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Weight Loss Surgery “best Thing” for Nurse’s Life

  • Patient: Janet Schrader
  • Date Submitted: Mar 23, 2023

“ Get your mindset and enjoy the process,” she suggests. “It’s life-changing. In my post-op with Dr. Taglia, I started crying. He changed my life.”

Looking back at her life, Janet Schrader can easily mark the times when she gained a lot of weight.

When she was 14, she moved with her family from San Bernardino to Lompoc and gained 20 pounds.

When she was in nursing school, she gained “a lot” of weight.

And when Covid struck and she was home, she gained 30 pounds eating food delivered every day to her front door.

At her highest weight, she was 317 pounds.

“Over the years, it got up high; it just ballooned up,” the registered nurse said. “Everyone was talking about (gaining) the Covid 15 (pounds). No, I had the Covid 30.”

A little more than a year ago, Janet decided to make a huge lifestyle change and undergo gastric sleeve bariatric surgery. Her primary care physician suggested the option to help her with a host of medical concerns.

“I had COPD really bad,” she recalls. “My knees bothered me. I was diabetic. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

She had some fears initially about undergoing surgery, having lost an older sister during an operation. To make sure she was ready, Janet took a test to ensure she had the right frame of mind and found out she was ready.

Initially, her physician suggested she have the surgery in Santa Barbara or Santa Maria. But Janet, an LVMC nurse for 22 years, had other ideas.

“I said, ‘Why can’t I do Lompoc?’ I wanted to stay home. If someone was going to take care of me, I wanted it to be someone I know. It’s family here.”

She decided to have Dr. Christopher Taglia perform the robotic-assisted surgery. In gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon removes about 80 percent of the patient’s stomach, reducing the amount of food that can be eaten. The remaining 20 percent of the stomach is configured into a vertical, banana-shaped pouch.

“I knew what was going to be going on,” the nurse said. “It was OK with me. I knew it was going to help me.”

When she scheduled the surgery, Janet weighed 279 pounds. The 59-year-old now weighs 182 pounds and has gone down seven pant sizes.

“I feel good,” she said post-surgery. “I used to be very skinny – 120 pounds, all fit. I got into nursing and I ballooned up. I’m shooting for 125-30. I would like to get back down to where I should be.”

Now, instead of eating by herself or ordering food delivery, Janet eats many meals with her sister and brother-in-law, who cooks.

“He tried to cook around what I needed to do,” she explains.

She currently works with patients who are considering bariatric surgery, and she has advice that’s close to home. She suggests looking at a variety of diets prior to surgery, to find something that works for the individual person.

“Get your mindset and enjoy the process,” she suggests. “It’s life-changing. In my post-op with Dr. Taglia, I started crying. He changed my life.”

She finds she now has more energy, and dances for exercise in her living room, holding onto dumbbell weights. She’s also been able to eliminate two prescription pills for medical issues that are now resolved, and she no longer has to inject insulin shots for diabetes.

“I think it’s a really good thing,” Janet said. ‘Surgery is not for everybody. It has its precautionary things. But it was the best thing for me.”