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Patient STORIES

Three years ago my younger sister got diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension. That was my "wake-up" call to do something or end up with the same diagnoses or worse. I have been morbidly obese my whole adult life and have been on just about every diet known. I had success losing weight, but not able to keep it off for long. It was getting to the point that I felt like I was getting a workout just taking a shower and I got short of breath walking any long distances. Not to mention my hips, back and legs hurting. I had researched weight loss surgery before, but not ready to make that drastic of a change. I saw Northwest Bariatrics advertised on TV and checked out their website.
  • Age: 47
  • Height: 5'7"
  • Highest weight: 330
  • Start weight: 321
  • Lowest weight: 155
  • Started in a size 26 jeans
  • Ended in a size 8 jeans
  • Surgery Dates:
  • Dec 21, 2005 Gastric Band
  • Dec 20, 2007 Lower Body Lift
  • Registered Nurse 22 years
I went to the informational seminar and scheduled a consult with Dr. Pennings and as the saying goes "the rest is history". Had my surgery on 12/21/05, joined a gym in February the next year. *After 2 years I had lost 149lbs and had a lower body lift. I can›t say that it›s always been easy, but Dr. Pennings gave me the "tool" to help me on this journey. Now there isn›t anything that I can›t do or at least try. I workout 5 to 6 days a week, and am training to run Bloomsday next year. I like to ride my bike and want to bike the Hiawatha Trail next summer. Planning on tandem skydiving next year with my niece for her 16th birthday. There are so many things that I want to do, like whitewater rafting, scuba diving, hiking and kiyaking. I have missed out on so many things because of my weight, that I feel like I want to try everything. I am now addicted to shopping and actually enjoy it. I can now fit into any seat anywhere and no longer need a seat belt extender when flying. I remember the first time I mowed the lawn and didn›t have to rest 3 or 4 times before finishing it. I went and called my Mom and sister, I was so excited. There have been many "firsts" that I have experienced since losing the weight. I wish everyone could experience the joy of doing all the little things that I couldn›t do when I was morbidly obese. Sorry that this is so long, hope this info works for what you need. Look forward to talking with you and scheduling time for the pictures. Thanks! Sincerely, Alynne

I am 55 years old and have been married to the same glorious man for 37 years. I spent the majority of my working career in health care in addition to raising a household full of active kids with a variety of hobbies. I “retired” 4 years ago and moved to the community that my husband’s work is located in. Not a good plan! My health and well being took a downward turn as my weight rose even higher. I had a couple of “aha” moments that I can attribute to my decision to have the LAP Band procedure that I had seen advertised. I went to work with “at risk” youth in a high poverty area. These children are an inspiration to me each day and they deserve support from someone who can give their best to them. I truly want to be one of those people. It does require being healthy in body and spirit to set an example for them. My grandsons, ages 5 and 3, believe that Nana can do anything! A year ago my 5 year old grandson came to me pleading to go on a roller coaster with him, because he was afraid to go alone. I knew I couldn’t fit in the car of the coaster and distracted him with another activity. The request weighed on my mind for a long time, though. I research the LapBand procedure with Dr. Pennings, went home for about 3 months to consider and then had the procedure on December 21st, 2007. I have never looked backed! My husband and extended family have always been supportive and have gone above and beyond through this weight loss journey. It has been a transition for them as well. *I currently have lost 120lbs, have reduced my medication for blood pressure to the lowest dose and will soon be off of it entirely, have delayed knee surgery and have increased my activity level by untold amounts. As you can see by the photos, my new passion is kayaking. My husband and I completed a 1700 mile motorcycle trip this summer , the students I work with have a connection with me as we work toward goals in our lives and without a doubt the best thing yet ... my grandson and I rode a roller coaster together complete with laughter, yelling and hands in the air. Hope this works for you Jeannette

