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Meet patients who have successfully lost weight, kept it off, and changed their lives.
After trying “every diet under the sun,” without success, a health crisis on a medical missionary trip made her realize she had to get serious for herself.
She had gastric bypass surgery in 2005 and committed to a successful lifestyle transformation, losing and keeping off over 100 pounds. Kellie has completed spartan races, iron man triathlons, and a few dozen marathons. She became the program manager of Center for Bariatric Surgery several years after her procedure and helped hundreds of others on their weight loss journeys.
“While running about two years ago, I began to notice bruises around my hips, rashes on my skin, and significant discomfort,” said Kellie. “I wasn’t as comfortable in my body.”
She underwent a panniculectomy, or removal of excess skin on the abdomen, and elected to add a back lift to make the procedure a full truncal lift, or a 360-degree circumferential incision. Kellie was back to walking within a few days and was able to jog again after about eight weeks.
“Patients like Kellie who seek out body contouring surgery have worked really hard to lose all this weight and achieve a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Sullivan. “The surgery is that ‘last step’ which allows their bodies to match how they feel.”
“Both surgeries have given me back my health and improved my ability to be a better nurse, parent, and grammy,” said Kellie.
A severe asthma attack that landed her in the emergency department (ED) at The Miriam Hospital forced Belinda Clarke, BSN, RN, to finally make the life-changing decision to have weight-loss surgery.
In the ED, her EKG was abnormal. There is a history of heart attack and stroke on both sides of her family, Clarke said. At 292 pounds, the nurse realized she “was heading down the same path” unless she took action to lose weight.
The wife and mother of two has worked at The Miriam Hospital since 2013, first as a CNA and the last two years as a registered nurse. When she began caring for recovering weight-loss surgery patients in the special care unit, she met Kellie Armstrong, MS, RN, CBN, program manager of the Center for Bariatric Surgery. Armstrong’s own weight-loss surgery success story was an inspiration to her, Clarke said.
Beth Ann Ryder, MD performed Clarke’s Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. “She’s an amazing human being … the most compassionate doctor I’ve ever met,” Clarke said. “Dr. Ryder gave me a tool to take my life back.”
Having just dipped below the 200-pound mark three months after her September surgery, Clarke now feels she is an empathetic role model for her patients, since she can say, “Yes, I do know what it’s like.”
And she’s thrilled to be the active mom to her children that she wants to be. “They can’t keep up with me now,” Clarke said. “I’ve literally been given a second chance.”
"I'd been overweight for most of my life and struggled through every program imaginable, with success for a while, but always returning to old habits and behaviors. I contemplated surgery, but I was afraid. After seeing a photograph of myself and seeing how big and sad I was I knew I needed help. I made the call to The Miriam Hospital and was treated so kindly. Going to the initial consultation really changed my life. I saw the surgery as a tool to help me. I learned about my options. [In] my subsequent visits through pre-op I felt so prepared and informed. After surgery, the follow up and support was amazing. I wasn't sold a 'quick fix'; I was offered the opportunity to utilize a tool that can help me change my life and it absolutely did. I am tremendously grateful for all of the knowledge and support from the Center for Bariatric Surgery!"
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"I had the VSG on August 19, 2015. I made the decision to have surgery in November 2014. I called University Surgical Associates and requested an appointment with Dr. Roye. That day, I made a decision that changed my life. I attended my first weight-loss surgery (WLS) seminar on January 5, 2016. After seven months of seminars, psych visits, nutritional visits and health testing, I had VSG surgery done. My highest weight was 315 pounds, back in 2011. My surgery weight was 305 pounds. On the day of surgery, I was diabetic and had high blood pressure.
"It's been 21 months and I am completely healthy. I am no longer diabetic and my blood pressure now runs low. I have lost 130 pounds and have maintained this weight loss for the last six months. I go to the gym four days a week. I eat small portions and take in 100 grams of protein a day, and I am training to do my first half-marathon in August.
"I won’t say this journey has been easy. There is no easy fix to weight loss. My new stomach was only a tool given to me by my surgeon to help me in weight loss journey. But what I can say: It has changed me. I have learned that my life doesn’t need to revolve around food. I have learned to make better choices and understand that, since surgery, everything I eat and how I exercise will affect my journey, and to maintain my loss, I need to continue working at this every day."
"My surgery [in December of 2015] saved my life and I am so grateful for it!
"I have made lots of changes in my lifestyle in the past 18 months regarding nutrition and exercise, because surgery is a tool, and it only works if you do! I went from 243 pounds, extra-extra-large shirts and size 18/20 pants to 158 pounds, medium shirts and size 6/8 pants. I exercise five days a week (cardio and weights) and I have never felt better or had more energy.
"I am so appreciative of everyone at [The Miriam Hospital]!!"
Tammy Werner was 48 when she had gastric bypass surgery.
"I have done diets and exercise throughout my lifetime and have lost large amounts of weight. Each time, the weight has come back. As my age goes up and my health declines, I know I have to do something more.
"Getting the gastric bypass was the best thing that I have done for myself. Ever. The day of surgery I knew that I would wake up in pain and possibly nauseous but that all would be fine. I wore my Fitbit to the hospital and walked 10,000 steps a day. I have since been walking and exercising and I am healthier than I have been in a very long time and very happy!"
Rose struggled with her weight from childhood. With support from medically supervised weight management and bariatric surgery programs at The Miriam Hospital, Rose lost more than 125 pounds.
You Can Start Now
Take the first step: Complete our patient information seminar. Patients can now complete this seminar from the comfort of home. Take the orientation online »