A Bariatric Success Story: Sherry Becomes a New Role Model for Herself and Her Children
Most of my adult life, I was overweight. On and off diets, I would lose weight temporarily, but never keep it off. A few years ago, I started to research bariatric surgery. Last year, I took that first step; by July I was undergoing my gastric bypass. I’ll never regret my decision, as I truly believe it saved my life.
I met with Dr. Louis Balsama – who was actually my dad’s surgeon when he had his gallbladder removed – and his team, and right away, I knew it was the right fit. Everyone was encouraging and helpful.
At the time, I was struggling with underactive thyroid issues, high blood pressure, and pre-diabetes. The last thing I wanted was for my health to get any worse.
Prior to surgery, I needed a cardiac workup, sleep study, psychological evaluation – all important steps to ensure I was a candidate for a safe and effective surgery. I’m a nurse, so I expected all of this. There are a lot of pre-operative steps, but they’re all worth it.
The day of surgery – July 14, 2020 – I remember being nervous, but more than anything I was confident in Dr. Balsama and ready to start living a healthier lifestyle.
Since my surgery, my lifestyle has changed tremendously. I have lost 125 pounds. I’m no longer on medications for my thyroid or blood pressure (and I’m no longer pre-diabetic). I’m able to work out more – at least 4-5 times a week – with less joint pain holding me back. I'm five pounds away from my goal weight, so, now, my daily motivation is to maintain. I know I have to stay on track and stay focused.
One of the biggest things I learned, nutrition-wise, was to always pay attention to what I’m putting in my body. It’s not stress relief; it’s nourishment. I seek out foods full of protein and nutrients that will benefit me. I cook healthier meals, which is great for my whole family. I feel like I’m being a better role model for my children, and they’re enjoying eating healthy with me.
My greatest non-scale victory is being able to go clothes shopping without crying. I used to dread stepping in the dressing room. Now, it’s so fun to try on cute, new clothes. Plus, I’m fitting into the same sizes as my 20-year-old daughter!
My advice for anyone considering or starting the bariatric surgery process is to find a support system and someone who can help hold you accountable. I am fortunate to have three friends who’ve also had surgery, and I also participated in support groups. Even if you’re talking to strangers, it’s helpful to share your experiences and learn from the experiences of others. Nobody is going to know what you’re going through better than someone who’s lived it.
If there was one thing I wish everyone knew about bariatric surgery, it would be that it’s not a quick fix. It doesn’t just make you stop eating. It’s a huge process to go through mentally, physically, and emotionally. Throughout it all, honesty is the best policy. You must be honest with your care team and yourself. Know your goals. Know why you’re getting surgery and commit to it. It's been a lot of work, but I would go through it all again if I had to.
Dr. Balsama’s team has been amazing to work with. They’re always there to answer questions, and I trust their expertise so much. They’re accessible, experienced, and compassionate. I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me.
To read more stories like Sherry's, and to learn more about bariatric surgery at Jefferson Health - New Jersey, click HERE.