Undergoing obesity surgery is no easy feat. First there’s the procedure itself, and then there’s the process of transforming your entire lifestyle. While the health benefits and self-confidence the surgery brings are worth it, it can be a tough process.
Read on to find out more about Dr. Dirk patient Amanda Graves, a claims processor and musician who went from 280 pounds to 150 pounds after receiving a gastric sleeve. Dr. Dirk stayed by her side through her post-surgery complications, something that Amanda says she will never forget.
What was life like for you before the procedure? Did you have any health issues?
Life was pretty rough for me before I had surgery. I weighed 280 pounds, suffered from extreme hypertension and was in constant pain from my back issues, which I had to have surgery for. I got winded doing almost any activity and was tired all the time.
Since the gastric sleeve surgery, I have gotten off my blood pressure meds, which is amazing because my hypertension was out of control. I can walk and get around so much easier. I still need to undergo another back surgery, but my back surgeon says my health is in a much better place now and that the risks for surgery are greatly reduced.
What motivated you to get surgery?
I have struggled with my weight all my life. I have tried every diet, every pill, every workout video and every cleanse. My health really started to decline after I had my daughter. That’s when I really started to consider having weight loss surgery to take control of my weight once and for all — not only for me, but for her.
I originally visited one of Dr. Dirk’s competitors — a name I saw all over Dallas for weight loss surgery — and I was so disappointed with their practice. I felt like I was nothing but a number to them. I had a family member who worked for Dr. Dirk at the time, and she suggested I make an appointment. After one visit with Dr. Dirk, I knew he was the surgeon for me.
How did Dr. Dirk help you through the process of weight loss surgery?
Dr. Dirk saved my life in more ways than one. In the beginning he was honest, caring and understanding, but he was very blunt and didn’t sugarcoat anything. He just genuinely seemed to care about me and my health.
I had some complications after surgery and hadn’t even been home from the hospital one day before I wound up in the back of an ambulance due to a blood clot. Dr. Dirk immediately rushed me back to Dallas, and after a few days in the ICU with Dr. Dirk by my side, I got to go home and everything was fine.
Dr. Dirk’s compassion and sincerity toward me and my family during this very scary time is something I will never forget. He was always there when we needed him and never left me in the dark.
How has your life changed since surgery?
Life is amazing. I can walk without getting winded and can run and jog a little, which was almost impossible for me before. Even little things are exciting: not having to shop in the plus-size section, being able to cross my legs, sitting in a chair and not feeling like I’m pouring out of it. I can play with my daughter and enjoy her, and that is priceless to me!
Despite those victories, it’s still a struggle. This is an ongoing process, and I’m learning more and more every day.
How have you changed your diet and exercise habits?
It was hard to learn how to eat again! I never really had a huge appetite before, but I didn’t make healthy food choices. Now I try to make sure that everything I eat has a healthy purpose — no empty calories or junk. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always make the healthiest choices, but my body usually lets me know that those choices have consequences and they aren’t always pretty or comfortable!
For exercise, I play with daughter outside and try to walk, but exercise has been a little more difficult due to my back issues. However, I try to get in some kind of stretching or yoga exercise a few times a week, and that helps tremendously.
Do you have different outlook on life? Was there a specific moment after surgery that you knew your life was going to be different?
It didn’t really hit me that I had lost as much as I had until I put on a pair of size large pajama pants one night and they literally fell off of me. I also remember running up some stairs quickly one day and I got to the top and was barely even winded. That blew my mind! That’s when I knew some big things were happening for my health.
What has been the response from friends and family?
I have had the most amazing support system through all of this. I’ve made some amazing friends through my music career and I was always open and honest with them and everyone else about my surgery. They all were so supportive and gave me so much encouragement! They will never know how much that meant to me. And my family was simply incredible! I am very lucky to have them in my corner.
What would you tell someone else considering weight loss surgery? Would you recommend Dr. Dirk, and if so, why?
First, having this surgery is not a quick fix. It’s a complete lifestyle change, and you have to really be mentally prepared for it. But it is the best decision I have ever made. The reward is worth every single bit of it. And there is no other doctor I trust as much as I do Dr. Dirk. He doesn’t treat you like a number, he cares about your health and he will be there for you the whole way.
What is your favorite thing to do now that you have lost weight and are living a healthier, happier life?
Shopping is something I hated to do before bariatric surgery because I could never find the clothes I liked in my size. Now, I love to shop for clothes! I think the biggest thing now is the time I spend with my daughter, Hattie. Playing with her outside and running around with her is the joy of my life. This surgery and Dallas Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Dirk, gave me that, and I’ll be forever grateful!
Find more inspiring success stories from Dr. Dirk’s patients here.