I have more energy, a better attitude and a joyful spirit
Brian Nelsen of Danbury, Wisconsin, underwent vertical sleeve gastrectomy with Jeff Baker, MD, at Ridgeview in March 2020. One year later, Nelsen’s life has changed… for the better. “Besides the non-stop compliments I receive, I feel so much better. I can do so many things that I haven’t been able to do for over 20 years,” Nelsen says. “I have more energy, a better attitude and a joyful spirit. I have been able to take long hikes in the woods with my wife, do woodworking projects again and I no longer worry about fitting into seats – including in airplanes.”
Reflecting back to his “aha” moment when he finally made the decision to pursue bariatric surgery, Nelsen says, “I had just been diagnosed with Type II diabetes and nothing I tried to lose weight worked for me.” After doing his research, Nelsen decided that Ridgeview was where he would pursue his weight loss surgical journey. Though his surgery was done at the start of the pandemic, Nelsen was relieved that Ridgeview had implemented significant COVID-19 safety precautions to limit his risk of exposure to the virus prior to his surgery and during his hospital stay.
“I found Ridgeview’s program to be very complete, even before the surgery. Meeting with a skilled and passionate dietitian was pivotal in preparing me for the lifestyle after surgery; and, having a care team who was both firm and encouraging at the same time also made a difference.” Well into his preparation, Nelsen’s journey suddenly came to a halt. Despite insurance verification stating he did have coverage for bariatric surgery, three months into the process Ridgeview learned that this was not the case for Nelsen. “Ridgeview’s program’s advocate was willing and able to help me work through it. With her help, we were able to get bariatric surgery coverage added to my insurance benefit to allow for coverage for the surgery,” he said. With the insurance barrier resolved, Nelsen’s journey continued.
Nelsen said Dr. Baker and the Ridgeview team helped him be very well prepared – physically and mentally – for the surgery, fully understanding the risks of surgery as well as the expected results. “On the day of my surgery, I was met with a professional, passionate and sympathetic team,” Nelsen added. Post-surgery, Nelsen said the visits with his dietitian and Dr. Baker helped him understand what had happened during the procedure and reinforced the pre-surgery training he had received.
Further reflecting on his experience, Nelsen said the entire Ridgeview team is credited with his successful outcome. “It all started with Dr. Baker’s wonderful and reassuring bedside manner at my first visit. The dietitian motivated me to understand all that I needed to know both before and after surgery. The team did so much to get my insurance coverage approved to allow me to complete what I’d started.”
Nelsen has lost 144 pounds and no longer has diabetes, sleep apnea or his debilitating migraine headaches. “I highly recommend the program, surgeon and staff at Ridgeview to anyone considering bariatric surgery, and actually I have recommended Ridgeview to many others. This, for me, has been a life changer!”