I am forever grateful to Dr. O and OCC – not only for surgery but for letting me be part of so many other patient journeys for all these years!
Lori’s background includes years of customer service. She studied business management in school. Her employment history began serving as the circulation manager for an investment newsletter, and then the office manager for a Vocational Rehabilitation firm specializing in injuries related to workers' compensation, and as a Marketing Analyst at a small, boutique bank, where she worked with customers to develop new products. Her goal has always been to discover better ways to meet the needs of customers. She believes her calling is in serving others and providing personalized support.
Lori has been with OCC since 2006, she started as a Patient Care Coordinator shortly after coming to Dr. Ortiz for Lap Band Surgery. She is now Lead Patient Coordinator overseeing our team of coordinators and making sure that all patients have access to all the information they need to decide about undergoing bariatric surgery and acting as a liaison between the patients and the surgical team.
In addition to assisting patients with their pre- and post-surgery needs, she manages our online support groups and forums, focused on finding better ways to provide the support our patients need before and after surgery, and to improve communication between patients and OCC.
“I get a lot of private messages from people asking how I’ve done with my sleeve, how I’ve REALLY done long term. I think so many things have failed for us over the years, that we are afraid to believe that this could really work and be long-lasting.
I had an appointment yesterday with my doctor, and I was cold, so I had on jeans, tank, shirt, sweater, scarf, and heavy socks and boots… so I was seriously winter dressed (don’t we all usually wear “lightweight clothes” when we know we are going to get weighed lol).
My weight on the scale fully clothed was 147.1. I’m 5’7”, the jeans I was wearing were a 6 (I go between 4, 6 and an occasional 8, depending on brand and how I want it to fit. I had my sleeve surgery 4/12/2012 so I’m almost 6 years out (my original band surgery was 6/2006 – you’ll find more info on that in my blog).
I did go under 140 for a short time (naked weight) after my surgery, but it was too skinny for me (and way too skinny for my hubby!) – I’m really happy in my mid-40’s and haven’t had trouble maintaining a healthy weight – so it really DOES work. You have to work it too… but when I say I love my sleeve, I really do love my sleeve!” To learn more about Lori Wrights’ journey, watch her interview.
1. Did you struggle with weight during your childhood?
2. What was your highest weight?
3. When did you decide you needed help or was there one specific turning point you recall?
4. What options did you explore (other surgeons, diets, exercise)?
5. What were you scared about?
6. Who supported you in your journey?
7. How was the experience prepping for surgery?
8. How was the experience traveling to OCC (plane, hotel, the night before surgery, and other details)?
9. What was your first impression walking in the door at OCC?
10. What surgery did you have?
11. What was the recovery like?
12. How much weight have you lost?
13. What is your best advice for someone else considering bariatric surgery?
14. What is one of your favorite stories you have encountered being a coordinator at OCC?
15. What is your favorite thing about working for OCC?
I always struggled with some weight as a child, but my struggles with being really overweight started with my first miscarriage. I soothed myself with food and that would become a battle that lasted more than 20 years. I still have to be mindful of that.
My highest recorded weight was 282, but I’m sure I went higher than that.
I had been doing Weight Watchers for years – I was even a Leader’s Assistant for a while – but after my miscarriage, I really gave up. Then, through fertility treatments, I gained weight, then through each of my pregnancies/miscarriages, I kept gaining. I wasn’t considered heavy enough or sick enough for any treatment in the US, but I was doing some research on alternatives and found Obesity Control Center.
Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Diet Pills, every diet you can think of. Even if I lost weight, I would gain it back, sometimes more than I’d lost.
Not keeping up with my children, not being here for them. And getting sick. Even though I was obese, I didn’t have the other health issues… yet… but I knew I could not avoid those forever.
My husband and best friend. I was pretty secretive about it because I didn’t want people hearing Mexico and freaking out (which actually happened after the fact!)
It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t hard. I knew by doing this right, I was preparing myself for a safer surgery, and I was running towards that hope at full speed.
Since I’m in California, we drove in the night before. I wasn’t scared, I was excited. But I kept waiting for the “scary Mexico” to happen… that never happened. After 14 years, that has still never happened.
I have had a lot of surgeries in my life, but none of them compared to the amazing OCC facility, the care I received before and after surgery, and the ease and recovery of surgery. It was like a dream. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.
I had the band in 2006, and a sleeve revision in 2012. (More at my blog HERE.)
It was all a breeze, I recovered very quickly. The only time I had any pain or issue was when I wasn’t following the post-op guidelines for physical limitations the first few weeks after surgery. I felt so good that I was going too much too soon.
Don’t put it off! For everyone I’ve spoken with, all the thousands of patients I’ve worked with, their biggest regret was not doing it sooner!
Honestly, it’s the sleeve babies. The families that are happening because of this! And the rainbow babies… those are incredibly special.
Helping other people! Being a part of their journey. And it’s not just about weight loss… this journey can help people find themselves again, become that version of themselves that was trapped and hiding and either stopping them from doing things they really wanted to do or taking that leap of faith. Maybe it was leaving a toxic relationship, starting a new business venture, going on that amusement park ride they couldn’t fit on before, starting a family, belly dancing, running a marathon, finding their true love, going to a reunion, not being the biggest person in a room, just venturing out and finding their confidence.
OCC’s epidemiologist is closely monitoring the COVID-19 status and is actively issuing updates as they are available. The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are the most trusted sources online. While the CDC has announced new mask protocols for vaccinated individuals, there will be no changes for our office protocols for patients, guests, and staff members as the announcement does not apply to hospitals or medical facilities. Masks are still a requirement for all patients, guests and staff at our facility.
As we reinitiate weight loss surgery, we are constantly adapting and installing new and updated safety measures.
Weight loss surgery is medically necessary.
Bariatric Surgery and the clash of two pandemics.
Major metabolic and bariatric surgery Societies and colleges globally are now calling for the safe resumption of bariatric and metabolic surgery before the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over.
The sooner bariatric surgery can be safely performed, the quicker obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases can be reduced or resolved as they are not only chronic they are also progressive. Obesity is also linked to more than 40 diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and at least 13 different types of cancer.
A recent statement from the ASMBS says “Before COVID-19 began, it was clear that patients with obesity were ‘safer through surgery.’ In the era of COVID-19, ‘safer through surgery’ for patients with obesity may prove to be even more important than before.” Obesity and Metabolic syndrome have been identified as an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes including death among COVID-19 patients.