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Paula's Story

Paula Spalding

Occupation: Former jewelry store manager
Procedure: Vertical Sleeve, 2007
Surgeon: Steven Slikkers, MD
Pre-surgery weight: 303 pounds
Current weight: 169 pounds

Background: I was busy raising a family and running a cleaning business for new construction. I launched the Girl Scout program in Suttons Bay and worked with the Friends of Suttons Bay Rescue. I was so busy, I never had time for me. I put me on the back burner.

Decision point: We were on a charter plane and the stewardess offered us front row seats. I couldn’t fit in the seat, so we switched with another couple. The man was a bariatric surgeon from Royal Oak. He told me about vertical sleeve surgery. When I got home, I called his office. They were very nice, but it was so far away. I called Munson and they were just getting ready to start doing vertical sleeves.

The hardest thing: Exercising was hard at first. It was a real mind challenge to change my thinking. I had to push myself every single workout because I didn’t want to do it. I really procrastinated, but I never gave up on me. Now I get up and do my workout before I do the dishes or housework or whatever – those dishes will still be there.

Best advice: A diet has a beginning and an end. With this, there is no end. Once you have the surgery, there’s no turning back. You have to find an exercise you like.

Parting thought: I was the manager of a jewelry store but I stepped down from management to reduce my stress and focus on my health. Now, we’re always trying something new. We did the Cherry Festival 5K. We go canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing. My diabetes, arthritis, and sleep apnea are gone. My self-esteem and confidence are through the roof.

After Vertical Sleeve Surgery

Before Surgery