Weight loss surgery was far easier than I expected
"Easier than Expected," is how Mark Paul, Elk River, described his weight loss surgery experience. He had vertical sleeve gastrectomy in January 2019 with Jeffrey Baker, MD, Ridgeview Bariatric & Weight Loss Center. Mark initially started the process several years ago but ultimately did not follow through with surgery.
"At the time, I started following the guidelines provided to me in the pre-surgical process and I started to lose weight." But just as with so many previous diet attempts over the years, Mark's weight loss plateaued and he eventually gained back all of the weight that he'd lost. Ultimately, Mark was faced with several health issues related to his obesity and he made the decision to make a permanent change with bariatric surgery.
"It came down to a simple equation for me - I traded large meals for an active life. I was diagnosed with type II diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. I made the decision to live," Mark said.
Mark described his early experience with Ridgeview’s Bariatric & Weight Loss Center as very friendly and informative. Having done his research, he took the first step and made an appointment with Dr. Baker at Ridgeview. "From the very beginning, I felt respected and valued – and there were no surprises – which is a really good thing when it comes to medicine,” he added.
Mark said the staff was always quick to respond when he had questions. “They were very personable and warm. I often felt that I was working with family instead of a clinic, and I always felt that they cared about me as a person and were invested in my success," he said. The guidance he received from the psychologist, the dietician, and the exercise physiologist was much appreciated as he moved through the pre-surgical practice. “Dr. Baker and the team truly looks at all aspects of health and well-being," Mark said.
Following surgery, Mark said he woke up in the recovery room and didn't even realize that the surgery was completed. “I was shocked at how little discomfort I experienced. I was up and walking right away after surgery and I felt great. On a pain scale of 1-10, my experience was a 0.5 for a few days and then no pain at all after day four. I walked more than five miles on day five," he said.
"The most notable change is that I don't need my arms in order to get up from sitting in a chair now. I can also tie my shoes without putting my feet up," he added. Five months later – and with his weight loss at 92 pounds, Mark said he notices less knee pain and he's moving faster and has set new goals.
He wants to run a 5K race this summer and move to even longer races as he become stronger and healthier. He also hope to climb mountains in the Colorado Rockies this summer. “My kids are very athletic and I am very competitive. I am excited to be a contender again."