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Bobby & Amanda's Bariatric journey, & so much more

Published on Monday May 1, 2023
Bobby & Amanda &SMM

Cami: Hi, and welcome to And So Much More, where we get to share the stories of our caregivers and our patients in our community, and how Center Health is interacting with their everyday life. I'm really excited today, because we get to hear a story of not just one patient, but two. We have Bobby and Amanda Webbington. Of course, it's just by happenstance that we get to do this in February when we're celebrating Valentine's Day, and couples, and love, and all that great stuff. So thank you, Bobby and Amanda, for joining us.

Amanda: You're welcome.

Cami: I'm looking forward to hearing a little bit about you. Why don't you guys, whether Bobby or Amanda, whoever wants to take the lead, just tell us a little bit about yourself.

Amanda: Okay, I'll go first. I'm Amanda. I'm 38 years old. I'm a Probation Officer. We have four children between the two of us, all boys, ranging in ages from five years all the way up to 18. So, we have a very busy lifestyle with them, and their extracurriculars. They're all in scouting in football, basketball-

Cami: Wow.

Amanda: Tee-ball, all the things, soccer.

Cami: So you guys are running all the time, aren't you?

Amanda: Oh, yeah.

Bobby: I'm Bobby. I'm 41, and I work for a telephone company. Along with all the extracurriculars that the kids are involved in, staying busy, I also volunteer as a firefighter now. So-

Amanda: Wow.

Bobby: There's always something that we're running around to do.

Cami: Goodness. So, you are a busy family. You are always headed in different directions, it sounds like. Bobby, you're on the road sometimes for work, in and around this area, as well, correct?

Bobby: Yes, ma'am.

Cami: So, you're headed in a lot of different directions. You've got a lot going on. Talk us through, a little bit about, why you're here today. You guys made the decision, probably a little bit before, in 2020 to, together, undergo bariatric surgery. Now, tell us a little bit about why. What led to that decision?

Amanda: Well, it was actually 2019.

Cami: Okay.

Amanda: Our insurance had a one-year requirement where we had to meet monthly, not in person, but over the phone. A wellbeing coach would call us once a month, and we had to do that program for a year before they would approve the surgery. So, I guess our journey actually started in 2019. Bobby actually was the one who initiated it, so I'll let him explain how that came to be.

Bobby: Well, my family history, my sister actually had gastric bypass surgery 20 years ago. My family has a lot of issues with heart health. I went to see my primary care physician at our center office here in Danville, and she recommended maybe going to see Dr. Alley and his group to talk about possibility of bariatric surgery, because I was a very large individual, and very young, and lots of children, and a beautiful wife that I need to be around for. So, that's what drove me to pursue it.

Amanda: He was also on the verge of having diabetes. He was pre-diabetic, and lots of just knee pain and stuff. He had knee surgery. So, it was just overall health declining too. Then I told him he was going to go first, and I'd see how it went. So, he was the guinea pig. So, I went after him, a few months.

Cami: Okay. So 2019, once you began those meetings with a wellness coach, what did those meetings look like?

Amanda: It was over the phone, and they would just call and relay education, pretty much, about fitness, health, just making sure we were ready for the long haul. They didn't want us to have the surgery-

Bobby: Change of lifestyle.

Amanda: Right, lifestyle change. Just went over what was to be expected after surgery, as far as health-wise, eating, diet, exercise, things like that. After about six months into that is when we started having the appointments with Dr. Alley's team, meeting monthly with the nutritionist, and then a mental health appointment with their psychiatrist, just to clear us from any mental health issues. They wanted to make sure we had support. Of course, us doing it together, we had a lot of support. Different tests, medical testing that we had to do to ensure that we were eligible for the surgery. So, those started about six months after the phone calls started.

Cami: Sounds like you guys had an incredible team around you, the wellness coach, nutritionist, psychiatrist, you had Dr. Alley and his team. That is so much support, which is so encouraging going into something like this, that I'm sure has been an enormous life change.

Bobby: It truly has. Dr. Alley and his team have been absolutely phenomenal. As you said, just the best support system we could have besides, besides Amanda and myself working together. They've been there every step of the way. Anything that we needed, any questions, nothing was too trivial, just-

Amanda: They give us their number. We could just text the nurse if we had a question or something. So, definitely had a lot of support. They do the pre-op and post-op support groups as well, that you can go in person or join online.

Cami: Wow. Okay. So, more support.

Amanda: Yeah. It was helpful. Yes.

Cami: Wow. Bobby, you shared your why for this surgery, which I love. Amanda, assuming it's not the same, what was your why behind deciding the surgery?

