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A New Chance at Life: Jennifer’s Weight Loss Surgery Story

Last updated: March 7, 2024

ThedaCare patient Jennifer Langan underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery in 2019 after a years-long struggle with obesity. Here, she shares her inspiring story in her own words.

Choosing Health

This was my third attempt at having surgery. I’ve been overweight since puberty. I tried every diet out there on the market. I would lose weight and gain it back. The first two tries, I guess I wasn’t ready. I would start the surgery process and get so far and just quit.

I decided surgery wasn’t for me until about five years ago. I got cellulitis in my leg and was hospitalized for two weeks, then in a rehab facility for three months. I was diagnosed with lymphedema and lipedema, which is a fat disorder. At that time, I went to Mayo Clinic because I could barely walk. My legs were so large, I had been driving with my car door open. While I was there, they suggested I try having weight loss surgery to help with my legs.

I knew it was my time because I didn’t have a life. I was 525 pounds, and I was pretty much living in my bed.

Before and After Surgery

In December 2018, I started the process for surgery again. My insurance required a Center of Excellence hospital and program, which ThedaCare is, and a six-month supervised diet plan prior to surgery.

I’m glad for the process that ThedaCare has you go through because it helps you with any concerns or questions you might have right up until the day of surgery. You do psych evaluation, classes, and tests, all to make sure you are mentally and physically prepared. A few days prior to surgery, you get all the information you will need for after the surgery, including a vitamin regimen, food, follow-ups, and even free samples to get you started.

I had my Roux-en-Y surgery July 7, 2019, and never looked back. I still go to every in-person meeting at ThedaCare because it helps me stay accountable, and I do my yearly checkups.

There was still work to do after the surgery. It’s just a tool for you to help you in your journey. The surgeons, the nurses, anyone in the office — they’re all available to you. They’re easy to work with. They give you all the tools that you need. The support is there. It’s not easy, but if you’re ready for it, you can do it. 

Reflections Five Years Out

I probably wouldn’t be living for another 20 years if I hadn’t had the surgery. If I’d done it 30 years ago, who knows? I could have had a different life.

People are amazed at how much I’ve lost. I’ve pretty much lost two people. It’s my time to live my life now. I can do whatever I want to now. I don’t have to think about it: going out in public, eating at restaurants, going on a trip, riding in the car.

I don’t want to go back to the 525-pound person I was five years ago!

Ready to explore your own weight loss journey?

Tags: bariatrics obesity patient story Roux-en-Y gastric bypass ThedaCare Bariatrics Weight Loss Surgery

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