Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Success Stories - Ascension Wisconsin

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Bariatric Surgery Patient Stories

Our patients' weight loss surgery success stories are simply amazing! See how bariatric surgery helped them find their health.

Barry's Story

Barry's Bariatric Surgery Story"My two year surgery anniversary is today, Jan. 25, 2014, and I'm celebrating in Australia, something that NEVER would have been possible two years ago when I weighed 400 pounds. The 13-hour flight would have been unbearable, not to mention walking around these amazing cities!

Thanks to (my physician's) knowledge and caring attitude, and the support from Megan, Lynn and all the rest, I'm able to celebrate in such a beautiful place like this! Thanks to you all!"

Deb's Story

Deb Before Bariatric Surgery

Deb Before Bariatric Surgery at Elmbrook Memorial

"I started gaining weight after I graduated from college, and eventually I became so heavy that I started to have foot pain. Then soon my hips, back, knees and legs hurt so badly that I dreaded getting out of bed every day. The thought of putting my foot on the floor was very daunting.

During this time I tried many different types of diets. I did Weight Watchers, Atkins, Paleo and Nutrisystem. I even signed up with a personal trainer and couldn't even get through the first workout without throwing up! I would lose pounds, but I always ended up gaining more than when I started the program. I knew I was in trouble when I couldn't walk at the Walworth County Fairgrounds flea market!

I had two major life-changing events that occurred between 2012 and 2013. I realized that I had the opportunity to take control of my health if I could find a way to get over my fear of feeling like a failure. When my yearly physical came back with high blood pressure, knee pain, pre-diabetic, high-cholesterol and cardiac markers that indicated that I was in the pre-stroke category, I decided to talk with my doctor about possible weight loss options.

My doctor was well aware of my efforts to “diet” and fortunately, she never made me feel badly about my weight loss failures. I mentioned bariatric surgery to her and with her blessing, I began exploring Bariatric Surgery programs.

Over the next year, I explored several different bariatric surgery programs, and I chose Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group - Bariatric Institute of Wisconsin (BIW) and Wheaton. I was very impressed with (my doctor's) approach to the surgery. Not only does the doctor have a low surgical infection rate, but he also has the best bedside manner. He never makes you feel less than a wonderful person and when you are a fat person, this is a bonus because we are used to being treated badly."

Deb After Bariatric Surgery

Deb After Bariatric Surgery at Elmbrook Memorial

"I am seven months post op, and I no longer have any foot, hip or knee pain! I no longer take any blood pressure, asthma or cholesterol medications! I flew on an airplane, and the seat belt fit perfect. I wasn't crowding the person next to me. I bought a puppy, and she and I walk a minimum of five miles a day – two years ago, I would have never been able to do that!

I am so grateful for my new lease on life! I am indebted to the BIW staff and to the wonderful nutritionists at Wheaton – this program is amazing. Everyone is supportive and kind. Last, my family deserves a shout out for being there with me and for me every step of the way … without them, this journey would be doubly hard and I would not be as successful. I am incredibly happy and most importantly – HEALTHY!"

Ernest's Story

Ernest Before Bariatric Surgery

Ernest before bariatric surgery

"My name is Ernest and I had bariatric surgery at Wheaton Franciscan - Elmbrook Memorial Campus. Before my surgery in December, I weighed in at my pre-surgery meeting at 442 pounds. I have been overweight for a third of my life, especially since my early 20s once getting out of the armed services.

The last two years prior to surgery, I was unable to walk up and down the stairs, I would get out of breath getting dressed and even taking a shower. I begin to have several skin infections as a result of the layers of excess skin that was around my mid-section. I developed two saddle PEs, only for a year later to develop two more blood clots in my left lung.

I was pre-diabetic with hypertension and had frequent gout attacks every month. It was when I developed the second set of blood clots in my lungs that I decided that it was time for me to make a change that would ultimately be beneficial for my health. I decided that I needed to come to the Bariatric Institute of Wisconsin (BIW)."

Ernest After Bariatric Surgery

Ernest after bariatric surgery at Elmbrook Memorial

"I would not trade the experience for anything in the world.

They held my hand and supported me every step of the way. The counseling and workshops, the camaraderie with not only the other potential weight surgery candidates, but the dietitian, advisers, nurses and physicians made the experience that I stand as a banner to others who struggle in the weight loss battle that the BIW is the way to go.

Today I weigh 282 pounds. I no longer have blood pressure issues and have taken to running and working out. I have not had a gout attack in months and have decreased my dose of Coumadin for blood clots to half the dose. I thank the BIW for I now finally feel like life is good once again."

Jane's Story

Jane Before Bariatric Surgery

Jane Before Bariatric Surgery at Elmbrook Memorial Hospital

"How would you feel if you couldn't keep up with your friends when you walked somewhere or didn't fit in the seats at a movie theater and had to bring in a lawn chair from your car?