Amanda: Well, I guess it's similar, just being around for my kids, being able to be more active with my kids. With them in Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, we do a lot of hiking. Matter of fact, going on a five-mile hike on Saturday this week. So, just a lot of activity. Just being able to get out there in the yard, and kick the soccer ball with them. Being able to bend over and tie my shoes with not being out of breath, or cross my legs, just all those things that I was never able to do has definitely contributed to my why, being able to want to do those things. Shop more trendy clothes, things like that. So, all of those things just contributed to my why. But mainly, like Bobby, wanted to be here longer for the family, and get my health underway.

Cami: Bobby, you had your surgery in June, 2020. Amanda, you said September, 2020. How has it been since then?Amanda, you got to watch, you got to have a little bit of a front row seat as to what you were about to experience. But now, having both led up to the surgery, experienced all the support, had the surgery, and then all the support that followed after, what has the journey since surgery looked like?

Bobby: It's definitely been different, for sure. We have a daily routine as far as this food, and getting everything together. We now have our daily fitness routine. We don't look at things and shrug it off like, "We don't want to do this today." Now it's more like, "Why haven't we done this before? Let's get to it." It's been lots of adventures.

Amanda: We've been able to go to theme parks a lot more, and be able to-

Bobby: Ride some roller coasters.

Amanda: Yeah. Riding all the rides, and not having to worry if you'll fit. Being able to withstand walking all over the theme parks, and not get too tired. I think what he was alluding to was our routine of meal prep and packing lunch. We get up in the morning and pack our lunch together, instead of going out for lunch. So those are the type of changes we've had since surgery, and getting a better routine of health.

Cami: I absolutely love that you have done this together, because I just know it is difficult to meal prep for a whole family when everybody eats a little different, likes a few different things. But you guys are doing your workouts together, you're meal prepping and planning together. That's got to be a huge portion of the success you've seen in this surgery journey, wouldn't you say?

Amanda: Oh, yeah. I definitely wouldn't be able to do this by myself.

Cami: It's a lot.

Amanda: I definitely agree with that, yeah.

Cami: Wow. Was there anything unexpected? I can see how this has impacted really the whole family, and you guys have had so many rewarding experiences since your surgery. Has anything been maybe unexpected?

Bobby: The only unexpected issue that I had was actually right after I had the surgery and I was discharged. I actually had to come back and have another surgery because, like anything else, if there's a million and one chance that would happen, happened to me. I actually had to go in, and I had a blood clot issue, but-

Cami: Oh, wow.

Bobby: Other than that, everything else was smooth sailing, nothing really unexpected afterwards, besides I stay cold a lot.

Cami: Is that pretty common after the surgery?

Amanda: Yes.

Bobby: Yes. Yes it is.

Cami: Oh, that's the worst.

Amanda: I guess losing a lot of weight, usually before you're more hot-natured. You lose all that weight fast, and now we're cold-natured. So, I think that was a little unexpected. We had heard about people in our Facebook groups going through that, being cold. But, he definitely had that emergency surgery right after getting home, so that was definitely unexpected. But, it didn't turn me away. Dr. Alley said, "Please don't let this discourage you. I've never had that complication before." He said he'd heard of another surgeon having it but, him personally, had never experienced a blood clot where it was. It was just blocking everything, so he couldn't keep anything down, and had to go back in to remove that. So, I didn't let discourage me-

Cami: Good.

Amanda: But I did wait until September, because that's when some of the COVID restrictions lifted, and he could come to the hospital with me. Because, for his, I just had to drop him off. I couldn't go in at all. So I waited till he could be there with me, just in case anything like that happened. Anything else unexpected? I would just say, I think they pretty well-prepared us. We knew that, after surgery, we wouldn't be able to drink at the same time that we're eating. You need to wait awhile. They discourage you using straws and things after surgery. So they really educated and well-prepared us. So, I guess I couldn't really think of anything else unexpected that's happened.

Cami: So was the blood clot a result of the surgery, or did the surgery uncover that there was a blood clot?

Bobby: As far as I know, it was a result of the surgery.

Cami: Okay. But, it's just a one in a million chance.

Bobby: Yeah. Like Amanda said, the doctor had-

Cami: Oh, lucky you.

Bobby: Never seen it.

Cami: Wow.

Bobby: Now, let me just tell you that, whenever I was rushed back to Lynchburg General, Dr. Alley was not on call. It was very late. But, the man that met me at the door to the operating room was Dr. Alley.

Cami: Oh, wow.

Bobby: He was the last person I seen before I went under, and the first person I seen when I woke back up.

