Thirty-one year old Carisa Friedman spent years on a weight-loss rollercoaster. From diets to diet pills to hypnosis and support groups, her weight would go up and down and so did her frustration.
“When I was younger, I didn’t gain a pound, but when I started having children, my weight reached over 200 pounds,” said Carisa.
Carisa’s weight issue reached its breaking point when she went with her husband and two children to Hershey Park. “I wanted to go on a ride with my son and they told me to get off because the seatbelt would not fit around me.” She adds, “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
A New Life Awaits
In September 2012, Carisa’s life began to change. She found the Center for Bariatric Surgery and Weight-Loss Management at The Valley Hospital and its Director Melissa Bagloo, M.D. Through a pre-op endoscopy, it was discovered that Carisa had stage 3 Celiac Disease and her intestines were almost completely atrophied due to the damage from the gluten allergy. Dr. Bagloo placed Carisa on a strict gluten-free diet. That December, Carisa underwent a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, a laparoscopic procedure that removes approximately 75-80 percent of the stomach. Carisa spent only one night in the hospital and did not need any pain medication. “Every day was better than the day before, and other than some soreness, I was not in any real pain. The care at Valley Hospital was like no other I have been in. I never met a hospital employee that wasn’t happy and pleasant to the patients. Dr. Bagloo and her staff are just wonderful and have become more like a family to me than just my medical team.”
Since the procedure, Carisa has lost 130 pounds and has since had another baby. She eats about 5-8 ounce portions of food with each meal. “I can have everything, but just less. One change is that I cannot drink while eating because it can cause discomfort and fills me up quickly, so I just modify. She also had to have her gallbladder removed due to development of gallstones which occurs in a small percentage of patients with significant weight loss. Regardless of making modifications and a few setbacks along the way, Carisa would not hesitate to have the surgery if she had to do it all over again. “Knowing that obesity leads to a whole host of medical conditions and diseases, I am confident this surgery will lead to better long-term health for me.”
For more information about Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery at The Valley Hospital, visit www.valleyhealth.com/obesity_surgery or call the Center at 201-251-3480. Free informational sessions and personalized consultations are offered.