Patient Spotlight – Elaina Land

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What was life like before your procedure?

I was overweight for a long time, about ten or fifteen years. My health was decreasing, my blood pressure was really high, and I had a bad scare. I had to go to the ER because my blood pressure was really high and I ended up having to go to a cardiologist for a stress test. The results said I needed to lose weight, and the whole episode really scared me so I started researching lap band. My insurance company sent me to Dr. Dirk.

Did you look at any other physicians or were you set on Dr. Dirk?

I talked to one other doctor in the Dallas area, and then I met with Dr. Dirk and decided to go with him.

What made you choose Dr. Dirk?

Financially it was the better choice. Since he is affiliated with the hospital, insurance covered more of the expense.

Were there any other health related issues you were experiencing as a result of your weight?

Yes, I was pre-diabetic so my sugars were getting really close to needing diabetes medication. I was on three different blood pressure medicines and it was getting ridiculous.

Once you decided to have the procedure, were there any fears leading up to that?

A little bit, of course. Any time you have surgery you’re nervous and especially since weight loss surgery is a big change in your life. But, I knew I needed to get my health under control, so I went ahead with the surgery.

What helped you overcome your fears?

Dr. Dirk’s bedside manner was great; he made me feel very comfortable the day of surgery. He came in the room before the surgery to talk to me, and really calmed me down.

How did he calm you down?

Just talking to me and telling me everything was going to be good. He let me know that after the surgery I wouldn’t have any more worries. He was very reassuring.

Were you worried about any pain following the procedure?

No, I knew I would be sore but it wasn’t a big concern of mine.

How long has it been since you had the procedure?

3 ½ years

What was the first positive change that you noticed?

Weight loss, for sure. Then my skin and complexion improved by eating right and clean.

How did your nutrition plan change after going through the procedure?

I was determined to make this work after getting the surgery. You are basically learning how to eat again, and eat correctly, and I was going to make it work no matter what. He gave me a set of rules and I followed them, and I still follow them to this day.

How did your exercise habits change?

As far as fitness goes, I took the attitude “there are no excuses”.

What kept you motivated you while you were making this huge lifestyle change?

I stayed motivated by taking a ton of pictures, journaling everything, and having a network of other post-op people to turn to as friends. We kept each other motivated. Then, the weight loss and confidence just keeps that motivation going.

Would you do it over again?

Oh, in a heartbeat.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about getting a weight loss procedure?

I’ve actually had some friends come to me hoping to get a weight loss procedure and I am very supportive. I tell them go for it because it will turn your life around. I feel like I got my life back and it can happen for them, too.

Do you think weight loss surgery is for everybody?

No, I think you have to be mentally ready to make that change in your life.

Has it changed your outlook on life at all?

Yes, I am much more active. The only regret I have is that I didn’t do it earlier.

After the procedure, did it make you a healthier person?

Yes, after a couple months I was able to completely drop the medications. Now, I just have to take vitamins. Last year, I was able to become a Zumba instructor.

What was the response from friends and family?

I was getting a lot of, “Wow! You look great!”

How has your experience been with Dr. Dirk?

It is great. He is very supportive and keeps me motivated. He continues to track my weight loss whenever I go in, but also lets me know where I need to improve.