When Jordan Button was 23 years old, she made a life-altering decision. At 5’8” and 271 pounds, she had struggled for most of her young life to manage her weight—and she had failed.
“Overall, I was still in OK health,” says Button, “with no illnesses related to my weight. But I didn’t want to develop diabetes or heart disease, either. I was tired all the time. I was uncomfortable. I had no motivation and no drive, either personal or professional, and a lot of that was related to my weight.”
Diet and exercise alone weren’t working
Programs to modify her diet and exercise more (which she had attempted too many times to count) didn’t work because they left her hungry all the time. Determined to get a handle on her future and her health once and for all, she began investigating bariatric surgery.
Weight loss surgery is not a solution for everyone, Button discovered through her extensive research into potential weight loss procedures. Body mass, health status, and other factors, including psychosocial matters, determine who is a suitable candidate. She met all the criteria and commenced a serious search.
Reaching out for expert help
Determined to find a lasting solution to her constant hunger, Button researched her options and decided she wanted to more seriously explore the adjustable gastric banding procedure, also known as the lap-band procedure. “The band appealed to me because it isn’t permanent,” she says.
After the lap-band procedure, a banding device significantly reduces the amount of food that can be introduced to the stomach. In this way, it reduces hunger by making patients feel full faster and stay full longer. They can eat less and still feel satisfied as a result.
Ultimately, Button decided she wanted to pursue a weight loss surgery that makes no permanent changes to the digestive system. “I wanted the option to be able to make adjustments at any time in my life, including if and when I decide to have children,” Button says.
She began her search for a surgeon to perform the procedure (also called Lap-Band surgery) in her native San Bernardino, going so far as to meet with a surgeon there. But ultimately, she continued her search. “It’s a big decision, choosing who will perform weight loss surgery on you,” she says.
In the end, a former patient of William Fuller, MD, referred her to Scripps Clinic. “From the first minute I met Dr. Fuller,” she says, “I felt safe and comfortable. But he was also challenging and demanding. He pushed me, and he challenged me, and before agreeing that the lap band procedure was right for me, he asked me questions that I didn’t always have answers to. He even asked me questions I didn’t even know I should be asking.”
Ongoing support and care
After her surgery, the weight started coming off. Eighteen months post-procedure, she had lost pounds. Prior to bariatric surgery, Jordan wore a size 22; she now wears clothing in the size 4-6 range. And all along, even though she lives far from Scripps Clinic, she has continued to receive follow-up care and support from her San Diego weight management team. “I moved to North Dakota for school,” she explains, “but that doesn’t mean I’m not still in close contact with Dr. Fuller’s office. They’re still giving me great follow-up care today.”
How does she feel about her decision to have a weight loss procedure in her early 20s? “Most days, no matter what the scale and my clothes say, I still feel heavy, to be honest,” Button says. “I haven’t really grasped the magnitude of my outcome yet. My target weight was 150 pounds. and I’m below that now. I don’t plan to intentionally lose any more weight, though. My energy levels are much higher, I’m more active, and I try things now I never would have imagined before my weight loss surgery.”