LapBand to Gastric Sleeve
'Never again will I be told “No – you can’t do this activity because of your weight”'
Cristina | December 2019
I grew up a skinny kid, always active in sports, riding bikes, running around. I could eat anything I wanted and still remain skinny. I was teased often by how thin and sickly I looked at times. When I met my (ex)husband I went on birth control – Depo Prevera – and gained over 100lbs in a year. I was desperately working out and trying to eat better, to no avail. I went off the medication but by then the damage had already been done. I lost all hope and resigned to being big.
My greatest struggle was my emotions. I was depressed which made me eat more, which made me gain weight and become more depressed. I lost hope and belief that I was worthy of anything or anyone. I stopped believing that I could ever be thinner. I would go through stages where I was motivated – would try a new program or diet – but would ultimately quit and gain more.
I think I held myself back mostly with my self-doubt. I began having back problems and shortness of breath which made exercising even more difficult. Also, I am an extremely picky eater – so often the diet plans would be for healthy food that I did not like. I had tried aerobics, step aerobics, swimming, T25 BeachBody videos, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, hypnosis, Atkins diet, South Beach diet, basic counting calories/fats, and many others.
After having the LapBand for about 10 years, I was tired of dealing with the constant food “getting stuck” pain or throwing up. My weight was getting higher and higher and I saw myself getting close to my pre-LapBand weight. I was yo-yoing up and down, really trying to exercise and eat better, but could never get below 200lbs.
During a trip to Jamaica I was denied the ability to scuba dive because my blood pressure was too high - 3 days in a row they told me no. So I cried, ate and drank while others were out having fun. Within a couple of weeks of getting home I noticed the “stuck” pain and the throwing up was getting worse. It got to a point where I couldn’t keep down water and I was afraid that I had a slipped band or something worse. So, I looked up PSSC – who is now Eviva – and made an appointment.
I was hurting, dehydrated from not being able to keep food or water down, extremely worried that something was wrong with the band or my stomach and I was depressed, feeling like I was a failure. I hadn’t gone in to PSSC (Eviva) for close to 10 years to properly care for my LapBand.I feared what could be wrong. I was introduced to Dr. Stewart who was so kind and caring. He went over my options and explained everything very thoroughly. I chose to have the LapBand removed and have the VSG done.
Eviva (PSSC) has always taken good care of me. They listened, never judged, and provided options that I never knew existed. They offered support when I never received it in the past. I was never made to feel like a failure and in fact with the Eviva team I finally felt that I could be successful.
On February 28, 2018 I had my Sleeve performed. I was told in pre-op how much time to expect off of work, what my aftercare would be like, and they made sure I had someone to help me at home. When staying overnight at Eviva, the nurses were attentive and helpful getting me to walk, administering pain meds, and keeping me company.
My appointments over the next few weeks and months were great. Dr Stewart and my nutritionist were more than just medical professionals, they were my support – physically and emotionally – as I worked towards recovery. My heaviest before my LapBand was 254 lbs (5’ 3/4”) and had a BMI of 42.3. the lowest I was with LapBand was 201. My pre-op weight before the VSG was 234.4 with a BMI of 39.0.
I currently am at 170lbs (BMI of 28.3) which is down 84lbs from my heaviest but my lowest was 146 (BMI of 24.3!!) which is down 108lbs at the time of my skin removal surgery. My goal is to get down to 135lbs. I recently had some medical issues (not related to wls) and used the stress as an excuse to eat badly and put on some pounds. I could have easily been back up over 200lbs.
You have to remember that the Sleeve is a tool and you still have to work for your health. This is a lifelong journey and it will have ups and downs. I am still learning how to use my tool, and train myself to eat for fuel – not emotions. These past few months have been a huge test and although I put on some weight, my Sleeve has kept me on track overall.
Medically - I am no longer considered morbidly obese. I do not have sleep apnea anymore, nor do I have to take high blood pressure medication. My back pain from a degenerated disk is almost gone. Physically - I look skinny and have a ‘healthy glow’ (according to friends). I can wear clothes that “don’t hide” my belly and can actually buy for fashion. Mentally - I have energy and actually want to be active.
The best part is that I love myself for the first time in over 25 years. I’m more uplifting not just to myself but to those around me. I’m happy to be alive. I want to share with everyone – not to make them feel they must take this path, but to instill belief that no matter what they choose, they are worth the effort it takes.
