A Couple's Weight Loss Journey

Exploring Weight Loss Surgery Video Transcript

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Text, Exploring Weight Loss Surgery. The Essentia Health logo rotates and appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Here with you. Kacia Enge, a patient, speaks to the camera.

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KACIA ENGE: It's almost emotional sometimes, because, like I said, I necessarily didn't always feel that big. I didn't feel that obese.

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Shawn Enge, a patient, speaks to the camera.

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SHAWN ENGE: I wasn't happy with my weight that just kept on creeping up and up. And I just didn't ever feel comfortable. KACIA ENGE: I had weight all over. I could see it in my face. I could see it in every part of my body, legs, hands, everywhere. SHAWN ENGE: When I went in for surgery, I waited 325 pounds.

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Shawn, Kacia, and their children pose for a picture in their snowy backyard.

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Now I'm about 230, unbelievable difference. I mean, the energy level, it's an unbelievable change that by losing that much weight. You wouldn't think that it would be that much. But just after it all comes up, you have a spring in your step, I guess.

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Brenda Norby, P. A. C. , General Surgery and Bariatric Surgery, speaks to the camera in a patient room.

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BRENDA NORBY: Several patients will tell us things after they've lost weight that they can get into a car without thinking about what kind of car it is. They can get in a bus. They can go on a-- get in a booth. They can sit in the theater chair. They can go on a fair ride and things that we don't even think of that are huge, huge lifestyle changes for them. KACIA ENGE: It actually started with my husband, Shawn. He was interested in some weight loss surgery and learning the options. So we decided together to go to some interview meetings. Once I went, I just knew it was definitely something that I wanted to do. I knew it would be something that would change me and point me in the right direction for the rest of my life.

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Photograph of Kacia in a white wedding dress, holding multi-colored flowers, and smiling broadly.

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SHAWN ENGE: After we went to the meeting, she was like, oh, I want to do this. And I'm like, oh, OK. It sounds good. And she decided she wanted to do it first, and I'm like, wow, OK. That sounds good, and then I'll have an idea of what to expect and. KACIA ENGE: That's exactly what I said. I'm going to do it, and I'm going to do it first.

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Dr. Daniel Smith, general and bariatric surgeon, speaks to the camera from a patient room.

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DR. DANIEL SMITH: People come in and realize that they have an obesity problem will approach it in two ways. Some people want to try a medical weight loss approach first, and then if that's unsuccessful then, kind of, consider surgery. Other people want to go with surgery right away. SHAWN ENGE: Because it was time for me to make the life change and to get my weight down so I could do things with my kids. KACIA ENGE: For years, had tried to have family and then were unable to. So our first son is adopted. SHAWN ENGE: Before, I mean, we tried and tried and tried, and I mean, we exhausted all our avenues. That's when we decided to adopt. She had lost the weight, and all of a sudden, boom, we had Megan. And it was-- we were both like deer in the headlights. I guess I can contribute it to the weight loss, because I think that was the only thing that really changed.

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A newspaper article from January 5th, 2015, in Milnor, North Dakota. The headline reeds, Megan Enge is Sargent County's New Year Baby contest winner.

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KACIA ENGE: I always had wanted to be pregnant. I always wanted to have children. It probably was the best thing for it to have happened when it did. It happened after surgery. I was healthier. I was at a normal body weight. The pregnancy went amazing. Delivery was amazing. It was textbook, and I probably think that most of it was because I had previously had a weight loss surgery. And now raising children, we can seem to just be a better example. We know how to eat, and I'd like to teach them just the healthy things. Luckily, so far my children don't struggle with weight, but we would just like to maintain a healthy family. We like with our hobbies and our lifestyle, we're very on the go. SHAWN ENGE: When I go hunting now, I can walk for hours and it doesn't bother me. My knees don't hurt. My back doesn't hurt. Fishing, just moving around in the boat, getting up in and out of the water in the boat is so much easier. KACIA ENGE: In a small deer stand together morning and night. SHAWN ENGE: Yeah, we've got a lot more room now to move around. And here's the story. This one here is old. Now the one that I got last year is bigger than this one that she got now, but mine's still at the taxidermist.

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Shawn and Kacia walk together through the snow, wearing orange hunting gear and carrying equipment.

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The Essentia people were a big, big help. I mean, they were very supportive if we had any kind of questions. DR. DANIEL SMITH: One of the issues of the Center of Excellence is we're really obligated to at least be available for that patient's entire life, as far as the follow up of the bariatric patients. SHAWN ENGE: We ended up calling in the middle of the night, and actually, Dr. Smith called us back. The surgeon calls us, and I'm like this is pretty cool that we have the surgeon takes time out of his middle of the night and calls me back and says everything's fine. You can do this. And so that's a big help when you have that kind of support. KACIA ENGE: Always with an idea or a tip or a suggestion, and that's really what you need as you go through the journey is somebody there who they have so much experience and so much to offer. SHAWN ENGE: They are a very, very good support. KACIA ENGE: For me, they just seem like my family. SHAWN ENGE: When you step on the scale from one day to the next, it might be three pounds. It might be five pounds, it might be a two or three days before you step on it and it'll be 10 pounds.

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Kacia kneels and claps with her bundled up daughter in the snow.

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KACIA ENGE: I used to be 3x. Well, just to say that, to put it into perspective, to actually see something that big again. SHAWN ENGE: You're losing weight so fast that you don't really buy your clothes to keep up to that. So your like cinching things up, and pretty soon you're-- everything is just baggy. And I even had friends that said, you got to buy a different pants or shirt. KACIA ENGE: It was really fun probably for one time in my life to watch the scale and watch it go down consistently. I was different, because I was a different size. I finally felt like the normal population. I shopped at the same places everybody else shopped. I wore the same styles that everybody else wore. SHAWN ENGE: It took me a while to, kind of, buy clothes that actually do fit me. Because

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In an older photo, Shawn and Kacia pose in front of the Essentia Health, Lisbon clinic.

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when I was bigger, I wanted everything baggy and loose and so I could, kind of, hide the weight a little bit.

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KACIA ENGE: I remember hanging close to dry after the surgery and thinking, I can't believe my pants are only this big and they used to be this big.

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DR. DANIEL SMITH: We've done around 3,700. The current risk of the bariatric procedure when it's done in these Centers of Excellence, so the risk of surgery is actually less than having your gallbladder out at this point. So it's a-- we look at the risk balance situation that's really improved.

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SHAWN ENGE: I wish I would have did it years before I did it.

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KACIA ENGE: Sometimes it's hard to believe that I've come so far, but it just makes me, again, know that surely it was the right choice. I think it probably can work for most people if you just make the commitment to yourself.

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SHAWN ENGE: It's definitely a life change but for the good.

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Kacia holds an older pair of pants in front of her, the edges expand beyond her current silhouette. She allows the paints to drop to the floor, holding her arms out in presentation of her new form. The Essentia Health logo rotates and appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Here with you. Phone number, 218-732-2800. Text, For more information about medical weight loss and surgery, go to essentia health dot org, backslash, weight loss surgery.

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