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A Bariatric Success Story – Meghan Burns Regains Comfort and Confidence After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

January 8, 2021

Life happens. It’s not about falling; it’s about how quickly you catch yourself and get back on track. This is the most important thing I’ve learned throughout my journey with bariatric surgery.

I struggled with my weight for years. I tried dieting, personal trainers, medications – all of which failed. I lost a few pounds here and there, but I never made any significant improvements. I was frustrated, I was sad, and I didn’t like how I saw myself. I felt like I was trapped in a hole.

My doctor finally suggested that I meet with Dr. Marc Neff, with the Jefferson Health Bariatric Surgery Program in New Jersey. A unit secretary at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital, I’ve worked with him many times, but I never realized I was a candidate for surgery.

I was hesitant to sign up right away. My turning point was on a vacation with my friend. We went zip lining, and as we were trying to climb up the mountain, I had to stop for so many breaks. I couldn’t catch my breath. I also felt disgusting in the harness, like it was sticking to me.

I knew then, I just wanted to be able to live and enjoy my life without being uncomfortable. I attended a bariatric surgery seminar, and it gave me so much excitement and hope. That’s when it clicked – there was a way for me to do this!

A short three months later, in February 2019, I had gastric sleeve surgery. I have lost a total of 130 pounds!

My life has completely changed in the best ways possible. I can finally do things that I’ve wanted to do for years. I have confidence in myself again. I can go out and feel comfortable in my clothes – even in a bikini! I’m no longer ashamed or sad. I’m no longer hiding away in that hole.

The victory that means the most to me is that I’m able to wear my grandmother’s wedding ring again. It’s a size four, and it fit me once before, years ago. After she passed away, I started to gain weight. It was always my goal to be able to wear it again, and now, I can!

I couldn’t have done this without such a big support system, and my care team is definitely part of that. Dr. Neff has been wonderful through everything. I see my dietitian, Cheri Leahy, once a month still, and she’s my best friend. The entire staff has been incredibly helpful, especially Alicia DiMatteo, who works at the front desk and goes above and beyond whenever I contact her.

My family has stood by my side from the start, and I can’t thank them enough. They were there when I went in for surgery; they were there when I woke up; and they’re there now – whenever I have any doubts or concerns – to remind me where I’ve been. I’m also lucky to have a group of friends who’ve also undergone surgery, and we constantly pick each other back up.

If you’re hesitant to have surgery, ask yourself: are you ready for a new life and new feeling?

It is scary at first, but if you aren’t scared, you aren’t doing it right! I believe that sometimes you have to push your limits. Don’t wait. Get out of that hole you’ve put yourself in.