We’ve all had a similar thought as we cruise down the snack aisle in the grocery store: If I buy low-fat cookies, chips and crackers, I can eat more of them. But that mentality may not serve you in the end.
Anna Ferker (age 43) of Huntingdon Valley, PA, had gastric sleeve surgery at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill on June 30, 2020. She was interviewed about her experience on June 20, 2021.
What persuaded you to have surgery?
[It was] hard to walk upstairs; on vacation I was always huffing and puffing; when cooking dinner, I had to sit down after five minutes because my back started hurting.
It was physical and mental. I had high blood pressure, sleep apnea and [was] pre-diabetic. I didn't want to leave the house.
On choosing a surgeon (A friend recommended Dr. Keith Kreitz)
I just know how comfortable Dr. Kreitz made me feel in that first meeting. He made me feel very good about my decision. During that first appointment I definitely decided that I was going to do it.
Even post-op, [he was] never in a rush to get to the next patient. In my opinion, an amazing doctor and person.
Who helped you on your journey?
Dr. Kreitz and his team took great care…making sure that I understood the next step, what to expect, and making sure that everything fell into place. They handled all of my insurance; answered all my questions, no matter how simple; and made sure that my mind was at ease from start to finish.
The day of surgery, from the moment that I stepped into the hospital, I was greeted with a warm smile and put at ease immediately. The nurses were caring, supportive and very well organized. Dr. Kreitz came in smiling, excited and, as always, answered my same question over and over again.
After the surgery, I was greeted with amazing nurses that made sure that I was comfortable and not in any pain.
[In the months leading up to my surgery] I spoke a lot to the bariatric coordinator at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill. I first met her in person during my pre-op visit. She was one of the last people I saw going in and one of the first I saw coming out of surgery. She actually "held my hand" through the whole process.
My family was also very important in the entire process. They supported my decision to go through this process and made sure that I adhered to all the requirements. They joined me in changing our eating habits and our overall thinking about food. Post op, they made sure I was not over exerting [myself] and following all of the post-op instructions. [They made sure] I was getting up and walking, drinking my fluids, and they were there for moral support. They realized that this journey was not just mine alone to make.
How did bariatric surgery and the subsequent weight loss (85 lbs. to date) transform your life?
My life did a total 360. Everything is so much better, and I am so much happier.
In September, I started going to the park with my mom and began walking four miles, then five and then six. [As I lost weight] my physical activity was getting easier. It felt like a weight was literally lifted off my shoulders.
I was actually thinking about training to run a 5K. It's been a goal and an idea I have been having.
People have mistaken me for a teenager. I almost look better now than on my wedding day -- when I was 24!