“Discouraged and worried, I sought help from specialists in Boston. They confirmed that I had hypothyroidism, which is a metabolic disorder. While it was good to have a medical diagnosis, they really offered no options to curb the weight gain. My greatest concern was my health. By now I was diabetic, and despite taking medications, I felt like the odds were against me; my father and other relatives had passed away from complications of diabetes, and I honestly believed that would be my fate as well. I truly felt helpless and resigned.
“My endocrinologist at the time was Dr. Haag II, whom I loved and very much trusted. On his advice, I scheduled a consult with Pioneer Valley Surgical Associates to discuss the possibility of surgery. Almost immediately on meeting Dr. Haag III, I started feeling hopeful. I could tell he respected me as a patient and a person, and honestly, that is something you don’t always feel with specialists. I knew I was in good hands.
“I had lap band surgery in February of 2007, and within a few weeks, my blood sugar had plummeted. My pancreatic function had returned to normal. To hear the words, “you’re no longer diabetic,” I can’t describe the feeling. I quickly started feeling like myself again. My husband, who’s known me since we were 17, really said it best: ‘Now you look like Pat.’
“Around Thanksgiving, I like to send notes to people to express my gratitude, and Dr. Haag and everyone at Pioneer Valley Surgical Associates always top the list. What they offered was more than just a surgical procedure. They gave me the tools to restore balance in my life, and each year I am alive and well is testament to that. I would tell others who are struggling, I know exactly where you are, because I’ve been there. And I know a provider who really listens.”
“I had considered weight loss surgery for several years. I actually had gone to Boston and Worcester, but no surgeon felt right until I met Dr. Haag. He was so assuring and supportive, and together, we decided on gastric bypass. Within 6 months of having the surgery, I was off many of my meds and already felt like a whole new person. I have lost 230 pounds and am down to a size 12. Even three years later, when I’m doing laundry, I’ll hold up my jeans and still can’t believe I fit into them.
“Losing the weight has made me outgoing again and allowed me to enjoy all the family activities I had been missing. My younger son races cars, and I am at the track nearly every weekend. I have received my bachelor’s degree and am working toward becoming a nurse practitioner. Teaching is a big part of the job, and my goal is to educate patients on living healthier, richer lives.
“This is a photo of me on the morning of my gastric bypass surgery, and then me in my nursing uniform—the first time I had put on scrubs in 11 years. My weight had taken over my career, my family life, everything that is ‘me.’ Surgery has given it all back, and even better than it was.”
Linda has had the band since 2005 and she finally reached her goal of 200 lbs lost in 2011. Her statement was that she would give up her husband before her band!
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