CHAMBERSBURG – Weight was once a heavy topic for Amber Gossert of Waynesboro and Ricky Stoy of Chambersburg.
Over time, Stoy’s waist expanded to 54 inches. Gossert paid more money for clothes in a size18 or 20. Stoy watched the numbers on the scale climb higher than 400 pounds. Gossert endured the heartache of two failed rounds of in vitro fertilization.
Life used to be all about numbers for Gossert and Stoy. 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., 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,” explained 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.
He’s now surpassed that goal.
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 healthy, mindful eating and have adopted more active lifestyles. Stoy exercises several 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 noted that bariatric surgery isn’t a permanent fix, either, unless patients change their lifestyles.
“It’s just a tool.”
Gossert added 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.
Both Gossert and Stoy said that the encouragement they have received from support groups as well as Dr. Richard E. Gorman of Summit Surgical Group, has been critical to their successes.