Taking Back Life One Pound at a Time

Bettina M. StraightBettina M. Straight
Residency Program Coordinator in Internal Medicine

On July 13, 2011, I celebrate my one-year surgiversary, one year since I took control back and said, "Things will be different!" That day I made myself a promise to stop fighting, stop self-defeating and start living my life. Thanks to the skill of Dr. Christina Li and her wonderful staff here at Sinai Hospital, I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy and joined the many successful weight loss surgery patients around the world. One year = losing 93 pounds and 6 pants sizes. One year = greater confidence, greater health and a greater appreciation for the amazing life I live.

Deciding on surgery was a very personal decision but one I honestly found easy to make. After years of struggling with my increasing weight (including a 110 pound weight loss and regain between 2002- 2006), I knew I needed something different than the methods I had been using. I wanted something that was permanent, something that worked even if I had one off day. I was ready to make the sacrifices and changes necessary to feel like myself again and I was definitely committed. Weight loss surgery is by no means an easy way out. You can cheat and gain your weight back, though I am at a loss to understand why people would want to undo the amazing gift they chose for themselves. You have to change your eating habits and you have to move your body or the surgery will not be as successful as it can be. In essence, you have to do what you've always been told you have to do and when you do it - it works and lasts!

I'm incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to change my life. I am so much happier now because I can move my body freely without pain, my blood pressure is perfectly normal, my energy level is high and my clothes take up about half the space in a suitcase they used to! I truly feel like myself again and knowing that as long as I stick to a healthy plan I will keep the weight off motivates me to stay on track. I eat well, I exercise, I make healthier choices in as many ways as I can and it all pays off.

I'm often asked if I'd have the surgery again knowing now what I didn't know before. My answer is a resounding "YES" every time. I am among many who can happily say that I had no complications from surgery and came through it like a trooper. I followed doctor's orders and found a wonderful online community for support. I was bound and determined to get this right and I did. I will admit that it was easy to slack off on the exercise during the first six to seven months because the weight was coming off steadily but as soon as there was a plateau, I found myself an amazing fitness class and the scale is once again dropping. The difference in my measurements is incredible and my body is changing in positive ways with every workout I finish.

My favorite saying is "Life is Good" and, without a doubt, it is. I hope that if anyone is considering weight loss surgery he or she will research and speak with the phenomenal staff here at Sinai -  it's the way to take back your life one pound at a time.