July 12, 2022
Why I decided to have WLS
Growing up in a southern town, normal meals were something fried and with potatoes, and I was taught to eat what’s on your plate. My family never worried about her weight, so they didn’t teach me how to make healthy choices. I started “dieting” when I got to college doing all the new fad diets and taking any type of diet medicine to lose weight. I was always active in sports, but I was always heavier than all my friends.
After I got married I started gaining the “happy weight” and had a baby in the first year of marriage and gained 60 lbs. Again I started taking diet pills to lose weight. My second pregnancy was a set of twins and although I didn’t gain much weight during the pregnancy, the scales started to climb after they were born.
I always joked with my husband that I wish I could cut off part of my stomach and that would solve all my weight loss problems. I didn’t know there was a surgery that did exactly that.
My husband, who is still my biggest cheerleader, was completely against me having surgery. He said I had to do it the old fashioned way, which was to eat well and train. So I hired a personal trainer, who provided me with individual workouts and a personalized diet plan and started the process “the old fashioned way”. A whole year goes by and I wasn’t in better shape or weight than when I started. Now yes, throughout this year I have lost ten pounds here and there but it has never failed. The weight would come right back.
I went to the doctor to do a blood test just to make sure everything was fine in my body. All tests went well. At this point, I was 234 pounds and had no energy for anything. I hated going shopping for clothes because I could never find anything that fit and felt comfortable. I was completely miserable. My husband finally saw the real struggle I was having losing and keeping the weight off and he agreed to the operation. At that time, I started the search for the right surgeon.
Before and after VSG with Stacey
Last name: Stacey’s Birdsong
Total weight loss: 106 pounds
Type of surgery: Vertical sleeve gastrectomy
Date of surgery: August 21, 2017
Surgeon: Dr. Guillermo Alvarez
My surgery and my post-operative life
Without insurance to pay for the operation, I knew that I would need to go to Mexico, because the price of the operation in the United States is very high. I came across a YouTube video of Brandi Carter and her testimonial about the surgery and use of Dr. Alvarez with Endobariatric. She was talking so much about him and the whole process that I decided to do a lot more research on him. All the reviews I saw of him were from people saying nothing but the best things. I haven’t found a bad review on it yet. To my surprise, he was on Snapchat where he was filming the operations he performed live every day for you to follow. My husband and I started following him and immediately loved his transparency in his daily life as a surgeon. I knew it was my doctor.
I started the process of filling out the health questionnaire online and within a day Dr. Alvarez himself sent me a video chat letting me know that he accepted me as a patient. The process went smoothly from then on; I scheduled my surgery and waited for the day to come. Everything went well with my operation and the whole experience at Endobariatric. Dr. Alvarez runs a very well-oiled machine. He lays out the whole experience and what to expect for you in his patient guide, and everything happens exactly as it says. It has the cleanest hospital I have ever seen and some of the nicest nurses who are there for you, without hesitation. There, you’re treated like family, and that’s no exaggeration.
The post-op was pretty easy for me. I followed the post op instructions to a T and navigated pretty easily. Although at the end of the three weeks I was definitely ready to eat solid foods again! I lost most of my weight in the first few months. After a year, I had lost all the weight I needed to lose. I lost a whole person. I was the smallest I had ever been in my entire life, and that made me so happy. Above all, I felt so much better. I had more confidence in myself. I was more active because I wanted to be and because it was finally easy for me.
From that moment I had to start figuring out how to maintain this new weight that I was so happy to finally have. I knew I needed to keep my protein, my carbs low, and drink plenty of water, but I also wanted to live my normal life and not feel like I always had to be on high alert about what I ate. So I adapted to carb cycling, yoga and even started running. I am now four years post-op and am so happy to say that I have maintained my 106lb weight loss so far. I’ve documented my bariatric surgery journey and started my YouTube channel in hopes of encouraging others who are considering WLS and showing them that it’s a good option. This is definitely not the easy way out! I am eternally grateful to Dr. Alvarez and his entire team for giving me this tool that has given me my life back.
Before & After VSG with Stacey: Special milestones
One of my greatest wins without a scale has been being able to go to my favorite clothing store and pull off the size shirt or jeans I need and not have to try them on because I KNOW they will go. I’ve always liked clothes, but when you’re big enough, it becomes difficult to find clothes in your size. It took the fun of shopping away from me a long time ago. I have a new love for shopping now with my new body.
Another milestone for me is for my husband to notice and comment on how happy I am now and how up for anything I am now. My husband is very kind and adventurous and likes to be spontaneous and I wasn’t because everything we were doing I was uncomfortable with. Now, after losing over 100 pounds, I’m up for any hike in a heartbeat!
Celebrate your own pre and post WLS success, milestones, off-scale victories and inspire others! The OH team wants to hear from you to share your bariatric surgery journey. Visit our before and after submission page for more details.