I would say to the others considering weight loss surgery to not be scared. You are not a failure for considering this option. You will be well taken care of, loved, and encouraged. But more than that – you have the power within yourself to be successful! Believe in yourself – You are worthy. Be strong and continue for your health and your life. There will be ups and downs – it isn’t easy physically or mentally – but the journey is the reward! Love yourself along the way and you’ll realize that it really isn’t all about the weight – its about finding yourself again. Your life is so wonderful, and YOU DESERVE IT!
"I’ve had people who’ve known me for years walk right by me and not recognize who I am!"
Shelly | November 2019
I’ve always been heavy, as far back as I can remember. I think I went on my first diet (old school Weight Watchers) when I was 11 or 12. It was really tough being significantly overweight as a child and as a teenager – it affected my self esteem, my confidence, it really affected who I became as a person. Over the years I lost some weight, gained it back, lost it again, gained back more. Over and over again. I had actually lost about 100 lbs in my early 20’s but managed to let it all creep back on over a few more years and the battle raged on! I did every “program” out there – many stints with Weight Watchers, TOPS, Atkins and they all worked…until I stopped following it which always happened at some point and the weight would come back.
Everything else with life was great – I have an awesome supportive loving husband, 3 great healthy smart kids, a fulfilling career, I just could never win the weight battle. I thought about having weight loss surgery for years and years but was scared of the thought of such a permanent change. I beat myself up about letting my weight get to such a place that I was even considering something as drastic as surgery, Yes, I watched every episode of My 600-lb Life at least 3 times and could identify with every patient on that show!
The highest I ever weighed myself at was around 275 lbs and I’m 5’4”.
Two things triggered my decision to finally make the move – my Dad passed away after a 2 year fight with lung cancer and I turned 50 not long after that. It hit home for me that none of us have much time on this world and it was time to make some changes so I could get the most out of the life I have left
I finally made the decision that I was going to have surgery – I just needed to find a surgeon. I’m Canadian and the programs offered in Canada have very long waiting times (around 2 years) – this was not the timeline I wanted so I searched for options in the Seattle area which is the closest US city to where I live...and I found Eviva.
I was excited to make my first call and schedule my remote consult at the beginning of August 2018 – I received clear instructions on all the information/tests/bloodwork that was needed to ensure I was a good candidate for surgery and the day after that call I got to work getting everything done. Once all the results were back and everything was ok I was able to schedule my surgery for Sept. 11 and set up my pre-surgery visit with Dr. Landerholm. He answered all the questions I had and helped me accept that my inability to lose the weight and keep it off wasn’t a failure of my will or intelligence or strength. Years of yoyo dieting and my genetics made it really difficult if not impossible to lose weight without some help – and this was the help that worked. I always knew that my battle was harder than the average “thin” person, but it was good to hear it from a doctor! He made me feel very comfortable with my decision. Dr. Landerholm performed the LapSleeve procedure on me (and repaired a surprise hiatal hernia) on September 11, 2018 and everything went smooth with no complications or unexpected problems.
I was very worried about being nauseous after surgery, but I didn’t even feel a twinge. There was some pain from the incision sites but that was it. I went back to Canada the next day and sat on the couch for about a week (walking a bit throughout the day of course). You are definitely exhausted as your body heals but every day it got better, and I went back to work 10 days after surgery at my desk job.
I weighed 250 lbs at my first visit to Eviva so consider that my starting weight even though my highest was about 275 lbs. After my 2 week low carb diet (I was so happy to not have to do 2 weeks of liquids like some other programs do!) on the day of surgery I weighed 243 lbs. Now at just over one year post op I weigh 160 lbs…yup that’s 90 lbs gone from my starting weight in and 115 lbs from my highest. When I had my first call with Eviva I said my goal was to be around 180 which at the time seemed like a dream…I am amazed that I’ve been able to get to 160 and am still losing slowly. I was wearing size 20-22 clothes and now I’m into size 10’s and even the odd size 8!! I haven’t been this small for 30 years and that was after I had lost 100 lbs! I’ve had people who’ve known me for years walk right by me and not recognize who I am (that’s almost embarrassing), I’ve had a stranger from my building who works in a different office come up to me out of the blue and tell me their office has been watching me lose and that I look great (also a bit weird ha!).
Starting in January 2019 I joined a gym and have been strength training 2-3 times a week since then. I go to yoga and I even joined a running group to train for a 5K race in November! This is the biggest change from my “old life”. Exercise was way too hard and I hated it! It is still a challenge but it is possible. I am now the most fit I have ever been and I’m 51 years old. In October 2019 I went sturgeon fishing and I never once worried about fitting into a life jacket or the hip waders! I am a normal sized person and it’s hard to believe!
