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Gastric Sleeve Surgery Patient Stories

Cindy Sodersten: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Cindy Sodersten was tired of being in constant pain. Weighing nearly 400 pounds, she had difficulty walking even a short distance without gasping for breath. She finally turned to the bariatric experts at UPMC for help. Through a combination of gastric sleeve surgery, medicine, and consistent effort, Cindy lost more than 260 pounds in three years.

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Amanda Thomas: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

In 2021, Amanda Thomas was nearing 500 pounds. With myriad health concerns mounting and other interventions unsuccessful, Amanda decided to pursue gastric sleeve surgery at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. Now, she is almost 200 pounds down and enjoying a life full of richer experiences and more choices.

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Susan Bassler: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Susan Bassler had always been tall and strong, but when she reached 300 pounds it was a tipping point and led to her making a choice that would help her build a life she never imagined.

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Jacy Fricke: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Jacy Fricke will never forget the day she made the life-changing decision to have bariatric surgery. “I literally woke up that morning and said to myself, ‘I just can’t continue like this,’” she says.

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Karen Maynard: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

As a high school and college athlete, Karen Maynard could eat with reckless abandon. But when she stopped playing sports, her daily intake of 5,000-plus calories continued. As her weight crept up she yo-yo dieted, losing 25 to 50 pounds at a clip — then gaining it all back and more. It wasn’t until her younger sister had a heart attack at age 37 that Karen got serious about weight loss. Ultimately, she opted to have bariatric surgery. Today, she’s an avid runner getting ready for her first marathon.

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Amber Salisbury: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Amber Salisbury had an important reason for undergoing gastric sleeve surgery for weight loss in August 2021: an embryo in storage. "I knew I needed to be as healthy as possible for this baby," she says.

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Matt Schleicher: Life After Weight Loss

Before and after picture of Matt.

Weighing an all-time high of 435 pounds, Matt Schleicher knew he needed to make a change. After a successful gastric sleeve surgery helped Matt drop 230 pounds, he had excess skin to shed in order to stick with his new workout routine. That’s when he turned to UPMC’s Life After Weight Loss program.

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Jake Smith: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

As a child, Jake Smith was always the biggest kid in class. In grade school he had to kneel for soccer photos to match his teammates in height. Despite his husky build, he was active throughout high school. By senior year he no longer was the tallest, but he was the heaviest as his weight edged up to 280 pounds.

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