For Sheri Rouse, her weight issues go back as far as the age of nine. She remembers a friend’s mother offered to buy her diet candy Ayds (this was an over-the-counter weight loss med in the 70's & 80's).
"This is the first encounter I can recall where I was identified as ‘overweight.’ Through my high school years, I steadily gained. At the age of 25, I weighed 219 pounds and decided to join Weight Watchers®. In nine months I was able to reach my goal weight of 147 pounds."
"My success was short lived, however. Once I reached goal weight I thought my weight issues were cured, so I returned to my old eating habits. I rapidly regained all that I had lost - and more. I returned to Weight Watchers® many times over the next 24 years, only to lose some and regain it back with additional pounds."
"After my marriage ended in 2005, I hit my maximum weight of 304 pounds. I was so ashamed and embarrassed of myself. I had thought often about weight loss surgery, but was too ashamed of myself and I couldn’t make the call."
For Rouse, her real wake-up call would come next.
"In December of 2008, I was diagnosed with diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension and high cholesterol. With no energy, I was depressed and felt like I was spiraling to an early death. My daughter has a disability, and the realization hit me - I might not be there for her in the very near future. The thought terrified me."
"With her future without me in my mind, I was able to make the call for help and scheduled my initial appointment with Dr. Walter Chlysta. My feelings of embarrassment were quickly replaced by feelings of concern and understanding. This was from the time I checked in, throughout the appointment with Dr. Chlysta and any contact I had with his staff. From that point on, I had hope and was able to proceed with surgery plans with ease and excitement."
"In order to receive approval from my insurance company, I had to again do the six months of Weight Watchers®. During that time, I also had the required testing done. Finally, my surgery was ok’d by my insurance company and it was scheduled for September 14, 2009."
"My surgery and hospital stay went well. I even went to the support meeting the night after my surgery – a nurse wheeled me down! Other than being tired, I felt great. I stayed at Akron General for only two days and was out walking two to three miles each day within the week of going home. My walks progressed to 45 minutes Monday through Friday, and 90 minutes on the weekends. I stuck to the diet guidelines faithfully."
"My efforts paid off dearly. I now weight 155 pounds, I am off all medication, I no longer require the CPAP for sleep apnea, my labs are excellent, and I have so much new found energy. I feel so good and get to do the things with my kids I never got to do before. It’s like I’ve been given a new start."
"I still walk daily, at least 45 minutes. I watch what I eat, as directed by the dietician, and religiously attend the support meetings. I find the group to be a great source of support, understanding and love. I have made friends that I so enjoy being with."
"I never thought I would be where I’m at today. With the improved health and the comfort to know I will be able to be here for my daughter, for many years to come. Thank you Dr. Chlysta and staff, for being who you all are and for your care and understanding in such a delicate area of my life."
To learn more about the Akron General Bariatric Center, attend a free Bariatric Surgery Information and Support Group Meeting. Call 330-344-2462 for a free brochure and to register.