Amy and Kristin Lanham, sisters who work at the University of Maryland Women's Health Center and Medical Center, had struggled with weight issues for most of their lives. After being referred to Dr. Mark Kligman by their primary care physicians and attending one of his weight loss surgery seminars, both were eager to undergo bariatric surgery and change their lives for the better. Read more about their experiences below.
How long have you worked at the Medical Center, and what do you here?
Amy: I am a social worker at the University of Maryland Women’s Health Center. I have worked here for three years. I enjoy working with the patients and building relationships with them as they go through their pregnancies.
Kristin: I came to UMMC in 2000 for a student clinical rotation in Nuclear Medicine. When my clinicals were finished, I was offered a position and I have been working here since 2001. I am currently a senior nuclear medicine technologist. I really enjoy working here because it is a great place to learn. I have been able to obtain all the certifications currently available in Nuclear Medicine.
Why did you decide that you needed to undergo bariatric surgery? What was your life like before the surgery?
Amy: I went for my annual physical at Family Medicine at the beginning of 2009 and was talking with the doctor again about losing weight. It is a struggle I have had all my life and nothing I tried was working. My doctor asked me if I ever considered bariatric surgery and I said yes. I was given a referral to see Dr. Kligman. I knew that I needed to lose weight because I have a family history of diabetes, hypertension and other medical problems. I knew if I did not lose the weight I was going to have severe medical problems. Before surgery, I was exhausted all the time and had no energy to do anything. I would go to work and spend all night at home on the couch. I had no motivation to do anything physical.
Kristin: After being diagnosed as borderline diabetic, I spent a few years struggling with losing weight and keeping it off. Before surgery, I was active but had less energy than I do now. I never made my health a priority before surgery. It was always a second thought.
What was the next step?
Amy: I was referred by my doctor at Family Medicine and went to Dr. Kligman’s weight loss surgery seminar.
Kristin: I attended the weight loss seminar with Amy in a supportive role. Not knowing a lot about gastric bypass, I didn't think that I was a candidate. After listening to Dr. Kligman, I felt like everything he was talking about pertained to me. After the seminar I went to see him and he said I was the perfect candidate.
Did you and your sister decide to do this together? What was it like to go through this process with your sister?
Amy: Actually I asked my sister to go with me to the educational seminar because I did not want to go alone. After sitting through the seminar she decided to start the program. And she ended up having her surgery the week before mine. Having my sister go through this process at the same time has been extremely helpful and supportive. It makes the process easier when you both have to eat differently. It also let me know what to expect because she went first.
Kristin: Amy and I went to the seminar together and started the whole journey around the same time. I wouldn't say that we planned it, because it is a decision that we both made on our own. I feel like it worked out for the best that we did it together. We had each other for support.
When did you have your surgery?
Amy: My surgery was September 15, 2009.
Kristin: I had my surgery on September 8, 2009.
How has your life changed since surgery?
Amy: My life has changed for the better. I have so much more energy and the motivation to be more active. I have gone canoeing twice this summer, which I would have never done before surgery. I feel like a new person.
Kristin: I am very happy that I chose to have the surgery. I am healthier and happier than I have ever been. I have lost 120 pounds which I never thought was possible. I have not had any complications or problems. I feel so much better. I had surgery to be healthier, but I also have to say I enjoy trying on clothes and being able to shop for clothes at more than one store.
How do you feel about Dr. Kligman and the rest of the staff at the UM Center for Weight Management & Wellness?
Amy: Dr. Kligman and his staff are absolutely wonderful. They are very supportive and prepare you well for surgery. They make the process as easy and smooth as possible. They are very focused on what is in the best interest of the patient.
Kristin: I was really impressed with the entire staff. Everyone is great. The nurse practitioner has been awesome. She was very helpful and I felt like she was very invested in my success.
Would you recommend Dr. Kligman to others?
Amy: Absolutely. The decision to have surgery is not an easy one and the process can be stressful and frightening when you think about the major changes you are making to your life. They are so supportive during the process and are focused on doing what is best for you. Their program prepares you not only for the surgery but life after surgery. I recently went to Dr. Kligman’s seminar with a friend who is considering having surgery.
Kristin: I would definitely recommend Dr. Kligman. He tells you everything you need to know, with no sugar-coating. If you’re not doing what you are supposed to do, he is going to let you know. I really like that about him. I felt like he wanted me to succeed and supported me completely throughout the entire process.