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Katie's Story

Katie Kniss

Watch Katie's video
Occupation: Motivational speaker
Procedure: Vertical Sleeve, 2008
Surgeon: Steven Slikkers, MD
Pre-surgery weight: 274 pounds
Current weight: 157 pounds

Background: I’m a mother of four young children, married to my high school sweetheart. I struggled with weight loss all my life. In 2006, my husband, Josh, was a Marine serving on the front lines in Iraq. I was driving our mini-van to pick up our son at school, and we were hit head on in a devastating car accident. I was in a coma, with a crushed leg and extensive injuries. Josh was told I probably wasn’t going to survive.

Decision point: I spent two years in a wheelchair. I’m a self employed business owner with a house, husband, and kids to care for, and I wanted to have my life back. I knew with the extra weight it would be very difficult to do everything I wanted to do. I was told my ankle wouldn’t recover and we decided on amputation. I was going to have weight loss surgery first, and then the amputation. In pre-op for the vertical sleeve surgery, a nurse said, ‘Do you know you’re pregnant?’ We canceled the surgery and I went through the
pregnancy in the wheelchair. Our son was born in May, I had my leg amputated in July, and had the sleeve done in September.

Life after surgery: I’ve lost 120 pounds. The best part is my quality of life is back. I am keeping up with my kids – I’m even learning how to run. I feel good. I have my energy back.

Parting thought: God and prayers brought me through. I’m now a motivational speaker trying to give hope to hopeless people. It’s not about what happens when you fall, it’s about what you decide to do when
you’re down that counts. The trials in life have made me a stronger person in my faith and my determination.

After Vertical Sleeve Surgery

Before Surgery