For anyone who is considering surgery:
- Weight loss surgery does not make losing weight easy, but it does make losing weight possible. I still need to make the right choices every day. There is no food that makes me feel sick or have pain.
- Surgery doesn’t do anything about changing your brain – it only changes your digestive tract. Your relationship with food needs to change to be successful. The surgery will help you especially at the beginning but it is up to us to keep that going.
- Don’t be afraid that you will “never live a normal life again” because yes, you will.
- Having surgery is not a failure, it’s not embarrassing or something that you need to be ashamed of doing.
- You won’t lose weight every week, even if you do everything right. This fact annoys me and can derail me pretty easily! Patience is required.
- Lastly, I highly recommend Eviva. I have been perfectly happy with the process and aftercare!
Gastric Bypass Surgery
"Life is simply 110 percent better"
Denice | October 2019
My story begins at the age of 7 when I was placed on my first diet. I was a plump girl who liked to eat sweets. This first diet and the shame I felt from my family imbedded me with the “fat girl mindset.” Ever since, I felt as if I was always the heaviest girl in the room, even when it wasn’t true. My self-image was tainted from this point on.
During high school, I managed to keep my weight in check by participating in sports and using diet pills. However, my weight ballooned after graduation. I tried every fad diet that came along. The only one that I had some success with was the Diet Center in my mid-twenties. I dropped 88 pounds and weighed about 115 at my smallest; finally, I felt normal. Unfortunately, I had not learned the lesson of changing my mindset to keep the weight off, and I regained the pounds and then some more.
During my thirties and forties, I pretty much resigned to being overweight and did little to improve my health. I thought I was a lost cause, and I felt fairly worthless because of the weight and the stigma that comes with being overweight. I worked at a papermill; life wasn’t particularly exciting, but I was trying to make the best of it. At this time, the Atkins diet helped me lose 50 pounds, which was helpful for the job. However, I again didn’t keep it off because I didn’t change my habits.
My parents wanted me to have bariatric surgery, which was just becoming widely known. My response was a firm “no” because I foolishly thought I knew how to manage my weight problem. After all, I had proven I could lose weight, so I didn’t think surgery was necessary. Unfortunately, I had several work-related injuries, and two of them eventually caused the doctors to state I couldn’t return to mill. After 19 years on the job, I had to find a different way to earn a living. I know my size was a major contributing factor for the injuries
Being in your forties and having to reinvent yourself is a daunting task. Because I was using Labor and Industry benefits, I was enrolled for worker retraining at a local community college. One instructor took particular interest in my development and helped me in many ways to successfully rebuild my life; however, she also consistently brought up the weight issue. Here I was doing everything I could to be a star student, and my size was still a point of contention.
Yes, I was large, extra large to be honest. I wore a size 3x (24-26) at the time and felt I was about as wide as I am tall. Here is the thing: Don’t others realize obese people know they have a weight problem? After all, we live in our bodies. We feel the pain of being obese every single day. For years, I needed to use a seat belt extension if I went on a commercial airline. I had torn meniscus repair on both knees. At one point, I needed to use a cane because of knee pain. I used scooters at the grocery store and at the fair because walking was too painful from the surgeries.
Eventually, my size increased to needing to wear a 4x (28-30) in some clothes. I stand a little over 5 feet tall, so being that wide makes moving difficult. At my heaviest, I would seriously consider how badly I needed to use the restroom because I knew just standing would cause knee pain. I went on vacation and wheezed my way around to see the sights. My gait was more of totter, side-to-side, because my legs were so large that I couldn’t walk normally. Life was becoming too difficult to live.
Being obese wreaks havoc on the body. I wheezed because I had developed a serious condition called pulmonary hypertension due to having sleep apnea and being obese. I was on blood pressure medicine since I was 29 years old. I have an enlarged heart and was dangerously close to developing Type 2 Diabetes. Every single day I woke up thinking about needing to lose weight and how much I didn’t want to have the health issues that other family members dealt with. My lowest point at my heaviest was having my 80-year-old father taking care of me. I thought this is cannot be; I am supposed to take care of him.
The summer of 2017, I decided I had to make a change or I would be in a wheelchair. My ability to walk was that compromised. I saw a Facebook ad for Eviva and started investigating. I watched the videos and looked at the website. I watched more YouTube videos, and then I decided to make the call. I was immediately connected and had my consultation with Dr. Eric Harris on July 27, 2017, set before I could change my mind. I asked a trusted friend to go with me to my consultation, which was helpful. A few strong support people is extremely helpful for your success.
