Taking Back Life One Pound at a Time

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 to 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 six 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!

Before Surgery

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 less space in a suitcase.  I truly feel like myself again. Knowing that I will keep the weight off as long as I stick to a health plan motivates me to stay on track.  I eat well, I exercise, I make healthier choices, 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 the many fortunate individuals 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 or 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.

After Surgery

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.

- Written by Bettina M. Straight, Employee Engagement and Communications Consultant, Human Resources, LifeBridge Health

To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

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2 Responses

  1. Tina Stokes
    Bettina - you are amazing and I'm sure it took alot of courage to share your story with others. I hope they find it inspirational, I know I did. You go girl! -Tina
  2. Laura Pearl
    Way to go Bettina! It has been great watching your transformation and talking with you about it along the way. As you know I had a Gastric LapBand procedure done over 6 years ago and I absolutely join your praise of Dr. Li and the Bariatric Team at Sinai. The work never ends in this commitment to a healthier lifestyle - keep the faith. All the best, Laura

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    lifebridgehealth: "The #Levindale Auxiliary recently installed new President Rochelle Bohrer and nine new board members. Levindale’s President and COO Debra Graves thanked auxiliary members for what they have done and continue to do for residents…including installing new AV equipment in the town center. The auxiliary also added two new panels to its donor wall to honor and memorialize significant people the in donors' lives."
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