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Weight-Loss Surgery Gives Woman Improved Health and a New Outlook on Life

January 2008 — Christie was ready to make an important change in her life. She was scheduled for open (or traditional) weight-loss surgery when she read an article about laparoscopic weight-loss surgery. Thomas Bass, MD, bariatric specialist and surgeon on the medical staff at Memorial Regional Hospital, was featured for his use of the minimally invasive procedure. Christie immediately made an appointment with Dr. Bass, saying, "This is what I have to do."

A Losing Battle

At 32 years old and 5'3 ", Christie was 273 pounds and morbidly obese. She had always struggled with her weight, but after her first daughter was born, not only was she unable to lose her pregnancy weight, but she also continued to gain. That was when she got serious about losing weight. She tried weight-loss systems and diet pills, and also worked with a dietitian and a physical trainer. After her second daughter was born, she even met with a physician who prescribed weight-loss medications (which she later learned were unsafe). And while she managed to lose 110 pounds with the medications, she gained it all back — and more — when she stopped taking them.

"I was short of breath every time I walked from the parking lot to the office, " says Christie. "I had chest pains and heartburn, too. " In addition, Christie's physician cautioned her about her increased risk of heart disease due to her family history and tested her for sleep apnea because she had many of the symptoms.

When Christie made the decision to undergo weight-loss surgery, her family was supportive and excited for her. "I was going to be a new person and would be able to do so much more with my family, " she says.

Renewed Health and Confidence

Christie was extremely pleased to lose 121 pounds in the first year after surgery. "I have so much more confidence in myself, " she says. "I feel better all over. I love it when people who haven't seen me for a while come into the office and say, 'Wow! You look great!' Some of them can hardly believe it's me. " She's also doing things she'd always dreamed of, like shopping for trendy clothes, swimming and enjoying a more active lifestyle with her husband and two daughters. And most important, her health has dramatically improved.

With a renewed focus on health, Christie is sharing her healthy habits with her family. "I watch what I eat and make sure my whole family is eating healthy and exercising, " she says. She has met with a dietitian regularly and goes to the gym 2-3 times a week, both important steps to help her maintain her new weight. "Christie did all the right things, " says Dr. Bass. "She has been very positive and upbeat about the procedure, and she embraced the lifestyle changes that were necessary for her to achieve the best results. "

"Where I am now is where I always wanted to be, " says Christie.