For a few years I researched surgical options for weight loss but I believe to get to the point where you finally make the phone call is an emotional journey that is different for everyone. I was 39 and my emotional and intellectual journey led me to Dr. Pennings. I started taking inventory of the importance of certain things in my life and as I got older, the sheer thought of my mortality started coming into play. I wanted to make sure I could see my son graduate from high school, then college, get married and start having a family of his own. When I decided to be honest with myself and face the fact I may miss some or all of those things, and after trying for years to lose the weight and keep it off, it became clear I needed to seriously look at weight loss surgery as a personal option for me. After attending one of Dr. Pennings information seminars, I was convinced it was the road I needed to take to ensure a long, happy and healthy life with my family. Weighing in at 254lbs. was not an easy thing to face, but when I was finally ready to tackle my issues, the clarity and focus on my mission drove me to success. I started by losing 25lbs. before surgery; an emotional and physical commitment that gave my journey a jump-start. But it didn’t stop there. Every day since my decision to have surgery, I have had to work hard to lose and keep it off. Surgery is a fantastic tool, but it isn’t for the faint at heart. It truly does take a lifelong commitment and sheer tenacity to be successful not only for months, but for years to come. Now 15 months after my surgery, I still have to work just as hard every day; planning my meals and activities, eating healthy and exercising – but it has become a way of life. *At 130lbs., I am healthier and more physically fit then I have ever been in my life. I have chosen to remain very structured; writing down everything I eat along with the protein grams and calories, working out at least five days a week (step aerobics and strength training) and attending weekly support group meetings (the glue that holds it all together). Now I am training to run competitively in the spring. I’ll start at a 5K but plan on running in 10Ks in short order. So how has my life truly changed? I am actually living; I am active, out doing things with my family, volunteering more in my community… and the biggest difference is I have the energy to do it all. My family and I even climbed Mt. St. Helens this summer; an experience of a lifetime that we will now repeat every summer. Just a year and a half ago, it was hard to imagine myself jumping out of bed at 5am every morning and staying busy and active to well into the evening. And one of the craziest things believe it or not… I am now a dog owner! If you would have told me I would be a happy dog-owner prior to my weight loss, I probably would have laughed at you. With my excess weight I did not have the energy or patience to care and love a dog, but now Olive (my Pom-Chi) has become an integral part of our family and we enjoy everyday with her. I guess if I were to say one thing about my decision to have surgery with Dr. Pennings and to take this life-altering journey is it has profoundly enhanced my life.

My starting weight was 359lbs. *To date I have lost 160lbs. I work in customer service, and it was painful to stand on my feet all day. I also couldn’t buckle my seat belt in my car. I am happy to say I can now stand all day and can easily buckle my seat belt! I am absolutely delighted!


