Podcast Episode 1: I Had "Weighted" Long Enough

Podcast 1
At CHI St. Vincent, we know it’s important for individuals to have access to the information they need to make informed decisions regarding their health and procedures they may need. We know that one of the most powerful ways people make decisions is through word-of-mouth encounters and reviews about that service or procedure - and that’s what our podcast is all about!

Our podcast, called “View From the Bed,” is all about having honest conversations with patients, allowing them to share their experiences about their healthcare journey: the good, the bad and everything in between.

In this episode we talk to Jennifer, a bariatric surgery patient, about her weight loss journey. 

Jennifer underwent the vertical sleeve gastrectomy weight loss surgery on March 15, 2023. This procedure involves removing roughly 75% of the stomach to reduce the amount of food a person can eat. As of January 2024, Jennifer is down 110 pounds!

"I've struggled with weight for the last several years. I just got tired of hurting, basically. You know, you get up out of bed and your feet hurt, you go shopping, you can only shop for a few hours, if that, and your back hurts," Jennifer said. 

She was actually inspired by podcast host, Bonnie Ward, and her weight loss surgery results. Learn more about the CHI St. Vincent Bariatric Program

Jennifer said she did a psych evaluation, filled out an information sheet, met with a nutritionist and checked about insurance coverage before booking the surgery with Dr. Brandon Ingram, bariatric surgeon. 

"The first thing that comes to mind when I think about meeting with Dr. Ingram is comfortable. He gave me all the facts, but he talked to me like I was a person, not as just another patient. When I talked to him he didn't make me feel bad about it or ashamed at all," Jennifer said.

When it was time for the surgery, Jennifer said the staff was incredible and made her feel comfortable. Once she woke up from surgery, they continued their compassionate care, but the recovery began.

Jennifer talked about the four incisions across the abdomen from the surgery that are about half an inch. She said she stayed the night at the hospital, but whenever she went home the next day, she was able to shower.

"I don't really recall having any pain," said Jennifer.

Bonnie agreed and said, "I had soreness, you know, it was kind of like if you, if you were to try to get on the floor and do 100 crunches and you're not used to doing 100 crunches, you'll get sore. That's kind of what it felt like."

Both agreed that taking your nausea medication and staying hydrated are so important after surgery.

"One thing I have noticed and that I've had to get used to is not feeling hungry. I know I have to eat and so I eat. You have to stay hydrated. Coming back to work, you get so caught up in what you're doing, you forget to eat or you forget to drink and you get dehydrated easily," said Jennifer.

Bonnie mentioned it's not uncommon if you have to go in a month or two after surgery for an IV bag of fluids. Also, it's crucial to take your vitamins.

This can be hard, but having a good support system and being able to talk to someone that has had the surgery makes it a little easier. 

"It's the encouragement. It helps to have someone that's walked in your shoes to say this is what I experienced," said Jennifer.

Speaking of shoes, both women noticed changes in their feet. Jennifer has gone down about half a shoe size, but she the biggest thing has been her clothing size. 

"I went from a size 22 pants to a size 14. It's been incredible. This journey is so hard, but it's so worth it," said Jennifer.  

"I think that anybody who is at a point in their life that's asking the questions, what do I do next? I've tried everything and can't lose the weight. Maybe you have some things that make it really hard to lose weight such as diabetes, high blood pressure or arthritis. Do not feel embarrassed, do not feel down, give Dr. Ingram's office a call, just go talk to him. He will let you know if he feels like you're ready for weight loss surgery," said Bonnie. 

If you're interested in learning more about weight loss surgery, click here. To see more patient stories, click here