Always having to ask for an extension to your seat belt when flying on a plane or not fitting through turn-styles. Worrying about your diabetes, which continues to get worse as you weigh more than you ever have in your life. Paying for all the medications you have to take. Not having a lap for your grandchildren to sit on when you read stories to them or being able to bend over and pick up a ball while playing catch or stand very long to push them on a swing. Having back pain off and on for years and swollen feet. Constantly getting infections under my belly. Worrying about the quality of the rest of my life.

My New Year's resolution for 2014 was to get healthy. I did this by investigating bariatric surgery. After many support groups and doctors visits, I had the surgery Nov.20, 2013."

Jane After Bariatric Surgery

Jane after bariatric surgery at Elmbrook Memorial

"I feel more alive, less joint pain, less medications, diabetes under control and units of insulin going down. I have an easier time exercising, walking and going up the stairs. In the mirror I see the me that I saw 30-some years ago.

My grandchildren can sit on my lap, and I can play catch and bend over to pick up the ball. I have learned to eat and drink new things. I have the energy to babysit every day for my first granddaughter - something I've always wanted to do.

Best of all, my friends who have supported me are proud of what I've accomplished, support me in my ongoing goal of losing more weight and keeping it off. I feel good about myself and know that when I put my mind, heart and soul into doing something, I can accomplish it.

My bariatric surgery was the key to helping me accomplish my goal and gives me the strength to continue on improving my life.

My New Year's resolution for 2015 will be to continue exercising more, eating the diet allowed, investigating new foods suggested for me, go to more support group meetings and becoming more involved, and most of all enjoying life to the fullest."

Janet's Story

Janet Before Bariatric Surgery

Janet before bariatric surgery

"Life is a journey with many ups and downs. Prior to surgery I weighed 300 pounds and wore a size 26.

The majority of my weight came on after marriage when I was diagnosed with infertility. I had numerous surgeries, fertility drugs and IVF attempts with no successful pregnancies. I was a very fussy eater and did not like to cook. I loved fast food and carbs! My weight kept gradually getting higher over the years, then came menopause, which I refer to as 'mental pause.' When you feel like you are going crazy and no matter how hard you try, you gain weight.

I became the queen of yo-yo dieting. I tried every fad diet and pill on the market. Every time I would lose weight and then then gain it all back plus more. Something had to change!

My decision for weight loss surgery:

  1. Health – diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity
  2. Nurse/Caregiver – I take care of everyone else, and I needed to start taking care of me.
  3. My Future – I wanted to be able to enjoy retirement and any future grandchildren I may have."

Janet After Bariatric Surgery

Janet After Bariatric Surgery at Elmbrook Memorial

"In June 2012, I had a gastric sleeve. It changed my life! It’s added so much quality and quantity to my life!

I am so much:

  • Happier
  • HealthierI’m off medications for diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol. I love exercise and eating healthy.
  • HopefulTwo years post op, I am hopeful to keep the weight off, stay committed and maintain a healthy lifestyle.


  • Remember surgery is just a tool.
  • Attend support groups monthly pre- and post-op. It helps so much!
  • Keep setting goals for yourself.
  • Stay positive and aim for success.
  • Take one day at a time and remain in control.
  • Surround yourself with positive people, family and friends.
  • Stay committed and have the desire to succeed.

Believe in yourself – you can do this!"

Linda's Story

Linda Before Bariatric Surgery

Linda before her bariatric surgery

"Before weight loss surgery, my life was miserable and hopeless. At a weight of over 275 pounds, I couldn't last more than five minutes on a treadmill. In addition to a walker to help me get around, I had to use assistive devices for the simplest of daily living tasks. Eating and watching TV was my activity level."

Linda After Bariatric Surgery

Linda after bariatric surgery at Elmbrook Memorial

"In November 2011, all that began to change as my journey to health began. The surgery was only one tool in my toolbox, and my physician told me I would need to have an exercise program – that it was going to need to be part of my lifestyle. So that’s what I did.

I followed the guidance of the dietitian for nutrition, and I began a robust exercise program consisting of swimming, bicycling, walking and strength training.

Needing something to work toward, nine months after surgery, I participated in my first Sprint triathlon, and I was hooked. I reached the goal I had set for myself in less than a year and a half.

Moreover, I went from the couch to all sorts of fun activities such as indoor rock climbing, tree top obstacle courses, zip lining and hang gliding.

If you’re around town, you’ll see me training for the next racing event whether it’s a 5k, 10k, half marathon or mud obstacle course. I just completed a 10K at the Biggest Loser Off-Road Challenge, which was at a Spartan Beast race, and now my friends and I are registering for all three Spartan races next year to obtain the Trifecta!

So, what’s next? Why a marathon of course at Disney World in January 2016! I love life now and the sky’s the limit!"

Linda after bariatric surgery

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