Highest Weight: 204 lbs
Current Weight: 167 lbs.
Goal Weight: 145 lbs
Bariatric Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Date: June 2021
Largest Size: 14
Current Size: 8-10
Weight related diseases: Heart problems (afib, tachycardia), sleep apnea, pre-diabetic, high blood pressure
Life Before Surgery
Eleven years ago, Sylvia was not a weight loss surgery candidate. In fact, she was very active in the fitness world. As part of her dedication to living a healthy lifestyle, Sylvia trained for competitions in ballroom dancing and cycling.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Sylvia began to gain excess weight even though her eating habits and fitness routine hadn’t changed. Needing answers, Sylvia saw various doctors who all thought the weight gain was related to menopause. Sylvia later found out this was an incorrect diagnosis.
Sylvia made several attempts to learn why she kept gaining unwanted weight. Endocrinologists diagnosed her with Hashimotos, however this turned out to be a misdiagnosis as well. Over the years, Sylvia continued to attempt to lose weight by eating healthy and exercising, however the weight gain didn’t stop. As a result, Sylvia’s once self-confident demeanor turned into self-consciousness.
The weight gain soon affected her heart. Sylvia developed Afib. She was bedridden for almost 15 months after collapsing at a wedding and being rushed to a cardiac unit.
Undergoing weight loss surgery was not something Sylvia made a decision on overnight. Several events occurred which pointed her in this direction.
In 2010, Sylvia’s father suffered from a stroke. This not only took a toll on Sylvia emotionally as she spent hours each day in the intensive care unit with him, but it also affected her energy levels. Because of the excess weight, Sylvia was extremely fatigued. While in the waiting room while the nurses were caring for her father, she watched The Biggest Loser on TV. One of the doctors on the show specialized in bariatric surgery. Although Sylvia did not take direct action at that exact point, seeing a doctor on TV discussing bariatric surgery planted a seed in Sylvia’s head in terms of exploring weight loss surgery as an option for her.
Five years later, Sylvia’s father-in-law was rushed to the Marina del Rey Hospital (now an affiliate of Cedars Sinai) due to a mild stroke he suffered from on a cross country flight to LAX. It was at the hospital that Sylvia became acquainted with Dr. Korman’s name.
One night in January 2021, as Sylvia was sleeping, Dr. Korman’s name popped into her head. As a spiritual person, Sylvia took this as a sign from the universe to get help she desperately needed.
Choosing a Southern California Weight Loss Surgeon
Sylvia scheduled initial consultations with five bariatric surgeons in Southern California and decided to work with Dr. Korman. During the consultation, Sylvia relayed the details of her story to Dr. Korman. He responded by saying, “I’m so sorry you went through all of that, but we can help you and it will be behind you.”
From the initial consultation through the surgery, Sylvia was grateful for the compassion all of the office staff showed as well. The day after Sylvia’s procedure, she said to her husband, “I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get back in my clothes.” Sylvia isn’t just “talking the talk,” she’s “walking the walk.”
Life After surgery
The quality of Sylvia’s life has practically skyrocketed since her surgery. She has not experienced any episodes of afib, and the episodes of tachycardia have decreased as well.
Sylvia loves to garden and grows a variety of over 20 fruits and vegetables.
Morning: green drink juice with spinach, swiss chard, kale, and cucumbers
11am: protein drink / scrambled eggs with black beans / tuna salad with chopped egg and celery + piece of fruit such as a peach
Afternoon: small amount of salad + Japanese foods such as sashimi or california roll with no rice
Evening: Pho (Vietnamese soup) with chicken and vegetables
Since her surgery, Sylvia is much more diligent about drinking enough water and eating enough protein.
No stranger to the fitness world, Sylvia is now able to resume working with a personal trainer in order to achieve the eleven year goal of completing a fitness competition this coming spring. Sylvia recently started cycling again, which she considers a huge achievement. Living in a hilly area, before her surgery, Sylvia was unable to walk any of them. Today, she walks 5 miles before 9AM and is able to go up four hills! Sylvia also does ballroom / salsa dancing once a week.
If Sylvia is running errands in the morning, she orders the Green Goddess (sometimes called Dr. Green) at the Whole Foods juice bar.
Emotionally, Sylvia loves having the power to not give up. As Sylvia continues to see results from undergoing the procedure, she feels a new sense of freedom. Sylvia’s weight is no longer something that is persistently weighing on her. With a newly found confidence, Sylvia even wears make-up now- even if it’s just to read on the couch.
Sylvia is taking advantage of this time period as a reset to evaluate all areas of her life. She explains, “when you are carrying extra weight, in pounds or even ideas, you need to get rid of it, or get those ideas out into the world.
Words of wisdom
“Don’t give up.”
“You know your body.”
“If you’re not happy with your body and your life, go see Dr. Korman.”
“Eat to live. Don’t live to eat.”