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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

031 Twenty Questions

Hi, everyone! We posted on Facebook and Twitter last week that we were going to have a Q&A post and that we needed your questions to make that happen. First I want to say thank you to everyone who submitted questions. I am sorry that we could answer all the questions (this got long as it is) so we picked twenty of the ones we felt we could best answer for you. So here it is...

20 Questions!

1. Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery safe?
A: Gastric sleeve is non-invasive when done laproscopically which decreases the risk of complications and speeds up the healing time. Also, gastric sleeve does not have any re-routing of the small intestine which reduces risk as well. Read More about the risks and rewards of Gastric Sleeve.

2. How long have you two been married?
A: Jimmy and I have been married just over 6.5 years. We were married in May 2006. Read more about Jimmy & Christiana.

This is one of our engagement photos taken by Hannah & Jeremy Tate.

3. Will I have to do a liquid diet if I have WLS?
A: It's possible. We have talked to several different people from several different surgical programs. Some had to do a full blown two week pre-op diet like we have and others had little to no pre-op changes in their lives. It really depends on your surgeon and the surgical program you are using. Read about the benefits of doing a pre-op liquid diet.

4. Will having WLS fix all my weight problems?
A: NO! WLS is a tool to be used in conjunction with a lot of sacrifice and hard work. WLS in and of itself will not solve your weight problems. If you are not following the doctors diet regiment, making changes so you have healthier eating habits, and exercising then eventually you will gain the weight back after surgery. WLS is a tool not a magic wand to make you suddenly skinny and never to gain weight again. Read forum posts about people who thought WLS would solve all their problems.

5. How long have you been in youth ministry?
A: Jimmy has been doing youth ministry since college. His first full-time youth ministry was in Texas in 1999. So that's something like 13 years of full-time youth ministry. We started doing youth events together when I was still in high school in 2000 but I didn't join his ministry full-time until January 2006 when I (Christiana) moved to St. Louis before we got engaged. We have been doing ministry together ever since! Our current youth ministry is called #winningSM and is located at McCarthy Baptist Church in St. Joseph, Missouri.

This is the photo we took at our very first Sunday School times at McCarthy Baptist Church.
6. How much does Jimmy weigh?
A: For personal reasons (and because we have found people to be really judgemental about the weight number), Jimmy has asked that I not publish his actual weight. However, we will be posting the number of pounds lost. Eventually we may post the actual weight in pounds but that will be determined later.

7. How much weight will Jimmy lose?
A: According to Dr. Hornbostel, Jimmy can expect to lose approximately 200 lbs within the first year of his WLS. Read more about the amount of weight you can expect to lose with WLS.

8. What kinds of food can't you eat after having gastric sleeve surgery?
A: The kinds of foods that people can and cannot tolerate after WLS surgery varies as different people's bodies handle foods differently. In general, individuals who have had WLS should avoid foods high in fat, carbs, and sugars. Read more about eating after Gastric Sleeve Surgery.

9. How much does WLS cost?
A: Without insurance coverage WLS can cost between $20,000 - $35,000. That's why it is really important to make sure that you have insurance pre-approval before proceeding with WLS. More about the cost of WLS.

10. How does your family feel about Jimmy having WLS?
A: Both of our families really support that Jimmy wants to be healthier and increase his chances of having a long and happy life. They also accept the fact that the best possibility for him to make this happen is through the assistance of WLS. It was really important to us to sit down and talk to them about this and to get everyone all on the same page. We really couldn't do it without them.

Jimmy and Me with Jimmy's Mom (Shirley)

Left to Right: Me, Dad (Jim), Jimmy, Mary, Scotty, Gretel, and Mom (Janice)
11. How long does it take to get back to work after Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
A: The typical recovery time is 2 - 6 weeks. Each individual is different and recovery time varies. Your recovery time is determined by your progress and your doctor's assessment of your body's healing. Find out more about Gastric Sleeve recovery time.

12. How long will Jimmy be in the hospital after surgery?
A: The average hospital stay for laproscopic WLS is 1 - 2 days. Keep in mind that every person is different.

13. What food will you miss eating the most?
A: PIZZA! Although Jimmy will continue to be able to eat the cheese and the toppings, pizza just won't be the same so I know this is definitely the food he will miss the most.

14. Do people who have WLS have issues with excess skin?
A: Yes. Most people who have WLS have issues with excess skin. The amount of excess skin varies depending on age, weight (pre surgery), skin elasticity, etc. Find out more about excess skin issues.

15. What do you plan on doing while recovering at home?
A: Great question! Jimmy has been planning ahead for this one. I think that his major plans include starting a new TV series on Netflix, playing lots of Halo 4 & NBA 2K13, and finishing The Mark of Athena.

16. Other than food, what will be one of the biggest changes in your life after surgery?
A: This answer may surprise you--clothes. Jimmy is going to lose weight rapidly and so he is going to go through several wardrobe changes over the next year. Also, once he loses all this weight he could very likely be able to walk into places like Wal-Mart or Target and be able to buy clothes off their racks for the first time in many, many years.

17. Is it really important that I attend support group meetings?
A: Yes. It is important to get all kinds of support from your friends and family, but don't miss out on the support from the people who have been there and are waiting to meet you in the support groups which are often provided my your surgical group. Read about the importance of support groups

18. Is it true that you will have to take certain vitamins for the rest of your life?
A: Yes. Because the stomach is smaller after WLS, you have to take vitamins to help the body absorb all the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy. Some vitamins you may have to take include: B12, B Complex, a mult-vitamin with iron, and calcium citrate. Learn more about taking vitamins after WLS.

19. Are their side effects from WLS?
A: Absolutely! You may experience discomfort and gas from the surgery itself and then later you may encounter side effects such as nausea and diarrhea if you are not following your diet properly. Read more about WLS side effects.

20. If people could help you and Christiana in any way, what would it be?
A: Please keep us in your prayers. The liquid diet has not been easy. You feel hungry all the time and that makes things tense and stressful and we still have a few days left of that. Also pray that everything will go well with the surgery on Friday. Going under the knife is always scary no matter how safe the surgery is supposed to be. Also, please pray for a swift and easy recovery and adjustment period.

We really appreciate everyone who has already been supporting us and praying for us. We really and truly couldn't do it without you. Also a quick word of thanks to everyone who has been reading the blog and especially to those of you who have been commenting, it's really nice to know that all the work that has gone into this has not been in vain! Thank you all so much!

Jimmy and Christiana's 6th Anniversary in May 2012
Grace and Peace,


  1. Just wanted to encourage you both. Keep up the struggle. I will be praying for surgery to go very well. God Bless. Kyle Bridgman, Maysville

    1. Thank you, Kyle. We greatly appreciate you and all of the other people who are praying for us. We are looking forward to having the surgery on Friday and to move on to the post-op recovery stage. Thanks for reading.