Setting a good example with active lifestyle choices
“I've started doing karate with my oldest son, two 90-minute classes a week. I do yoga on Sundays and then I walk or run every single day. My son and I ran a 5K together a few weeks ago,” she recalls, noting how much her life has changed over the last year. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could do that. I mean, I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs a year ago.”
“I've got to live a better life for [my kids]. I can't be sedentary; I can't be letting life pass me by while I’m standing on the sidelines. I need to do it for me, but for them too. And it's fun, you know? I do karate now with a bunch of teenagers,” she says with a laugh, “and it's awesome and I love it. And I’m a good role model, setting a good example.”
Weight loss before surgery encouraged but not required
Despite his program’s reputation for strictness, Dr. Havaleshko points out that it isn’t constrained by requirements for pre-surgical weight loss, which many programs demand of patients to enroll.
“There is no data that supports a need for losing weight prior to surgery. We ask them not to gain weight — it shows that they are taking it seriously and following our recommendations, but there's no data to support such a requirement. Some programs say ‘you have to lose 10% of your weight before surgery,’ but that just delays the surgery, delays your help to those patients who need it the most.”
Dr. Havaleshko says that all of his patients succeed to an amazing degree.
“From what I’ve seen in my patients — and I've done about 1,500 robotic surgeries in the last 4.5 to 5 years… they all become healthier and lose weight. Patients usually lose between 60 to 97% of their excess body weight. Ms. Feyler is a perfect example of our success.”
Accessing the online support group for ongoing weight management
“That program and his team, they're amazing,” says Carrie. “The way that they take care of their patients, the way that they follow you through the bariatric surgery program. If I have a question and I get a message in, I have an answer almost immediately. Doctor's offices usually take about 48 hours to 72 hours to respond. I’ll get a response from the program team within a half an hour. They care about us. They really, truly do care about us as people and not just patients.”
Carrie has also been a big part of the center’s online Facebook community, as an initiate, a mentor and generally a group-minded supporter who has come to deeply enjoy ongoing challenges and mutually encouraging relationships that she’s developed over the past 18 months.
“The vulnerability and the honesty, people sharing on there is just amazing,” she says.
“Everybody's learning from each other, everybody's supporting each other. Another patient posted an exercise challenge to people for December and March, and then I said to her — and I didn't know her besides being on these challenges — I said, ‘let me take April.’ So, I ran a challenge through April, made daily posts and managed everyone posting back and forth. And now she and I have become very good friends.”