Dr. Harris assured me that obesity is a disease; this was the first time I had been told that. I wasn’t shamed and blamed. He gave me hope that I could change my life and improve my health. Dr. Harris explained the different surgeries and recommended Roux-en-Y gastric bypass because I had GERD.
That same day, I met with Lisa who coordinated my care. She made me feel welcomed, too, and Lisa knew exactly what my insurance would cover and how many visits I needed before having surgery. I discovered my cost for surgery and care would be affordable, which was the last barrier to my having surgery. In addition, I appreciated the personal phone calls from Lisa to organize my visits with the nutritionist and to set the dates for pre-op and surgery.
I challenged myself to lose 50 pounds following the supervised diet, which I accomplished. Surgery was March 27, 2018, and it was successful. The biggest challenge I had post-op was dealing with an unknown umbilical hernia. The staff responded to my calls for help, and another doctor covered my care since Dr. Harris was unavailable. Truly, the team showed compassion and was helpful to get the pain under control. If I hadn’t had the hernia, I believe my recovery would have been nearly pain free. The actual bypass surgery gave me little recovery problems.
The Eviva nutritionists educate you on what to eat, how much, and how often. This was critical information, and they really made sure that I understood the expectations. Following surgery, I appreciated checking in with the nutritionist to keep me accountable and to ensure that I was on track for a successful outcome. The first year, follow-up care is essential for your success.
To date, I have lost 176 pounds, and I am successfully keeping it off because I finally learned the lesson of changing my mindset to change my habits. This journey is a marathon, not a sprint. I am in this for life. My clothing has dropped ten sizes. Ten sizes! My mind is still catching up with the idea that I am wearing such small sizes. At times, I look at my clothes in awe because, even though I know they will fit, I have a hard time conceptualizing that. My mindset is still changing, and change takes time.
Summer 2019 was a glorious one for me. Dr. Harris is also a plastic surgeon, and he removed excess skin from my arms. I am very happy to have normal sized arms now; I no longer hide them in long sleeves and went sleeveless this summer for the first time in years. Also, I took a 16-day road trip and hiked 14 miles through three national parks. Hiking is a new hobby and doing that many miles was a breakthrough for me. Considering my lack of mobility before surgery, I am quite pleased with my walking and hiking. Also, I am happy to be able purchase clothing from any store and that my clothing expense has decreased because I no longer purchase from a specialty store. My ring size changed too! I went from a 9.5 ring size to a 6. My shoe size went from 8EE to 8M.
One of the best things about my weight loss is being viewed as normal sized and healthy. Many people have made comments about how healthy I look. I like being able to slide into a restaurant booth, instead of asking for an armless chair. The other best thing about my weight loss is that I have reclaimed my health. I truly thought I was headed toward an early grave. I stopped my medications the day before surgery and have not taken them since. My blood pressure is normal, and I don’t have GERD anymore. After losing 160 pounds, I quit using my CPAP machine because, frankly, it was a nuisance and disrupted my sleep. Recently, a friend asked me how I feel since this massive weight loss has happened; I feel as if I am in my thirties. The constant pain is gone! I can move and go places without worrying if I will fit the chair or if I can climb the stairs.
Life is simply 110 percent better, and I am grateful that I clicked on Eviva’s Facebook ad two years ago.
Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
“This surgery saved my life, I have the energy to live again!”
Stefani | Seattle, WA | September 2019
It’s been just 3 months since surgery and I feel amazing! Here is some of my story. My weight started being an issue in high school. I was very active in sports and other activities but still was about 20lbs overweight. My senior year is when the yo yo dieting battle started with my first “diet” plan. I was able to lose 20lbs but after I stopped this diet it came right back. So over the course of the next 35 years, that was my battle with food and my weight. Diets, pills, trainers...you name it, I most likely tried it. Over those years I also became a wife and a mom and forgot about me and my health. For me, it was all about caring for my family. I couldn’t keep up with my life. I felt busy and tired all the time and neglected my own self care. Over time I developed hypothyroidism, depression and chronic pain. I would try something new and lose 10-20lbs and then it would either stop working or I would give up and the weight would always come back plus some.
It was a vicous circle...I was too sick and tired to work out and stick to anything. About a year ago I thought I had finally found the answer...ideal protein! I loved the plan, the food and the coaching. I lost 25lbs and was feeling like I gained the control back. My body had other plans though. Suddenly, my hypothyroidism took control and I gained all the weight back and then some and my TSH went up requiring more meds. So that was it...I thought I was going to be this way forever. Over the years I have looked into surgery, attended seminars, talked to friends and strangers that had surgery trying to figure out which was best, but, because I didn’t have diabetes or any other serious co-morbidities, my past insurance plans wouldn’t cover surgery. In January, 2019 I began a new job and before I picked a benefits plan I called Eviva to see which one would cover surgery. I had seen their ads, Facebook posts and had friends recommend Eviva. From consultation to surgery took under 2 months.
