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Weight loss surgery offers new life to many

Brave Army wife hopes to be happier and healthier

Army wife Betsy Eves, who recently underwent weight loss surgery at MAMC, with her proud daughter Emily. /Melissa Renahan

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Two years ago, Betsy Eves asked her doctor about weight loss surgery but decided that she wasn't ready to commit to the process. Then, after suffering a miscarriage and a back injury a year later, she gained an additional 50 pounds, and it became difficult for her to get around without constant pain.

"I couldn't take care of myself or my family," Eves said. "So I knew something had to change. I couldn't be 325 pounds anymore."

After multiple disappointing doctors' visits, during which many simply told her "you need to lose weight" and offered no help, she found one who was willing to write her a referral to the Weight Loss Program at Madigan Army Medical Center. So Eves was wait-listed in October, and then she did just that: She waited six months until it was her turn.

The first step was 60 days worth of education relating to the surgery - from nutrition to goal setting - intended to prepare patients for the life changes they will be faced with. Finally, on June 25, Eves underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery and started on the long road ahead of her.

For the first few days she could have only clear liquids. Then it was all liquids, and now, almost a month since her surgery, she is transitioning to solid foods.

"I still have to be careful though," Eves explained. "My stomach is about two ounces in size now, so too much of anything heavy causes a lot of discomfort."

Her husband, Sgt. David Eves, is deployed with the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team but is due home within the next two months.

"He's always been supportive and loved me unconditionally," she said. "But he is looking forward to me being healthier - even if it means he'll have to eat a little differently too."

Likewise, Eves is glad that she'll be setting a better example for her 10-year-old daughter, Emily.

Despite what some may think, getting WLS is far from taking the easy way out. In order for the surgery to be effective, Eves must maintain a high protein (she has to eat 60 grams of protein a day), low sugar diet and avoid alcohol and caffeine for the foreseeable future. She also must exercise at least 30 minutes a day a couple of times a week. On this front, she is making definite progress. Her walks with friends along Ruston Way in Tacoma have been getting longer and easier each time as her tolerance increases.

Eves said that overall she is happy with her decision, but at the same time, she is taking it one day at a time.

"I've set realistic goals for myself. So far, so good," she said with a smile.

Her goal is to weigh under 200 pounds by next summer, and as she said, so far, so good. Since her surgery, Eves has lost 31 pounds and is happily fitting into clothes she hasn't worn in two years.

To follow Eves' progress, visit her blog at http://skinnybetsy.blogspot.com.

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