September 2019 - Northwest Weight & Wellness Center
425.224.8200 | F: 224.8299
425.224.8200 425.224.8299
Jeanne’s Bariatric Success

Jeanne’s Bariatric Success

Jeanne had a sleeve gastrectomy at NWWC in August 2016.

What is the best part about this journey?

Getting healthy is the best part. I find that I can do so much more in my life. I’m more social. I get out and I meet more people. I’m doing more projects at home. I don’t have heartburn anymore. I have bursitis in my hip and occasionally it flares up but not like before. I exercise, which felt very difficult to do before because I got winded. We just got back from Disney World. For 7 days, I walked the park and didn’t struggle with it at all. It was so hot and muggy and I was pushing my son in the wheelchair up the hills. If I would have gone 3 years ago, there’s no way I would have survived. I wouldn’t have done anything.

Shopping is amazing now. Before, I couldn’t find anything. I wouldn’t shop because I would get depressed that the clothes wouldn’t fit. Now I can shop on clearance and find clothes that fit.

My main reason for having surgery was not just to lose the weight but to prevent diabetes. My grandmother had 9 children and all but 1 had diabetes. My brother and sister have diabetes. My mother passed away from diabetes. I didn’t want that. I was told surgery could prevent diabetes. So far, I don’t have it.

It helps you enjoy your life and puts into perspective what’s important and what’s not. Before, food was important and now it’s not. I have a whole different relationship with food.

What has been the hardest part?

In the beginning, the protein shakes were really hard for me. I didn’t like the taste and I really struggled with drinking them. Over time, I’ve learned to love them. Now every morning I have a protein shake and take my vitamins.

The other hard part was that I was never hungry so I had to remind myself to eat. When I went back to work, I had to prepare things like meats or cheeses to have on hand because I would forget to eat. It was hard for me to remember. I would keep snacks in my purse so I could munch on something when I needed to eat.

Outside of that, I really didn’t struggle with anything. It was the simplest surgery I ever had. Everything just kind of came natural for me after surgery. Mentally, physically, it came easy.

What goals did you set for yourself? Have you made progress towards those goals?

My goal was to lose weight and I lost 20 pounds more than my goal.

I wanted to be able to get out more and start exercising. I’ve been out a lot more – walking and doing things. For my exercise routine, I use the treadmill for 30 minutes and lift weights at the gym.

I wanted to just be healthier. I do believe that I eat healthier now. Before, I would eat because the food was there. I used to overeat and feel so miserable. Now, food is like fuel for my body. I eat because I need to feed my body. I don’t overeat. I don’t eat a lot of sugar. I try to plan my meals out. When I’m hungry, I eat meat or cheese and vegetables.

What advice would you give those who want to pursue weight loss surgery?

I would highly recommend it to anyone with weight issues. I’ve been there. You become like a hermit because you’re embarrassed and you don’t feel good. Think long-term about your health and how much happier you will be to be able to go out and do things. You’re going to feel so much better. People tell me, “But I love to eat and I won’t be able to eat.” You can eat. You just eat small amounts. You’re not going to feel as hungry so it allows you to make better choices.

I wish I would have done it years ago when I was raising my kids because I could have done so much more with them. If I were speaking to a younger person, I would say, “Do it now to be able to enjoy time with your children.” Now I can enjoy time with my grandkids. I kick the soccer ball and run with them.

I don’t try to push anybody into it. It’s an individual decision. Look into it. Talk to people. You have to be ready. That was something Dr. Michaelson told me the very first time I met him. He said, “This is a tool. If you think you’re going to come in and have this surgery and it will do it for you, don’t bother doing it. You have to be ready to do the work.” I was ready to do the work and I continue to do the work.

The Scoop on Collagen

The Scoop on Collagen

Collagen supplements have become increasingly popular with their touted health benefits of improving skin health, alleviating joint pain, increasing muscle mass, and even promoting weight loss. But is there evidence to support these claims?

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It is a structural protein naturally occurring within connective tissues, such as skin, bone, cartilage, and tendons. As you age, your body produces less collagen.

Collagen, like all proteins, is made from amino acids. Tryptophan is one amino acid that the body cannot produce; you have to get it from your diet. Since collagen does not contain the amino acid tryptophan, it is not considered a complete source of protein.