I work in Healthcare Administration and am very impressed with how organized, efficient and compassionate everyone is at Eviva. I could have never done this without them. So, I am 3 months post op, down 37lbs and feel amazing. It was the absolute best choice for me to get the sleeve surgery. It saved my life in so many ways. I hike and walk and have energy to do life again. I am doing things I couldn’t have done pre surgery and I feel for the first time in a long time that I have a long healthy and happy future. I am not even half way to my goal yet but for the first time I am happy and feel in complete control of my body. In fact, I used to think about going home after work and what I would eat. Nothing would change these plans of mine. Now I have apps to tell me to eat and drink because I am not hungry and don’t even think about eating or drinking.
I wasn’t sure about sharing my story, but if I can even help 1 person be inspired then it was all worth it. Dr. Landerholm and Eviva gave me my life back and a much longer one at that.
"I never dreamed I'd be able to wear a bikini, but here I am doing just that!"
Kendra | Lake Stevens, WA
My biggest struggle prior to surgery was chronic back pain and lack of energy. I had two spine injuries that required surgery; my weight contributed to both injuries. I could barely make it up a flight of stairs without my knees hurting and feeling out of breath. There were so many things I wanted to do, but my size or weight would prevent me from doing so. My lack of self-esteem due to my obesity kept me from believing I could do the things I am currently doing.
I wanted to do outdoor activities, wear cute dresses and outfits, run races, and look good in a swimsuit, but couldn't due to my lack of energy and size. I loathed clothes shopping because hardly anything would fit and look good on me. It was hard for me to find glasses and sunglasses I liked because my face was too big.
Flying was the worst, I couldn’t fit well in the seats and I was almost to the point of needing a belt extender. I had tried the Atkins diet in the past, and lost weight, but would always gain it all back, plus extra weight. I felt like a failure, uncomfortable in my own body, and had resigned myself to being fat for the rest of my life.
I was just DONE with being fat. I just couldn't take it anymore! But I didn't think I'd ever be a WLS candidate due to my hypothyroidism (RNY or Lap Band doesn't allow proper absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication).
A friend of mine had told me about PSSC and about the Lap Sleeve, which allows for absorption of thyroid medication. Shortly after talking to her, I learned that my insurance would start covering weight loss surgery. I called Eviva the next morning and scheduled my consultation. They answered all my initial questions and I was very excited about my appointment. My consultation went very well, and I couldn't get started soon enough! For the first time ever, I had hope that I wouldn't be fat for the rest of my life.
My surgeons were absolutely fabulous during my entire journey. My after care was wonderful, it was the help I needed for every "now what?" or "is this normal", and definitely helped me stay on the "straight and narrow". I had several procedures with Dr. Harris after I had lost the weight. I could not be happier with the work he has done! He is a meticulous perfectionist, a true artist, compassionate, and truly cares about his patients. Everything I went through was completely and totally worth it!
I was sleeved February 12, 2014. I have lost 130 pounds! I have gone from a pant/dress size 22/24 to a size 0/2, and shirt size from 2XL to XS! My feet even shrank (size 10 to size 8.5)! I never dreamed I'd be this small. I never dreamed I'd be in a single-digit size for that matter, or be able to wear a bikini, but here I am doing just that!
When I'm shopping I laugh at the irony--I used to have to order a lot of my clothes online because the stores didn't have anything big enough to fit me. Now I still have to order most of my clothes online because the stores don't have clothes SMALL enough to fit me! I have GAINED confidence--the confidence to start a new business, participate in races, and to know I am worthwhile and capable of anything I put my mind to. I am stronger and healthier not only physically, but also mentally. I'll be 40 in a few months and feel better than I did in my 20's.
I would say to anyone considering surgery that it is the best thing I have EVER done for myself and one of the best decisions I've made, hands down. You are WORTH doing this for! You are given this one life, this one chance, and this tool (the sleeve) will help you live the life you have spent years dreaming of. You are worth being there for your family, your children, your future! Yes, change is scary, but without it we could never improve ourselves.
Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
"I have self confidence now and can be the active mother I’ve always wanted to be."
