CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – A 54-inch waist. Paying more money for clothes in a size18 or 20. Watching the numbers on the scale climb higher than 400 pounds. Two failed rounds of in vitro fertilization.
Life used to be all about numbers for bariatric patients Amber Gossert of Waynesboro and Ricky Stoy of Chambersburg. Not anymore, though, thanks to bariatric surgery and continued support from Summit Health.
Gossert lost a little over 100 lbs. and Stoy has lost 229 lbs. In addition to shedding a combined 329 lbs. in the last four years, Gossert and Stoy have both shed the fears they carried with them for different reasons.
“It’s not just about the numbers anymore,” Gossert affirmed. “It’s about confidence. Confidence to do some of the things I may not have done because of the fear of what people may say. The comfort in wearing the clothes I want.”
Gossert had her bariatric surgery at the end of 2014 after two failed rounds of in vitro fertilization and three miscarriages.
“After the last round, the doctors said everything should have worked,” said Gossert, adding that doctors told her losing weight might allow her a better chance to carry a baby to term.
Stoy previously fixated on increasing age and agreed that for him, life after his surgery is no longer about a number. “Living a longer life,” he said of what helped prompt his decision to lose weight through bariatric surgery. Stoy said he knew he needed to do something if he wanted to live to be 60.
“Now, I’m 61 and I feel like I’m 16,” he said.
Prior to his February 2012 surgery, at over 400 lbs., Stoy was losing quality of life due to arthritis. Stoy also had a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure.
Post-surgery, both Gossert and Stoy practice more healthy, mindful eating and have adopted more active lifestyles. Stoy goes to Results Therapy and Fitness five days a week and Gossert is tracking physical activity regularly.
Gossert and Stoy agree that there are some misconceptions about bariatric surgery, especially regarding the ease of weight loss.
“People think it’s the easy way out,” said Gossert, who noted people don’t realize the thought bariatric patients must put into the logistics of eating and drinking.
“You can’t eat and drink at the same time,” she explained. “You can’t take some of the vitamins at the same time.”
Gossert added that bariatric surgery isn’t a permanent fix, either, unless patients change their lifestyles.
“It’s just a tool.”
Gossert also noted that while weight loss happens very quickly at first, the process stabilizes after a few months.
“When you stabilize, it’s just as hard to lose weight as it is when you try to without surgery,” she said.
‘Drop Your Drawers’
Both Gossert and Stoy said that the encouragement they have received from support groups as well as Dr. Richard E. Gorman and Bariatric Manager Jackie DeShong, both of Summit Surgical Group, has been critical to their success.
One of the annual ways Summit Health supports its bariatric patients and their weight loss success is through recognition at the recent “Drop Your Drawers” Fashion Show held earlier this month.
During the fashion show, Gossert, Stoy and four other bariatric patients showed off their weight loss by strutting their svelte selves with their “before clothes.”
“This ‘fashion’ show is such a great celebration of not only our bariatric patients’ initial weight loss, but the hard work they put in to maintaining their healthier lifestyles,” said DeShong.
For more information about the bariatric surgery options at Summit Surgical Group, call (717) 217-6800 or click here.
For more information about Results Fitness, call (717) 262-4650 or click here.