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Weight-Loss Surgery Helps Area Woman Improve Health and Her Fertility

Kaitlyn Getz lost 165 pounds and finally conceived thanks to LVHN General and Bariatric Surgery

Kaitlyn Getz Lost 165 Pounds thanks to LVHN

At 27, Kaitlyn Getz’s health was at an all-time low prior to her bariatric surgery at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). 

“I was taking multiple prescriptions, dealing with diabetes, and failing miserably at losing weight on my own,” she says. “I wanted to be active, and I never really let my weight bother my active lifestyle. However, no matter how much I tried, I just could not lose the weight.”

On top of her weight-loss struggle, she also was dealing with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which was affecting her fertility journey.

“I was seeing an endocrinologist for my PCOS and infertility when she recommended the weight-loss surgery program at LVHN,” she says.

Her doctor told her that she would have about a 90% chance of getting pregnant after she lost a significant amount of weight. 

“At this point, I was already taking hormone replacements and injections, and the next step was in vitro fertilization (IVF),” she says. “I didn’t want to have a failed attempt at IVF.”

Life-changing decision

After the appointment, she immediately called her mom to talk it over, followed by a discussion with her significant other. The decision was easy.

“I knew if I wanted to keep up with my child that I would need to make major changes, and at that point in my life, I would have done anything to be called ‘Mom,' " she says. “Within a week, LVHN had my referral and scheduled my first information session.”

After three months of weigh-ins at LVPG Surgery–Health & Wellness Center, Getz’s surgery was scheduled.

Her surgery took place March 25, 2019, the day that “changed my life forever.” 

“I woke up at 4 a.m. that day. My mom met me at the hospital, along with my then-husband. While in the pre-op, we downloaded the EASE app so nurses could give my family the updates needed to keep their mind at ease while I was in the operating room,” she says. “My surgeon greeted me with the biggest smile on his face. I remember the last words I heard him say as he left my room so I could finish preparation was an emphatic, ‘I’ll see you in there!’ This was so reassuring.”

Within two hours after surgery, she was up and walking.

“After I started walking, I did not stop. Lap after lap, I was on the move,” she says. “The nurses would ask, ‘Didn’t you just have surgery?’”

“I have never felt better in my life. For me, it’s not about what the scale reads – it’s about how I feel after I see myself in that beautiful red dress that I was always too scared to wear, that two-piece high-waisted bikini that never hid enough skin, or a pair of shorts,” Getz says.

On track despite setback

After her gastric sleeve surgery, she lost weight very quickly – 42 pounds in nearly one month. The rapid weight loss resulted in gallbladder issues.

“My surgeon had me in his office in no time,” she says. “I was weak, and he knew just what to do.”

The LVHN team quickly helped her resolve the issues. An ultrasound confirmed gallstones. Getz shared that her surgeon called ahead to Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Hazleton and had them prepare a bed for her for the surgery. Her gallbladder was removed shortly thereafter. 

With help from an LVHN dietitian, Getz was educated about weight loss and given tips to help her stay on track after her surgery.

Overall, she has lost about 150 pounds.

Feeling better than ever

Weight loss is so much more than pounds lost – it’s about living life to the fullest. And for Getz, her life completely changed.

“I have never felt better in my life,” she says. “For me, it’s not about what the scale reads – it’s about how I feel after I see myself in that beautiful red dress that I was always too scared to wear, that two-piece high-waisted bikini that never hid enough skin, or a pair of shorts.” 

The surgery was a success for her fertility as well. After her surgery, she became pregnant naturally. 

“With my gastric sleeve, I was blessed with a beautiful and healthy 6-pound, 5-ounce baby boy named Gideon,” she says.

After the birth of her son, Getz decided that she wanted to become a runner, and was motivated by her aunt, Jeri Klick. One night, she drove herself to a track in Berwick, Pennsylvania, and gave it a go.

“I stretched like my elementary teacher taught me to do many years before, put my earbuds in (and put on my favorite song, “Independence Day” by Martina McBride) and put one foot in front of the other. I was off,” she says. “I was not fast, and I was struggling to breathe…but I was doing it.”

Since then, Getz has run multiple 5K races. She’s also started backpacking with her 1-year-old son, and started hunting again. 

“The world is a beautiful place when you take a moment to take care of yourself,” she says. “Weight-loss surgery is not the easy way out. It will test you in more ways than one and is just a tool to help you. Maintenance is key, and the scale does not define you. Know your worth, and do it for your health.”

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