Life after Gastric Bypass: Happier, Healthier
High blood pressure. High cholesterol. Diabetes. Sore hips and knees. Poor sleep from snoring and sleep apnea. Lorraine Bragg doesn’t miss the life she led at 223 lbs.
Since having gastric bypass surgery at TriHealth in spring 2016, Lorraine says, “The biggest change has been in my medicine cabinet. I went off my diabetes medicine the day after surgery! I no longer use blood pressure and cholesterol medicines and don’t need a CPAP breathing machine to keep my airway open at night.”
She continues, “I feel so much better as a whole. Exercising is so much easier, and I don’t get short of breath easily.”
The Perils of a Desk Job
Lorraine’s weight hadn’t always plagued her. “When I was in high school, I ate anything I wanted,” she says. The transition to a desk job and high-powered career in her mid-20s was the beginning of her weight gain. “I’d get a single with cheese for lunch and eat a bag of chips from the vending machine as a snack.”
When she was pregnant with her daughter at age 38, she gained 50 pounds and says she never lost it. After a divorce in 2010, she pretty much gave up cooking in favor of fast food.
Her growing health problems and her brother’s heart attack at age 48 made her start looking at her own life. She tried diet plans, exercise and then prescription medication but didn’t have much success.
“I did everything short of having surgery first,” Lorraine says. She had seen both successes and failures with weight loss surgery. One success, in particular, caught her attention.
“I had a co-worker who went through gastric bypass surgery at TriHealth. When he came back to work, I was floored by how good he looked. He explained how the program went step by step.”
She thought it over and called for an appointment.
The Commitment to Lose
At that point, Lorraine not only had health problems, but she had given up a lot of pleasures she formerly enjoyed: horseback riding, walking trails in the woods, wearing dresses, even going out with friends.
She met with TriHealth Weight Management’s psychologist, dietitian and exercise specialist. She also joined the program’s closed Facebook page and attended some support group meetings, where pre- and post-surgical patients share information and support.
Bariatric surgeon Kevin Tymitz, MD, described the surgical options to her, and Lorraine selected a Roux-en-Y procedure, which involves stapling off a part of the stomach and repositioning the small intestine to receive food from the smaller stomach pouch.
She knew that option would keep her on course. “A 100 percent commitment is needed to be successful. I didn’t want to be the one who had the surgery and failed.”
A New Life
Following a successful surgery and smooth recovery, Lorraine began losing weight immediately.
“I couldn’t be happier with my decision, says Lorraine. In addition to getting her diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control, “I feel so much better,” she says.
“I can live again: I can go to Gatlinburg and hike my favorite trails. I’ve gone horseback riding. I bought a new sweater and skirt and wore it to a concert. I don’t count myself out of anything these days!”
Lorraine expresses her gratitude: “’Thank you’ doesn’t seem like enough, but I thank all of them at TriHealth from the bottom of my heart. This has been a journey that has changed my life forever, and the journey doesn’t end once you’ve reached your goal weight. It just keeps getting better.”