anything that can put air in your stomach and stretch it out. I used to love to have a couple of beers when I was bowling on Friday nights, but I’m willing to pass them up to have the life I have now.

I would tell people who are considering this surgery to go for it, but look at your options. With the program at the University of Iowa, you are so well prepared. They care about you so much and are always there for you. And they keep in close contact with you after surgery.

I tell my patients that it takes time to heal. It takes time to adapt, and it takes time to get well. It’s not just a surgery, it’s a lifestyle change. Every single day, I’m thankful for the decision I made.

Contact Us

UI Obesity Surgery
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
200 Hawkins Drive, 4604 JCP
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-356-1887
Fax: 319-353-6192