Mother of 5 Reclaims Her Health Through Metabolic Surgery
“I want people reading this to know that they are worth it,” said Amber Redmer. “They are so worth it. We all deserve health and vitality.”
Today, Amber radiates health. But it hasn’t always been this way. Several years ago, she faced major health issues as her husband struggled to recover from cancer.
“He was diagnosed with cancer,” said Amber. “He was on his way to recovery and then started to show signs of severe heart health decline.”
At that time, Amber was a stay-at-home mother of five who homeschooled all her children. Ranging in age from four to twelve, her children all had very different needs, and she felt pulled in many different directions.
To complicate matters, Amber’s health challenges were growing more serious. She was diabetic, and her sugar levels had become so unstable she had to have an insulin pump. Even with the pump, her diabetes still caused rashes on both legs. Amber’s triglyceride levels were also high which increased her risk of heart disease, and her doctors had recently discovered that she was showing signs of tachycardia, an abnormally rapid heart rate.
With her husband’s recovery in doubt and her own health at risk, Amber knew she had to do something. “I didn’t want my children to be orphans."
Amber began her search for answers online. She knew her weight was a major contributing factor to her health concerns, so she focused on different weight-loss options.
“I chose to have metabolic surgery with a vertical sleeve because it had the best digestion setup,” said Amber. “With metabolic surgery, I would take fewer supplements and eventually I would be able to eat all foods that are normally included in a healthy diet. Most importantly, I would be able to come off of the insulin pump immediately after surgery. I knew I would have to change my lifestyle, exercise more. I knew this was a life change, not just a change in my diet, and I was ready for that.”
Now that Amber knew what procedure would be right for her, she had to find a surgeon she trusted. After thorough research, she decided on Dr. Denis Halmi, a Bariatric Surgeon at Sentara with over 20 years of experience in metabolic surgery.
“I understand why people with serious medical concerns shy away from surgery,” said Dr. Halmi. “It’s a big step. It’s a permanent change. Life will never be the same after metabolic surgery. Truthfully, in all ways, life will be better. Yes, at first it is difficult to come to terms with the change, but in a very short period of time patients see the tremendous benefits to every aspect of their lives.”
Without intervention, patients like Amber with serious health concerns are at tremendous risk. They can, and often do, develop heart disease, stroke, diabetes, circulation issues, cancer, and breathing problems. Weight loss surgery, a radical change in diet, and an exercise program monitored by a team of medical and health professionals can drastically reduce these health risks.
Metabolic surgery leads to weight loss because it causes changes in the body’s metabolism that are inherent in the digestive system’s hormone and enzyme levels. It’s this biochemical change, along with determination like Amber’s, which helps people see a quick change in their health.
The day after surgery, Amber was released from the hospital and began the first day of her new life. As expected, she immediately came off the insulin pump with no side effects. Her blood sugar, which she still checks regularly, has been normal every day since her surgery more than three years ago. Her resting pulse rate has dropped over 30 points to a normal level of 70-75. She lost 110 pounds and has kept the weight off. Quick, positive results like this help to motivate patients to embrace their new way of life.
Though the benefits quickly become apparent, all patients who undergo metabolic surgery need some level of support. Some people need one-on-one therapy, some need support groups, and some need group counseling. Sentara offers all of these options in addition to private social media groups where patients can share their experiences, ask for help, and find inspiration from one another. This support has no time limit. Amber still regularly goes to meetings at Sentara, and she credits this ongoing support with helping her to stay on track.
Amber’s life, aside from the physical changes, has undergone a radical transformation. Before surgery, she was a homebody. Now she has an increased interest in life. Amber takes yoga and spin classes and practices Jujitsu. She competes every three to five months and gold medaled in the Ribeiro East Coast Championship.
In addition, Amber decided to go back to school. She is now taking college classes toward a degree in criminal justice. She hopes to work in Federal or State government administration for the military.
“I realize now that before surgery, I wasn’t happy,” said Amber. “I have a fuller life now. The support I received at Sentara has helped me to grow past the emotional issues that initially caused the weight gain. One of the best changes has been with my children. They see me out in the world trying new things all the time, and it has made them more curious and open to the world.”
Amber had this surgery to build a bright future for herself and her family: mission accomplished!