Posted - January 4, 2024

Getting Back to Her Best

Mandy had always been active and healthy. But as she got older, started a family and continued eating what she wanted, her health began to decline. It ended up being the turning point to getting her back to her best life!

Active and athletic. That’s how Mandy Crowell describes herself. She also remembers growing up in a house where both parents worked and most of the meals were quick, easy and not all that nutritious. But it was the 80’s and “clean eating” just meant you used a napkin to wipe your mouth! So she never really learned good eating habits, but it didn’t really matter because she was young and busy playing sports.

Up and Down

Mandy’s story is one that will have many readers (especially moms) nodding their head and saying to themselves, “Yep. That’s the same thing I’m going through!” Mandy is quick to point out “I didn’t have weight issues growing up.” But as she got older and life got busier, her weight became more difficult to control. As Mandy recalls “I did gain weight my first year of college. I actually gained like 60 pounds!” She attributes it to being less active and not changing her diet. Whatever the reason, she didn’t like it, so she got on phentermine and was successful in shedding the extra pounds. Around the same time, Mandy got married and was able to maintain her weight. She started eating better and working out again. But challenges remained. Being a southern girl (and Irish), seemingly every event revolved around food. Celebrating, mourning or just getting together – there was always food! She found it difficult at times to control her eating with all the temptation around her. And she also discovered that she would eat out of boredom. 

Not As Easy

After Mandy had her children, she very much wanted to stay home with them. And while she absolutely loved being able to do so, it did mean being less active, which led to her putting on more weight. It wasn’t all at once, but gradually over the years, she kept packing on the extra pounds. From time to time, she’d get back on phentermine. But as she approached her 40s, she noticed it just didn’t have the same effect. Even worse, reports of heart issues from long-term use of phentermine began to hit the headlines.

A Trip to the ER

The positive news was that Mandy’s blood work was still good. As her doctor told her “If I didn’t know I wouldn’t think you were obese based on your labs.” Was that good to hear? Sure. But Mandy knew at some point soon, there would be dire consequences if she didn’t lose the weight. She’d already seen her parents and other family members suffer with a multitude of obesity related diseases and afflictions. Then it happened. Years of excess weight (and playing sports) finally took their toll. Her body ached under the stress and she wound up requiring surgery to repair BOTH Achilles tendons. The worst part was that it made her unable to do any activity for about 6 months! It was exactly what she DIDN’T need. She continued to struggle to lose weight and in May 2021, she had to go to the ER with horrible stomach pain. She was diagnosed with gallbladder disease and required immediate surgery. Fortunately for her, Dr. Al-Kalla was the doctor on call and successfully completed her procedure. It wasn’t until her follow-up appointment that Dr. Al-Kalla approached her about her weight, “He gently and non-judgmentally asked me what I was going to do about my weight.” She didn’t know. He offered to help her find a solution and together they decided the best way forward would be gastric sleeve surgery . In October 2021, she had her surgery with Dr. Al-Kalla.

The Right Tool

Today, she’s down more than 120 pounds and feeling healthier than ever. “It’s like that TV show, Hoarders. Getting started feels so overwhelming, but once you change your mindset, it really sets you free.” Mandy says. She sees weight loss surgery as an important “tool” – it won’t fix everything on its own, but it gives you the opportunity to adopt good eating and exercise habits and see REAL results. She laments, “It’s when people try dieting and exercising but don’t see results. They feel lost and overwhelmed which leads them to just quit trying.” 

Back to Being Active

For Mandy and her family, the journey has been amazing. It motivated them to improve their eating habits and commit to staying active (she just took a 2-week trip to Turkey) and in her sister’s case, provided the courage for her to pursue her own surgery! One big change for Mandy is that she no longer dreads finding clothes to wear. “I can walk out of the house feeling good and confident about what I’m wearing.” Asked what advice she would give to others experiencing her plight, Mandy replied “Don’t dismiss surgery as a real option for you. I had no idea my insurance would pay for it, but they did!”

If Mandy’s story feels like your story, don’t wait another day. Reach out to book a consultation. Our doctors will discuss your options and together you’ll decide what’s best for YOU. Our mission is simple: No Blame. No Shame. Just compassionate care that gets results.