Collagen is found naturally in food sources such as bone broth, fish, egg whites, and spirulina. Eating foods high in vitamin C and zinc can help the body to produce collagen. Some dietary and lifestyle factors, such as high sugar intake and smoking, can damage your body’s collagen. In its whole form, collagen is not easily absorbed by the body. Many supplements contain collagen peptides which have been broken down to make them easier to digest.

Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements range from powders and capsules to bars and baked goods. When reviewing the popular brands, serving sizes vary greatly. For one product, 6 capsules a day provide 3.3 grams of collagen peptides and costs $38. In another product, 2 scoops of powder provide 20 grams of collagen peptides and costs $25. So price, serving size, and collagen content vary widely, much like other protein supplements. If you choose to supplement with collagen, consider which option will work best for your lifestyle and budget.

Another controversy remains over safety. There is not much evidence to suggest that collagen supplements are unsafe but it’s important to consider the source of these products when doing your research. Bovine hide, chicken bones, and fish skin are common ingredients and may have potential for metal and toxin buildup within your body. Companies have begun to address these concerns with labeling such as “grass fed,” “pasture raised,” “ethically sourced”. Many companies label their product to acknowledge that they test for heavy metals to ensure they are safe to consume.


In short, collagen supplementation has the potential to promote positive health benefits, but with research still in early stages, there is little conclusive evidence to fully support these claims. If you do choose to supplement your diet with collagen, strive to include it as part of a balanced diet rich in a variety of protein sources, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains.

Staff Spotlight: April Raber

Staff Spotlight: April Raber

NWWC Staff Spotlight

Name: April Raber

Role: Patient Care Coordinator (PCC)

Joined NWWC: July 2013

Personal Life: April was born in Yakima and grew up on the Eastside suburbs of Seattle before settling in the Snohomish area. She has two children: her artistic adult daughter, Tessa, and her recent high school graduate son, Talon. Her 2 sisters and 4 brothers are spread throughout Oregon, Idaho, and Washington and she just welcomed her newest niece, Maizie, on July 28th.

Life Before NWWC: April has had many roles in the service industry including medical records management, childcare, restaurant hostess, and supporting an ophthalmologist. She became a certified medical assistant (CMA) in 2002 and was the lead CMA in a pediatric office in Mill Creek for 9 years. She joined our team as a CMA and transitioned into the PCC role in March 2018.

A Day in Her Job: As a PCC, April primarily supports Dr. Chock and Dr. Montgomery’s patients in navigating their preoperative journey. She attends information seminars to greet new patients, meets with patients during their surgical consults, schedules their appointments, ensures they are completing the insurance and program requirements, and works closely with the insurance team for submission. She acknowledges that the pre-op process can be overwhelming for patients. “I tell patients that anytime they get scared, I’m a phone call away. No question is silly.”

She compares her job to gardening. “You take a seed and tend to it, water it, and pluck weeds, such as anxious or negative thoughts patients might be having. Sometimes it’s painful and messy but it grows into something beautiful and adds to this garden. I love seeing my patients after surgery as they start blossoming.”

What Else to Know about April:

  • She overcame a major phobia of needles to become a CMA. When she looked at needles, her ears would ring and she’d have tunnel vision. She and her friend Kim joined a CMA program together and Kim supported her to overcome her fear. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.” When she was faced with doing her first blood draw, she almost passed out, but she did it! It took 8 weeks of practice before she stopped having bodily reactions. In overcoming her fear, April was inspired to improve her phlebotomy skills to put other people with needle phobias at ease. “I wanted to be so soft-handed that you wouldn’t feel the needle.”
  • In preparation to become an empty nester, she decided to pursue some hobbies. She had started learning to play guitar from her dad before he passed away. In June, she started professional lessons and is learning to play “Shallow” and “Broken Halos”. She has also thought about putting her medical skills to use in travel abroad missions. “I have not been brave enough to take the jump yet.”
  • She loves hiking and camping in the Cascades and would spend even more time in the wilderness if she found an experienced backpacking buddy. “I love exploring new areas and saying, ‘Look where we get to stay tonight!’” If you want to be April’s backpacking buddy, let her know! She’ll bring the guitar to serenade you around the campfire. 🙂