I grew up in good physical shape. I rode my horse pretty much every day that it wasn’t raining and in California that was quite often. I used to roller skate on my lunch hour at work every day that I worked, I would swim daily and water ski every chance I got. Once I started putting on weight I couldn’t get on my horse anymore, I tried to roller skate but my balance was so off that I couldn’t do it. When I tried to water ski I felt like my arms would be pulled out of socket trying to pull my huge body up out of the water. I just couldn’t do anything I love to do. I started spending every day sitting on my behind watching TV because that is all I could do without getting out of breath. The more I did this, the more weight I gained. My clothing sizes went from a 6 to a 6X! I couldn’t go shopping in any stores for clothes. I had to special order them from a plus size catalog. Even then they didn’t always fit me. My health was failing fast. Before surgery I was extremely agoraphobic. If you are not familiar with that term, it is fear of open spaces. I would stay inside my home for months at a time. Some days I would stay in bed. Every time I did step foot outside of my home to the store or something I would be made fun of and laughed at constantly. I felt so horrid about myself that sometimes I wanted to die. I just didn’t have any hope of ever getting healthy. I had sleep apnea so bad that I would wake up at night sometimes sitting up in bed. I also had high blood pressure and severe back pain.My back started to hurt so badly that I couldn’t walk. I felt that a wheel chair was truly just around the corner. I went to my Dr regarding my back pain, and she thought I may have to have surgery. She sent me to a surgeon that she knew could handle my huge body. She sent me to Dr. Pennings. When I saw Dr. Pennings, he decided that I didn’t need surgery for my back that physical therapy would get me walking okay again. He asked me if I had ever considered weight loss surgery. I told him that I had but I didn’t have any insurance to help pay the surgery. He felt very bad about that. I could tell that he really cared about people and had a heart for obese people. I made an appointment to go to a surgical information seminar. At the seminar I learned so much and decided that I needed to do this to save myself and get my life back. I signed up immediately for the surgery but much to my surprise, I had to lose weight before I could have the surgery because my BMI was 72, and in order for Dr. Pennings to do the surgery for safety reasons my BMI needed to be 60 or below. I felt hopeless again and devastated. Like the rug of hope had been pulled out from under me. Little did I know that Northwest Bariatrics had everything under control. They didn’t just leave me hanging to try to figure something out for myself. They had a weight loss program that they would help me with to reach my BMI level necessary for surgery. Northwest Bariatrics was with me every step of the way. They put me on a liquid diet that was monitored weekly with either a Dr. or nurse. I had support group meetings every week and education on exercise and nutrition. My BMI finally got to the right level and I was ready for my life changing surgery. I had my surgery on 8-29-07 and weighed 407lbs that very day. *I came out of surgery with very little pain. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have to use any of the pain medication that Dr. Pennings sent me home with. I was up walking around later on in the day of my surgery. I was treated with respect and such wonderful care while in the Northwest Specialty Hospital. The nurses were superior to any hospital I’ve ever been in. The beds and gowns were large enough for someone of my size to feel comfortable. I knew my new life had started when I took my first step after surgery. Instead of sitting on the sofa watching TV, I am outside raking leaves for the first time in 20 years. Who would have thought a chore like that could make you feel so happy and proud to do! I mow that lawn each week. I used to have to hire someone to come and vacuum my house now, I vacuum and clean my own home. About 3 weeks ago I got to ride a horse for the first time in 23 years! It was amazing. I love to go places with my husband now instead of waiting in the car or at home for fear of someone making fun of me or laughing at me. My life has changed so much for the better. I am looking forward to water skiing again for the first time in 23 years this coming summer of 2009. I was able to get a job for the first time since November 2000 because I no longer suffer from agoraphobia. One of the biggest things that most people who have never suffered from such a severe case of obesity wouldn’t ever think of or understand is being able to do the little every day things like: fitting into any chair, wearing any seatbelt, bending over to tie your shoes, shaving your legs, putting a towel around you after a shower, fitting in the bathtub with plenty of room on all the sides of you. I could go on and on about the wonderful new life I now have and how much things have changed for me since surgery.

Getting gastric bypass surgery was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Dr. Pennings gave me the tools to change my life forever. I realize the rest is all up to me and I have the drive, motivation, etc. etc. to get the small person that dwelled inside of me out and I have done well. *I feel fantastic and have lost 197lbs in just 17 mos. I have 3lbs left to go to reach the 200lbs I wanted to lose. I exercise alot and will keep this new healthy lifestyle for the rest of my life. It still takes determination, willpower, mindset and many other things to make it work, but I know now I can do it. I was 64 yrs. old when I started my journey and will be 66 years young when I go for my final 18 mos. checkup with Dr. Pennings. I love to go to post op group and try and help out others as best I can and always learn something new myself. I just recently had a total knee replacement. I walk without a limp and am way ahead of all those that have had the same thing done at the same time. Because of my weight loss and excercise program which I have been doing at home, I will have my other knee done in record time. I cannot believe the difference in my appearance and also the fact that I have so much energy I can’t even sleep at night. It was so fun to go from a 5X to a size 8-10 that I can’t even believe it! This all seems surreal to me, but I am enjoying it immensley!
*Results may vary from person to person.