Cerissa | Snohomish, WA
I looked into the eyes of my precious little girl and knew that I had to make a major life change so I could be the mother that she deserved. I decided that now was the time. I made the appointment to start my process. I was told that my insurance didn’t cover Eviva, but I didn’t let that stop me, I changed my insurance policies and I started the journey of getting my life back.
“If you don’t do something to lose this excess weight you will not live long enough to see your daughter graduate from high school, get married or have kids. Don’t you want your daughter to have a mom?” This was the thought that made me realize that it was time to change my life. I will never forget that day in January of 2015 when I stepped on the scale and it read 405 pounds. How could this be? How did I let myself get to this point? In addition to obesity, I was battling depression, anxiety, self harm, I had a broken back, fibromyalgia and hyper mobility.
What was life like prior to surgery? Horrible, I was a couch potato and ashamed to show my face out in public and felt like my hubby and kid were embarrassed to be seen with me. I would hide from the camera and so I have no pics with my kiddo as a small child and with me.
Living my life and being involved in my kid’s life were almost non existent. My weight and size kept me from standing for more than 5 minutes, walking more then 50 ft, and fitting in seats that were not benches. I couldn’t be the wife, mother and person that I longed to be. I was ashamed and embarrassed of my self. I have tried everything that you can think of, WW south beach, slim fast, fasting, starving and purging myself just to name a few. The tipping point for me was seeing the scale read 405lbs 01/2015.
I looked into the eyes of my precious little girl and knew that I had to make a major life change so I could be the mother that she deserved. I decided that now was the time. I made the appointment to start my process. I was told that my insurance didn’t cover Eviva, but I didn’t let that stop me, I changed my insurance policies and I started the journey of getting my life back.
During my consultation I felt like there was finally a place that would be there to help me get better. It felt like they genuinely cared about me as a person and not just another patient. They wanted me to succeed!
I had my LapSleeve in October of 2016 and have lost 223lbs. From 405lbs down to 182. I went from a size 32 to a size 12. I have more confidence, and am more outgoing instead of hiding in the shadows pretending I’m invisible.
I have self confidence now and can be the active mother I’ve always wanted to be.
I have overcome so much these past years and I am in a spot I never thought I would be in my whole life. A place that I dreamed of. I am smaller than I was in 6th grade! It feels so surreal. I still look in the mirror and am shocked at the person I see looking back at me.
I would say to the old me that as hard as things have been, it is all worth it. You will learn how strong of a person you can be, you will gain strength and learn how to be the real you. You are teaching your daughter that no matter how hard things can be you will overcome it. To remember that you are not doing this alone and that you will have a whole group of people that will help you along your journey.
No matter how hard things get, it will be worth it. You will find a strength inside yourself that you didn’t know was there.
"When I first called Eviva I was 405 pounds"
Jonathan P. Dichter | Bothell, WA
At nearly 405 pounds and 37 years old, I was convinced my doctor was going to give up on me and tell me to go home and die. I was a single dad, struggling through a divorce, had battled obesity my entire life, and was now my highest weight ever. I was getting winded walking with my daughter through the grocery store. My back started to hurt when I tried to clean myself after using the bathroom. It was horrid. I was on three hypertension medications, two antidepressants, a supplement, and a crash course with an early grave. I’d tried everything you can think of over the years and had moderate successes. Hell, I’d even walked a few half-marathons! I’d lost up to 80 pounds in a go. Weight lifting. Weight watchers. Brown rice. Atkins. 30/10. You name it. I tried it. It worked. A little. And then didn’t - a lot. I was also struggling with some huge emotional triggers and issues that had come along with the divorce, losing a job, losing a parent, and more.
Stepping on that scale and seeing 400+ pounds for the first time in my life scared me senseless. I was terrified and resolved to do whatever my doctor and counselor told me to do. If they hadn’t already given up on me. Lord knows, I sure as hell had.
When I finally came to the decision to make the call and the consult and knew I was going to have surgery - I started finally feeling curious and hopeful. Not to mention TERRIFIED. I’d never had surgery before and was frightened of the whole process. The team at Eviva, and Dr. Landerholm specifically, put me at ease immediately and comforted me into letting my extroverted competitive side come out.
That consultation changed my entire life. I sat with Dr. L and listened to him tell me how the procedure worked. He was filled with such confidence and such caring. I work as a professional (attorney) dealing with client care, and I could immediately tell he was sincere. More than that, he wasn’t stuffy or jargon-y. He just talked to me. Like a friend would. We joked around a little even. When he asked me what my goal was, I decided to shoot for the moon. I told him I wanted to be on the cover of their success story binder.
