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Patient Stories – Little Victories 

I am 10 weeks post Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery and every day since surgery I am grateful for this life saving surgery! It actually started many years ago when I became very ill and gained over 150 lbs. due to inability to do any kind of activity more vigorous than strolling around. Then the comorbidities started piling on, then surgery after surgery! In five years prior to my surgery in August 2008, I had at last count 10 surgeries!

Then came the great news. My insurance policy was going to cover gastric bypass surgery! Yes, this surgery helps a person lose weight but it's for so much more than that! So much more that weight loss actually is relegated to the status of "bonus side effect". I attended my required six months of classes, physical therapy, cardiac stress testing & clearance, full physical, full psychological testing and so much more. It's not easy and the influx of information is incredible and often difficult to process.

Day of surgery, down 19 lbs. (for the 3rd time!) and I ask after getting IV set, if I can please walk into the surgery suite rather than be carted in. This surgery was a very big decision for me, lots of hard work and my saving grace. I wanted to walk into that surgery suite under my own power, for me. I explained that to the anesthesiologist and he ok'd my request. I cried happy tears.

St. Mary's staff listened to me. They understood my need to do this—for me, and to be able to walk in scared & worried, but confident at the same time, and to take full responsibility for my decision and allow me the Peace of that acceptance.

So to the surgery suite I walked, to the astonishment of techs, nurses & doctors everywhere. A pause outside the room, a deep breath, a smile and in I walk. Much to my surprise, a room full of folks were calling out cheery hellos, how ya doin's and all manner of friendly assistance. I already had full confidence in my surgeon, as he'd done two other surgeries on me, but to walk in on my team so ready to help, any last nerves I had simply melted away.

We were all laughing and I thanked them all for being part of my life change and using their talents to help me on the road to a new me—a brand new healthy me that will go on to live a long and happy Life.

After returning to my room post recovery, and with already high expectations from being a previous inpatient at St. Mary's, my nursing staff didn't disappoint me. I was again spoiled absolutely rotten. The imaging team for my leak test obligingly went on the hunt to find a contrast that wasn't sweetened with NutraSweet due to a severe allergy and they THANKED me for being vigilant. Thanked me? Goodness! I thought I was being an overly demanding patient to read the label but I was instead thanked.

St. Mary's bends over backwards to ensure their patients are treated with caring, kindness, respect and the best in healthcare around. They celebrate the little victories with you. They rejoice in every step you take and they are there to encourage you when you least expect it.

Three medicines gone forever from my life as of the day of surgery, I'm losing more comorbidities every day. I feel healthy, vigorous, alive and happy—truly happy. I'm down 45 lbs. in 10 weeks. I've lost 10 dress sizes and I feel indescribably alive!

Would I do this again? You bet!

Would I encourage others to make good, sound decisions for their health and life? Oh yes.

Would I recommend St. Mary's to them? Without even thinking about it—yes!

- Marlis
St. Mary's Hospital     700 South Park Street     Madison, WI 53715-0450     (608) 251-6100
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