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My family and friends love my new life and they cannot believe the new 'me'
Annie Meyer’s exercise partner is her son, Kody. She lost more than 100 pounds after weight-loss surgery.
At 5 feet 3 inches tall and 281 pounds, Annie Meyer struggled to keep up with the activity level of her young son, Kody. "I tried everything to lose weight, from doctor supervised diets to joining a fitness club. I was at my wits end! I am a very energetic person but as the weight kept adding up, especially after my pregnancy, I knew something had to be done soon. My health and life depended on it," she said.
Meyer had experienced a blood clot which required her to take Coumadin daily for prevention. After many discussions with her primary care doctor, especially about concerns for her health, Meyer decided it was time to pursue weight loss surgery. "I wanted to be there to see Kody grow up, to graduate and to get married. And I wanted to be there for my husband," she said.
Meyer, who lives in Braham, MN, made her first appointment with the Unity Hospital Bariatric Center in January 2008. "I just knew I was in good hands from my very first appointment with Sandy G., nurse clinician," she said.
Meyer has nothing but praise for the people who helped her during her weight loss surgery process. "Every step, through both the pre-surgical process and after surgery, everyone was great. Everyone was really supportive and informed. I really felt that they knew me as a person and cared about my success," she explained.
As a self-described rule follower, Meyer kept to the program guidelines, even losing more than her preoperative weight loss goal required. "I worked really, really hard," Meyer recalls.
"I remember Dr. Baker being very pleased with the amount of weight that I lost getting ready for surgery. I remember smiling to myself secretly knowing that he hadn’t seen anything yet. I knew the best was yet to come," she said. In May 2008, Dr. Jeffrey Baker performed Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery on Meyer so that she could get started on what she describes as her "real" weight loss.
Meyer appreciates the support of her family – and especially her son Kody, who has been her enthusiastic new daily walking partner. "My husband even started to change his way of eating and making good food choices for himself," she said.
Meyer’s hard work and determination truly did result in "real weight loss." Meyer continues to complete her annual visits with Dr. Baker and her nurse. "Everyone is just as supportive as they were on day one. I can call or email with questions and I get the answers I need when I need them," she says. "I know this program is not about numbers. It’s about patient success. It was about my success."
When asked about what advice she might offer to someone coming into the program, Meyer says she cannot impress enough the importance of doing your homework. She suggests learning about the types of surgeries and about the lifelong commitment it requires to be successful long term.
"You must make sure it is exactly what you want to do," she says. "You have to be mentally and physically prepared. Weight loss surgery is a life-changing experience and you have to WANT it. You can’t just want a quick fix. This is something that you have to be committed to, not just part of the time, but all of the time."
Meyer added: "For me personally, it has been so worth it. I love my new life. My family and friends love my new life and they cannot believe the new me. They see just how happy I have become, which brings them happiness also. I can participate fully in all of my life. This includes bike riding, sledding, walking for miles without ever running out of breath."
This year Meyer will be 40 years old and five years out from her surgery. She has maintained a 135 pound weight loss and her current weight is 146 pounds. Her BMI is 25.9. As for the Coumadin, that prescription has long been off of Meyer’s medication list. "My life change literally brings tears to my eyes," she says. "I feel beautiful about myself inside and out. This is why, when asked to label my journey in a word or phrase, I chose ‘reborn.’ I truly feel like I got a new life."