Surgery day was nerve-racking because despite doing a ton of research, I was still scared. The staff, the anesthesiologist, and Dr. L (of course) put me at ease once again. My surgery went off without a hitch, and I was home within 12 hours and resting. I was on my feet nearly immediately walking and starting the recovery. The aftercare program was a huge part of how and why I chose Eviva. Their staff, both medical and surgical, as well as the Facebook group and support meetings have really helped keep me accountable and helped me meet lifelong friends and companions on this journey. Even my soulmate, if you can believe that!
When I first called Eviva I was 405 pounds - and today I’m 240.4. I’ve gone from a 4xl to a Large in most things and a Medium in a few others. I’d still like to get to 220 and am working on it. I’m off almost all medication and am feeling great. I’ve completed several running challenges (doing 10ks and Half Marathons on successive days) and written a book about my experience through this process called #SleeveLife: Losing Half of Myself and Finding the Rest. What excites me now is just the range of things I can do and consider doing - like buying off the rack - or going indoor skydiving - or fitting comfortably on theme park rides. So much “normal” stuff that people take for granted.
It is NOT a cop out to have surgery. It’s not easy and it’s not for wimps. It’s a tool and if you treat it right it can and will drive you towards success. I know you can do it because if I can - anyone can.
Weight Loss Surgery
“I truly believe having this surgery has saved my life.”
Tina Julian | Lynnwood, WA
A trauma as a child started a lifelong struggle with emotional and binge eating. In middle school I started the cycle of dieting. Over the years I tried so many different avenues to lose the weight: diets found online, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and medications such as Redux, and Phentermine. Each time I had some success but always regained the weight I lost, plus more, and never made it below the low 200s. Some of the biggest struggles were feeling hungry frequently and portion control. I was literally eating so much at one time that I would make myself feel physically ill.
I started having some serious health issues, and after years of visiting many different specialists I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Because of the pain and weight I could not be as active as I wanted to be, and I started gaining more weight. I was unhappy with how I looked and felt. I no longer wanted to take care of myself, dress nicely or do my hair and makeup. Trying on clothes was awful. I continued to go up higher in sizes, and nothing felt or looked good. I would constantly worry about whether I would fit in a seat such as on a plane, at a restaurant or concert venue and if I would bother the person next to me.
Finally, I reached a point I never thought I would: I weighed over 300 lbs. After a lot of online research and reaching out to several places, I felt like Eviva was the best fit for me. I was excited, yet very nervous, when I made my consultation appointment. When I had my consultation I felt like everyone was so friendly, helpful and patient in answering all my questions and making sure I understood everything clearly. I left feeling confident in my surgeon and Eviva as a whole in making sure that I was taken care of during the entire process.
My surgery went smoothly, and all the staff I dealt with were wonderful and communicated everything clearly with me. Dr. Harris is amazing, and obviously loves what he does. He makes sure to always answer any questions I have and has celebrated my achievements with me. The aftercare was wonderful. I felt supported and was given the tools that I needed to be successful with help from counseling, my nutritionist, the Facebook group and monthly support meetings.
I have lost over 161 lbs and have gone from a tight size 4X/28 to a size M/8. I have dropped my body fat from almost 57% to 23%. I haven’t been this small since I was just starting high school. I am still shocked at how much I have changed during this journey. I was able to get off my high blood pressure medication, I was able to stop using my CPAP and my fibromyalgia pain has significantly decreased. I am so much happier with how I feel and look. I can do so much more physically, and I feel so much stronger. I never even think anymore about whether I will fit in a seat somewhere anymore.
I am not hungry all the time and I have completely changed the way I eat and even though it’s cliché, I feel like now I eat to live instead of living to eat. One thing I am super excited to do that I would never have imagined before is to do the Bike MS over Deception Pass this year. I would say to the old me considering weight loss surgery: You will not regret this decision. You will feel and be so much healthier than you have ever been.
To anyone looking for help I would say Eviva is the place to look. Everyone has been knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and supportive. I felt like I was given the tools and support to be successful. I have seen so many stories of people that are given the surgery with little to no information and just tossed aside afterward, and it makes me so thankful that I found Eviva. Also, as a result of going through cosmetic procedures with Eviva & Dr. Harris I am feeling more confident and beautiful than I think I ever have in my life.
Medical Weight Loss
“I wanted to take control of the one thing that I could never control before.”
Sunny Larway | Snohomish, WA
“When I hit my thirties, my health started to catch up to my lifetime of carb binges and sugar overloads.” But it was a picture taken at Sunny Larway’s son’s birthday party that was the final straw.
