Patient Spotlight – Tammy Sanders


What do you do for a living and how was life before the procedure?

I’ve been overweight for about 15 years; since I’ve had my second child. I got to my highest weight this past year and decided it was enough. So I’ve been looking into the surgery for about 3 years and was really reluctant to do it. Then I came across the sleeve surgery and it sounded perfect for me. That’s when I consulted my primary physician. She recommended Dr. Dirk.

The first time I went to Dr. Dirk he made me feel completely comfortable. He made me feel like this was the right decision for me. He went over all of the surgeries. We both agreed the sleeve was the best surgery for me.

Did you experience any health related issues as a result of being overweight?

I had sleep apnea. I couldn’t sleep very well at all. I had a lot of joint paint. I was on acid reflux medicine. I had acid reflux really bad. All of that is gone now.

Did you experience any fear leading up to the surgery?

I was a little nervous, but I was more excited to change my life. The nervousness was very minimal compared to my excitement.

What were you nervous about?

Not the actual surgery. I’ve had surgeries before so I wasn’t actually nervous about the procedure. I was nervous about the research that I’ve done, the nausea afterwards, some people not being able to eat certain things and getting sick. I was more concerned with the after effects than the actual surgery.

Did you experience any of those after effects?

I did not.

What was the first positive change you noticed?

I’m only 5-6 weeks out. Before surgery, I was at the point where I wouldn’t even leave the house because I was embarrassed of myself. I can already tell that’s going away. I want to get out more and do more things.

What would you tell someone else considering weight-loss surgery?

It all depends on your personal story. I don’t think this surgery is right for everyone. I think you have to have a certain mindset for this surgery. It’s not an easy fix. You still have to work really hard at it. I had to change my way of thinking. I thought this surgery was going to be so easy; the weight will just fall off. If you’re not in the mindset to work, It’s not going to benefit you.

Would you do it again?

Ten times over. I would do it again. Every time I weigh and I see progress, it makes me even more thankful for doing it.

Has it changed your outlook on life?

Yes, because I can actually see a future. I see myself getting to where I want to be. I see myself healthy. I see myself being able to spend time with my kids. I completely changed my way of thinking.

What has been the response from friends and family?

Everybody is excited. The people I have told are very excited for me, because I’ve wanted this for so long. In the past, they’ve seen me fall back in my shell and now I want to do more. So everybody is excited; I’ve heard nothing but positive things.

What changes have you seen in your health?

I take my vitamins. I take the medicines that I’m supposed to, but as far as my sleep apnea, I don’t use my machine anymore. I’ve only lost 25 lbs so far, but I’ve already seen the difference in my acid reflux, my joint pain and my sleep apnea.

How do you stay motivated?

I think the hardest part of all was the first few weeks; you can only have liquids. I found that very hard. If you’re going through the surgery, that means you’re overweight and you’re used to eating the wrong way. After the surgery, your diet changes in an instant so the first couple of weeks are really hard.  But I never found myself doubting it. It was just very hard. Once I got past that and got into the soft foods, it was so much easier. I’m basically on normal foods now.

I don’t find myself wanting to sleep. I find myself wanting to go out and exercise. I want this change and the results that I’m seeing make me want to change even more.

What kind of exercise are you doing?

I have a treadmill and I have an elliptical. I work on those the whole time. I do go walking sometimes, but I use the treadmill and elliptical most of the time.

You had mentioned you’re working toward the ideal future, can you explain the ideal future for you?

I want to get healthy. When I feel like I’ve reached that point, I will level off. I just want to get to a healthy weight. I want to get out of that obese state. I want to be healthy for my kids. I want to be healthy for my grandkids and be able to be more active.

What was it like working with Dr. Dirk after your surgery?

Dr. Dirk is wonderful. He is very knowledgeable about everything he talks about. He goes in to detail. He goes over everything. He really goes into detail on any questions you have. He keeps me motivated. He tells me I can do this. He’s a wonderful doctor. He’s very caring. He wants to make your life better.