Monday, April 28, 2014

My Secret

I have a secret.

I’ve kept this secret for about 6 years. 

Why so long? I was embarrassed. I didn’t want everyone to know that I’m not perfect (because as far as you know I’m perfect, right?)
It’s something that I think 9/10 people struggle with.


It’s no secret I’ve always been on the heavy side. But once hormones kicked in it got out of control. I entered as a freshmen in high school around 150, senior year I was almost 250.
Now some of you are probably thinking “why didn’t you do something earlier?”

Senior year at my highest

I did. 

Sophomore year I tried South beach diet for 4 months. I kept gaining.

Then we decided to see a nutritionist. She mapped out for me to eat 900 calories a day. 900. Have you ever tried to eat just 900 calories in one day? Try it. That didn’t last long as you can imagine.  But I kept seeing her for about a year, continuing to (slowly) gain weight.

That summer I went to camp Shane (we call it camp shame), it was a weight loss camp. You were given 1000 calories a day and exercised like crazy. A typically person was supposed to lose 10-15lbs in 3 weeks… I lost 3lbs. The director of my age ransacked my bunk because the only way I could not lose weight had to be I was cheating. When she found nothing, she said I must be hiding food somewhere else.  

Then we tried Jenny Craig a few months later; same story. 

Junior year I started Weight Watchers and did that for 9 months, in that 9 months I lost 5lbs.
During this time I was lucky enough to only develop mild diabetes. 

My parents were at a loss. 

Then my mom heard of this thing called a Lap-band. A lap-band is exactly what it sounds like. A band around the top of your stomach, this constricts the stomach so you cannot eat as much, and you don’t get as hungry. 

How the Lap-band looks

We researched and decided to attend an information lecture.
After the lecture we scheduled a consultation. A few weeks later I came back. This was the first doctor’s office I wasn’t judged at. I wasn’t told “it’s all your fault” or that “I just have to work harder.” Since I was 18 and had done several other weight loss programs, insurance would cover the surgery.

At the consultation I met Dr. Robert Pinnar and his PA Paul Marino. While Dr. Pinnar eventually retired, Paul has been with me since day one.  He's the one I saw every visit and who always (and still does) greet me with a cheerful "Hello Kiddo!" (I was one of his youngest patient in the beginning) even if I was not being the most obedient patient. Paul has assisted in everyone of my surgeries, seen me at every visit, and done something not every doctor does. He cares, he cares how I do, not how is stats look or cut patience short because he's running late, he takes the time to get to know each patient as a person.
Paul Marino, PA

A month later I got my lap band.

 With the band there is a port that the doctor can access with a needle to add or subtract saline solution out of the band. Making the band tighter or looser. 

I quickly started losing some weight. As I started to lose some weight, I could start exercising more. Which made the weight come off even faster.

So what was the difference?

I was given a tool that made it possible for me to feel satisfied with a normal (or smaller than normal) size portion. 

You know how you feel when you have to fast for blood work? You’re starving, you feel like you could eat everything and anything, even the table if you need to. Now imagine feeling like that all the time. 
How I felt when I was starving pre- lap band

With the lap-band I was perfectly happy on 700ish calories.

How I felt when I was hungry with the lap-band

When I came home for USU I had hit my goal weight. I was 145 Paul and I agreed that was the perfect weight for me. I was eating well and exercising regularly. 

Then I got pregnant.

30ish weeks pregnant

My doctor’s policy for pregnancy was to deflate the band (take out all the saline solution).
So I gained 45lbs while I was pregnant. Which I thought wasn’t terrible, about 25lbs on that was being pregnant. The other 20lbs was Julia indulging on every craving that came.

My lap-band surgeon had closed his practice, but Paul had joined another one. So I went to see Paul, I scheduled a barium swallow (x-ray) to check the lap band. 

The x-ray didn’t look like it should. The band should be at a slight angle. Mine was a flat line and had moved over the stomach. I was told the most likely cause was Kelli kicking and squirming around, apparently this happens to 1 out of 3 patience.

So now what? 

I had it removed. Simple surgery.

Because of my past I was eligible for something else called the Gastric sleeve. Picture that funny circle part of your stomach, they cut that off. This makes the stomach look like a banana or a sleeve. 

How my stomach looks now

This limits you’re food intake, and also removes the hunger hormone (the hormones that make you feel hungry.) Another big plus is you don’t have to go to the doctor as often, with the band you go about once a month, with the sleeve after a year you go once a year for a follow up.   

The sleeve had been used to help patience lose weight to qualify for the bypass surgery. But they were finding that patience who had the sleeve usually didn't need bypass. 

So the bands are no longer being done, now they are doing the Sleeves.
So three months later I got “sleeved.” 

Many Sleevers buy this little pillow as a reminder of the choice they made, and a way to explain to people what they had done.

I feel like I should note, many people asked me if I was scared to have surgery now that I had a child. Weird thing, I wasn’t. I had so much faith in my doctors I didn’t have any fears. 

Because this was my 3rd surgery at the same hospital many people knew me. I asked the nurse that was taking me back to hold off on the loopy stuff. I wanted to check out the OR.

 I found it so fascinating, I kept asking questions and trying to point (it was too cold for me to really move). Then the scalpels came out and I was quickly ready for the loopy stuff. 

Again the surgery went off with out a hitch. I did have to spend an extra night due to high heart rate. But again, I knew I had Paul behind me so I wasn’t nervous.   

I’m now about 15lbs away from my goal weight.

I continue to be grateful that I could get this tool to help me maintain a healthy life style. Because of this I can be that mom that can run around with her children and that wife that can go on that hiking double date. 

My goal isn't to be a size two and running marathons, I'll settle for being comfortable in my own skin and able to keep up with my little monster, I mean child. ;)

Wild and she knows it

So that’s my big secret. 

Questions and comments welcome.


  1. Hey that's great! Glad you are comfortable being you! My sister had lap-band and has never had any complications going on 10+ years. It really worked for her too. Whenever I think of weight loss surgery - I always think of this scripture Mark 9:47: "47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire." I guess the same thing could be said for a stomach? Been fun going with your husband to the temple. He's a really good guy!

    1. Nick, I guess I did literally "cast out" part of my stomach. Hahaha, I loved my Lap-band but once it moves it will more than likely move again. A risk I (and my doctor) was not willing to take. Troy has loved going to the temple with you guys! :)
      And I'm sorry I didn't realize this was you!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! You explained the hunger and dieting in a way I've never thought of it before.

    We should play when you are done with finals. Are you doing any school this summer?

    1. Thanks!! I am taking summer classes, :( But I have a break May6-18 :)

  3. OH, and I am jealous of you finding a doctor like that. One who listens and cares and stays with you through your health journey.