It’s not something most people look forward to, but Erin Castanien couldn’t wait to step on the scale at the doctor’s office. The mom of four young children in her 30s decided to have the surgery after years of health risks related to her weight. ProMedica general surgeon Patrick White, MD, FACS, says diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea commonly go away after the surgery, but there are other benefits, too.
“Most of the patients we see have been trying to lose weight for decades,” said Dr. White. “When they finally have a way that’s going to work for them, it’s a very emotional time for them, and it does work.”
Erin is certainly proof of that. She’s lost 100 pounds in the six months since the surgery. As a hairdresser who works on her feet all day, Erin can’t believe how good she feels.
“When you’re behind that chair and you’ve got that belly, you’re further away from them and you’re stretching further to reach their head,” said Erin.”So I have no shoulder pain, no arm pain…I’m not tired. I have more energy than I’ve ever had in my life and that’s a big difference, too.”
But some of the biggest changes for Erin are things you can’t easily see, like self-confidence and self-respect. Erin is proud to set a healthy example for her kids, and says the surgery has done wonders for her emotional well-being.
She explained, “I used to feel invisible. One of my clients said I even walk different now. I’ve never had self-esteem in my entire life and finally buying clothes is fun. In the morning, I’m not looking in the mirror and ignoring myself.”
A lot of her customers, even her friends, don’t recognize her when they see her these days and Erin willingly shares her health journey with anyone who’s interested.
“I’m very honest about it,” said Erin. “I know some people want to hide that they had surgical help, but it’s a great tool. It’s not the easy way out. It’s a lifestyle change. You have to change your eating habits and you have to exercise or you could gain it back.”
Dr. White is pleased with Erin’s progress and will continue to monitor her weight loss and health markers for the next several years, hoping Erin will stick with these new health habits for the rest of her life.
“We want them to take their vitamins and minerals and follow the diet and if they do that and exercise, they’re going to do well,” said Dr. White.
“I have no regrets; no regrets,” said Erin. “OK, I do have one regret: I wish I had done it a long time ago. I really do.”