Tiana's Weight Loss Surgery Success Story

Lost 163 Pounds

Tiana, Before Tiana, After

Since I was in middle school I started putting on weight. I was an active person; I played sports but always struggled with my weight. As the years passed by, I just kept gaining weight. Life became difficult because of all the weight I was carrying on my body. For many years I was severely depressed, I didn’t want to do anything. I fell into a vicious cycle of losing a little weight then gaining all of it back and more. I tried many diet and exercise programs and would have some success but I was not where I wanted to be.

In my early twenties, life was not happening for me. I didn’t get to experience life because of my weight. It hurt to be so young and not being able to do normal things like all my friends. At times, it was excruciating to be judged by my appearance. All I wanted was to be able to live a healthy and happy life. I started looking into other options to lose weight and came across bariatric surgery. I found a bariatric surgeon and went to his seminars to start the process for my surgery. My first obstacle was that I did not have any money for surgery and didn’t have a good job with insurance to proceed. At that point in time, I became more depressed and gave up on the idea of bariatric surgery. Then, I landed a job with good insurance and was able to go forth with my surgery!

The doctor I chose at first was not the best option for me. I had an unpleasant and disappointing experience with him and his office. For many months, I went through a crazy process, but finally was able to set the date for surgery. My day finally arrived on May 1, 2012. I was stoked to start living my life in a healthy and positive way. It was nerve-racking going through all the last minute paper work and saying goodbye to my family. I had let a medical student be in the room during my surgery. I remember waking up and hearing the nurse talking to the medical student saying, “It would have been great if you were able to see a complete surgery.” When I was in the recovery room, I looked up at the clock and knew it was too early to have completed my surgery. Tears flooded down my face. The nurses would not tell me anything until my surgeon came to talk to me. When he arrived, he told me it was not possible because all the fat was under and over my muscle and he would have a hard time reaching the appropriate area. He said that proceeding could have caused me to bleed to death. I am thankful that he did keep me safe but was devastated. He told me he would give me a few days to cope and we would come up with a new plan to get me where I needed to be. However, I did not receive the support I needed from his team and was utterly heart broken.

My primary doctor, Karen Larson, was a big help to me. She knew how much I was struggling to get my surgery completed and recommended I visit Dr. Chae. I called Dr. Chae’s office and had an appointment set up within two weeks! I was shocked to have an appointment without jumping through all the hoops that I had gone through before. Throughout my journey, a song by Jason Mraz called “The Remedy” helped keep my head up. There is a specific phrase that resonated with me, “You can turn off the sun but I am still going to shine.” This has helped me keep faith that everything is going to work out in my favor. Within a month of meeting with Dr. Chae and his team, I had all my paperwork submitted to insurance and had a date set for surgery. I was apprehensive to go forth with another surgery because of the previous outcome, but Dr. Chae reassured me. My surgery date was February 25, 2013 and it was a success! The day of surgery I weighed 355 pounds. I just celebrated my 10-month postop anniversary and am down 163 pounds. I have lost 15.5 inches in my waist, 4 inches in my left bicep, 4.5 inches in my right bicep, and 4 inches in my neck. I have gone down 9 pant sizes. My heart is happy in my new positive, healthy lifestyle. I am loving life and want to experience many things now. I am not where I want to be, I am where I used to be, I am in the making.