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Cassie Fleharty

Surgery Date:  May 20, 2019
Starting Weight:  265 lbs. 
Current Weight:  153 lbs.

What made you decide to have weight loss surgery?   Honestly, I woke up one day and decided enough was enough. My weight had controlled my life for too long and it was time for me to do something about that. I wasn't happy with how I looked, was unhealthy, and definitely out of shape. For years I struggled with high blood pressure and at the age of 45 I was already on a combination of three blood pressure pills. I knew that if I didn't do something I was putting myself at risk of not being around for my children, and I couldn't stand the thought of that.

How long did it take for you to decide to have weight loss surgery?   In February 2019 I woke up one day and knew I needed to do something about my weight. I contacted a family friend who had previously had the surgery and found out about the Iowa Weight Loss Specialists. That same day I made an appointment for their free surgical weight loss class. That first class was March 6th. I had my first appointment with Dr. Eibes on March 13th and my surgery date was May 20th. The whole process was quick and to the point.

Did anyone either encourage or discourage you from having surgery?  I feel very fortunate to have a strong support system throughout this whole journey. Of course I had those who told me that I didn't need to do it because I wasn't that big, but I knew other wise. I also had a few people who told me I was taking the easy way out, but I didn't let that stop me nor bother me. I did what I did for myself, not to please others.

What do you wish you'd known before the surgery?  My only regret prior to surgery is not knowing more about the process years earlier. I spent many years letting my weight control me. Had I known what a difference this whole process would have on my entire life, I would have done it years ago. However, there is always a time and place for everything, and last May was definitely the right time for me. I also wish I had known how important food journaling is. I started using My Fitness Pal the very next day after the free class and it helped me a lot. I have logged in every day since. It holds me accountable on food and exercise every day.

What things are you able to do now that may have been difficult or impossible before surgery?  Where do I begin? For years I was limited on what I did due to my knees hurting. I had to take stairs one step at a time due to pain and discomfort from arthritis caused by previous knee surgeries. Now I can run up and down the stairs no problem. The first time I did it I was amazed. I never considered myself a runner before and now I am running on my treadmill 3/5 days a week. Yay! I can now sit with my legs crossed which makes me happy! I can take a trip on an airplane now without worrying if the seat belt is going to fit around me, which is a great feeling. I could go on, but I think you get the point that sometimes its the little things that mean the most.

Which conditions or diseases have you seen decrease or disappear since your surgery?  In a short 6 months I managed to get off all of my high blood pressure medicine. I also no longer need to take arthritis pain reliever which I took every day prior to surgery due to my knees.

How has surgery altered your outlook on life, your emotions, and/or relationships?  Before surgery I was a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving person on the outside, but an unhappy, miserable person on the inside. I put on a great front for others, but the truth is that I wasn't happy with myself. I often let my weight stop me from doing things, and it was affecting my relationships with family and friends. After surgery I have grown as a person in many ways. It has changed me physically, mentally, and spiritually. I have finally found myself, and I am proud of who I am. I am now not only happy on the outside but the inside as well. I have a great relationship with God, my family, and many, many good friends.

Why did you decide to have surgery with Dr. Eibes?  From the moment I walked into the free surgical weight loss class, I knew I was where I needed to be. Dr. Eibes did a great job explaining options for surgery and how the whole process works. He answered the questions I had and set my mind at ease knowing that I was doing the right thing for me. He gave me hope for my future.

What would you say about Dr. Eibes and his team?  From the very first free class I attended, I knew that Iowa Weight Loss Specialists was the right place for me. Everyone who works there takes a personal interest in you and always makes you feel welcome and important. I have always felt comfortable with everyone I have worked with. They truly care about you and your well-being. They want to see you succeed and are willing to help you in anyway possible.

What would you tell someone who is considering weight loss surgery?  Iowa Weight Loss Specialists has changed my life by giving me the resources I need to be successful. They educate you on what you need to do, but you have to put in the work in order to see the changes take place. It is not the easy way out. You have to eat properly and exercise in order for it to work. There are days that won't go as you had planned, and that's okay, bounce back the next day and get back on track. It is all worth it in the end.

If this process is going to work for you, do it for yourself and not for anyone else. Taking care of yourself and truly learning more about yourself is the first step at being successful throughout this whole process. The first week after surgery you are going to wonder what in the world you did to yourself, but that passes. Each day gets easier and it is all worth it in the end. Have faith in yourself and know that you too can do this. Take advantage of the support groups that are available and get to know others who have had the same procedure. However, never compare yourself to someone else. Everyone's journey is different! Be proud of yourself. Take pride in the small steps because those are what will lead to milestones. Stay true to yourself and never forget that you deserve this.

Is there any additional information you would like to share?  Thanks Iowa Weight Loss Specialists for all that you do. You have given me my life back. Your dedication to each and every one of us is greatly appreciated.

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