Sunny had had it. “I had been overweight my entire life. I used to feel like I could hide the pain and sadness by wearing clothes that covered me up, rather than actually losing the weight.”
Sunny’s health began to suffer. Her gall bladder had to be removed and she suffered two extremely painful bouts of pancreatitis. “Being overweight made everything harder: getting pregnant, being pregnant, caring for an infant.” She remembered when she hit rock bottom. “I was looking at pictures of me at my son’s first birthday party and I didn’t even recognize myself. I couldn’t believe I had let myself get to that point. Pictures don’t lie.”
“I wanted to take control of the one thing that I could never control before. I surrendered to the fact that I needed help and made the call to Dr. Welcome, who had been my Ob-Gyn before she left her practice to pursue weight loss medicine.”
Over the next few months, Sunny worked with the Eviva nutrition team to design a custom meal plan. She learned how her body and mind works, which allowed her to stay accountable. “Dr. Welcome and Eviva gave me all the tools I needed to conquer every situation; they gave nothing but positive support every step of the way.” In less than a year, Sunny dropped 104 pounds. “I’ve completed multiple fun runs and even have an appointment with Eviva for some cosmetic work. Calling Eviva has truly changed my life.”
"I lost 210 pounds!"
Carrie Wilson | Bellingham, WA
When Carrie first came to us, she could only stand for 10-15 minutes at a time. Her weight was impacting every area of her life, and she was ready for a change. She came to Eviva, formerly Puget Sound Bariatrics, and was ready to take the next step. Working hand in hand with our staff, we helped Carrie reach her goals, and fulfill her dreams. As the weight came off, Carrie began to, "Start exercising, and start getting out there". She's gone through three wardrobes, and she plans to go through a couple more!
Surgical Weight Loss
"I have now completed 3 marathons!"
Katie Lundstrom | Lynnwood, WA
Katie’s weight loss journey began 14 years ago. She decided it was time to lose the weight she had been packing on since she was 11. Katie read up on the subject, bought some vitamins and a Tony Little's Gazelle and began her diet. She was very successful!
Except, she could never finish the journey. Every time Katie lost weight she couldn't reach her goal or maintain what she had lost. Before coming to Eviva, she had lost (and gained) over 500 pounds in the 12 years and she had been trying. She knew emotionally she couldn't do this again. Something had to change. This is when she reached the decision to have weight loss surgery. Since having surgery in June of 2016, we are pleased to announce she has lost 150 pounds. But, what she has gained is even better. Slowly, she is gaining confidence in who she is and who she is meant to be. Katie has become a runner with the last weight loss journey pre-Eviva, but losing the weight she has, and gaining her confidence has made her running journey so much better. She has now completed 3 full marathons with another in the books. She has fallen in love with Kayaking and plans to do more hiking in our beautiful Northwest. Katie’s new body even took her and her nephew to Universal Studios Orlando where they had a BLAST and never had to worry about fitting into a seat! Eviva has given her the life she had wanted for so long.
“We really felt like they had our backs—like true friends would.”
Scott & Jamie Jensen | Kingston, WA
Scott Jensen struggled with his weight for years. “It seemed every pound made it ten times harder to do anything about it.” But then he realized that he didn’t have to do it alone.
Scott Jensen had more to lose than a few pounds. His list of weight-related illnesses was long: he was prediabetic and suffered from sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). His blood pressure was all over the map. It seemed like too much to surmount. And, as a deputy sheriff, he knew being able to physically perform at a higher level could mean the difference between life and death, both for his coworkers and the public at large.
Scott’s wife, Jamie, had her own struggles. They had both tried “just about every possible way to lose weight”—but to no avail. Finally, they came to Eviva (then Puget Sound Surgical Center). After several months of personalized consultation, Scott and Jamie had their surgeries on the same day. Nine months later, they had lost a combined 190 pounds. “LapSleeve has proven to be the tool missing from our toolbox. The surgery gave us the opportunity to stay on course with diet, exercise, and portion control. And what a great benefit to have the support of the entire staff. We really felt like they had our backs—like true friends would.” Scott was even able to pursue a post-retirement career of personal and executive protection—a dream that wouldn’t have been possible before.
“This is the best thing we could have ever done for ourselves. Physically, emotionally, professionally: we look forward to every day and how to make the most of it. Our only regret? Not doing it sooner.”
All in. All for you. Altogether different.
You are at the center of a team devoted to your dreams.
We are the surgeons who pioneered the outpatient LapSleeve® procedure. Our board certified surgeons, physicians, and dietitians all working in concert in a program tailored to your story.