Kate N.

Surgery Date: 2015
Sustained Weight Loss: 120 pounds
Bariatric Procedure: Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

I was close to 300 pounds when I started the process and had surgery at 269 pounds. At no time did anyone at St. Joseph Hospital make me feel like I had an issue for having obesity. I never felt fat-shamed. I never felt like I was something ‘other’. At the hospital and with the doctors, that was never an issue. I spent four decades with people commenting, fat shaming and discriminating—people who battle obesity are used to that type of behavior. The staff did not bat an eyelash. I did not feel uncomfortable.

The doctors said, “Obesity is a disease. There are some behaviors you need to change, but there are other things out of your control. We are going to get that all in line.’

People think weight loss surgery is a magic bullet, but it’s really a tool. And you have to prepare for it and lose 10% of your weight first to prove you are serious. During the first year, the results are about 90% from your tool, and 10% you. In the second year, people start to get complacent, and your tool is only like 10% of it. Habits can come back. I regained during Covid from constant stress eating. You have to do a lot of emotional work, look at what you are doing, and break the habits you have.

No one should do this surgery without the preparation, and I had extensive education. It was a really great experience, and all the people I know who went through St. Joseph had similar experiences. Part of it is Dr. Hamamji. He is like the uncle or dad you don’t want to disappoint. He won’t yell, but he will fold his arms and say, ‘You need to eat less carbs.’ The staff love him, too, and the respect they showed for him reassured me. But on top of that is the hospital care. You can have the best surgeon in the world, but getting back on your feet afterward is important. The hospital staff in intake, pre-op and post-op were really great. I have a quirky, dry sense of humor, and they responded to that and met me where I was. Even at 4 a.m., everyone was Zen-like and talked in hushed tones. It was very calming.

All my experiences with the staff at St. Joseph Hospital were fabulous.