UNC Health Care

Vicky’s Story Part 3: The Catalyst

Vicky Coerper, a Rex bariatric surgery patient and Rex co-worker
Vicky Coerper

Post by Vicky Coerper, a Rex bariatric surgery patient and Rex co-worker. Vicky had bariatric surgery 5 and half years ago, and is writing about her journey through this blog series in order to share her struggles and triumphs on her path to good health.

Vicky in December 2004
Vicky in December 2004

One day I was sitting at home watching daytime television when the Rex on Call TV show came on and the topic that day just happened to be Weight Loss options at Rex Healthcare! It was an interview with one of our surgeons who explained Bariatric and Lap band surgeries and how they could help someone looking to lose a lot of weight. That was me. I sat there enthralled and totally thinking they were talking directly to me. I didn’t act on it right away, even though I wanted to because I was unemployed at that juncture of my life, but I tucked the thought away in the back of my mind.

Several months after beginning my career here at Rex, I thought again about the interview with the surgeon when I saw an advertisement regarding an information session being held in the hospital, and invited my husband to come and join me.

Vicky and her husband Steve
Vicky and her husband Steve

The meeting was incredibly informative and they answered the questions we had-  thus began my weight loss surgery journey. My husband was so excited about the possibilities as well, excited that I could actually be healthy. Just thinking of all the diseases and complications I could face from carrying around so much excess weight was scary.

I was already being treated for high blood pressure and was on medication for that. I suffered from acid reflux and would often wake up with my throat burning and not able to breathe. In addition I had sleep apnea and had to wear that ‘Darth Vader’ like contraption to keep my throat open so I could breathe. I had terrible pains in my knees and in my lower back, and my feet often hurt from carrying too much weight. That is just the short list of some of the issues I faced daily from being over 300 lbs.

I loved the meeting because everything you had to do was laid out and explained from day 1. I understood the need to see a variety of doctors during the pre-surgery phase, the need to gather information from my family doctor justifying why I needed the surgery, documenting what I had done in the past to try to lose the weight.

4 of Vicky and Steve's 5 granddaughters
4 of Vicky and Steve’s 5 granddaughters

I actually could envision increasing my odds of getting to spend more time with my family, and in particular, with my granddaughters. This picture of 4 of our 5 granddaughters is the major catalyst for clinching my decision to have the surgery. I wanted to be around to watch them mature as they blossomed into beautiful young women!

That thought, the TV show and the initial orientation meeting were the catalysts I needed to get me moving toward my goal.

I actually think I let out a sigh when I left the meetings because I finally felt like I was making the right decision toward a healthier lifestyle.