Cami: Wow.

Amanda: He was great. He called me, kept me informed every step of the way. He said, "I know it's late, but do you want me to call you when he's out of surgery?" I'm like, "Yes, please." So he called me sometime early that morning, 1:00, 2:00, I can't remember, let me know. Bobby's right, he had told me, "I'm not on call, but I might go in and do his surgery." I was like, "Yes, please." So, he did. He came in and did it. He didn't know exactly what the blockage was at the time, and he was really shocked. Like I said, he said he never experienced that. But, he was able to get it all out, and hasn't had any other issues since.

Cami: Wow.

Amanda: Oh, another unexpected thing. You got gout a lot after surgery, because you eat more of a high protein, and a lot of meat, and eating a lot of shrimp, so he did have a lot of gout flareups, but-

Cami: Oh, ow.

Amanda: But, other than that-

Cami: So that was just a side effect of some of the life changes that you had to put into place afterwards?

Bobby: Yeah, for sure.

Cami: Gotcha.

Amanda: Exactly.

Cami: I'm sure it takes a few years for your body to acclimate to such a different way of living, and you start beforehand, I'm assuming, to really prepare your body so that you're not shocked. But, when did you start to feel like you were in a rhythm, and you had found a good groove after the surgery? Or, are you waiting for that maybe to happen?

Amanda: I would say probably six months out, maybe, getting in the habit of taking all your vitamins every day. You start doing things without realizing, chewing your food a lot better, because you have to do that in the beginning, because everything's swollen, you can't swallow capsules, you have to open them up if you had to take a pill or something. So, it was a lot of little changes like that until we got used to our new tummy there. I think about after six months, got into a good routine, and just started doing things more naturally.

Cami: What a legacy you guys are leaving for your kids, this healthy lifestyle that they're seeing and learning, because their life is changing now, very much so too, I would imagine. That's very encouraging. It's hard to make those changes.

Amanda: Some more than others.


Bobby: Our five-year-old is very health-conscious.

Amanda: Oh, okay. It's funny how that is, because he was just turning three when we had the surgery. So when you go to a restaurant, he's like, "I'll take water." I'm like, "Well, a drink comes with your kid's meal, so here it is." I'm trying to convince him to get a drink, and he's like, "No, I'll take water." I'm like, "Why am I doing this?" I should be-

Cami: Encouraging the water.

Amanda: Yeah. I'm like, "Why am I doing this? Stop." So, that's been a little unexpected too, I guess, is him being so health-conscious. But, like you said, it all makes sense if they're seeing us do this. So, he's really picked up on it. Some of the older kids, they are stuck in their ways, and they're going to have to make those changes. Especially the 18-year-old, he thinks he's grown. He makes his own decisions.

Bobby: Well, the 18-year-old, he recently had to take a physical fitness test for a fire department position, and I think he realizes that he might need to do some changes, because I did the same test and I did it two minutes faster.

Cami: Oh.

Bobby: Yes.

Cami: I bet he did not like that.

Bobby: Not at all.

Amanda: Nope.

Cami: Wow.

Amanda: Every time they find out who his dad is, they're like, "Oh, he's the old man that whooped everybody's butt on the physical test." So now he feels pressure to live up to that, and he didn't.

Cami: But it's good, it's such a good example for them. It really is. They're going to see that, and they're going to see that these changes make a difference.

Amanda: Yeah.

Cami: Yeah. That's very cool. Well, what would you guys share with someone who's considering this? Someone who is maybe hearing your story right now, and wondering if this could benefit them. What message do you have for that person?

Bobby: It's so worth it.

Amanda: Yeah, it's definitely worth it all. Don't want the little things that we mentioned, the gout, the complications, scare you. It's definitely worth it. I think the only regret we both have is not doing it sooner.

Bobby: Absolutely.

Cami: Wow.

Amanda: It's very rewarding to see all your hard work pay off, and get compliments, and not mind your photo being taken as much, or not mind going shopping for clothes as much. It's just those little things that will add up, and just make you feel like it's so worth it.

Cami: Wow. Well, you guys have inspired me. I just love hearing, not just about your progress, but how you're changing things for your family, and you've made such incredible choices for yourself. So, I feel like you're number one fan right now.

Amanda: Thank you.

Cami: Absolutely. Well, thank you for joining us today, and for being so transparent and vulnerable with your story. I hope those of you who are listening can hear the why behind their story, and maybe that can bring some things to the surface as why this may be an option for you, and how Dr. Alley and his team can be of support if you're along a similar journey. So, I encourage you to check things out. We'll post some links. Thank you for listening today on And So Much More.