Gastric Sleeve Surgery Patient Stories

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.

Read Amanda Thomas's story

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.

Read Susan Bassler's story

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.

Read Jacy Fricke's story

Judy Grimm: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

At age 56, Judy Grimm’s health was spiraling out of control. Her weight had started piling on along with increasing medical issues. When her doctor told her she was becoming pre-diabetic and probably wouldn’t live to see her grandchildren get married, she decided to take action. After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, she lost 95 pounds, dropped from a size 24 to a 12, and eliminated her medications and CPAP machine.

Read Judy Grimm's story

Kevin Gutknecht: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Kevin Gutknecht was already seriously overweight when his mother died suddenly. He soon started having medical problems. Diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, Kevin was taking a handful of pills every day. After losing 52 pounds, Kevin had gastric sleeve surgery at UPMC Hamot. Now 163 pounds, he recently competed in his first Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament.

Read Kevin Gutknecht's story

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.

Read Karen Maynard's story

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.

Read Amber Salisbury's story

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.

Read Jake Smith's story

Lindsay Smith: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Lindsay Smith was surrounded by bad eating habits and has dealt with flunctuating weight as a child. At 23 years-old and weighing around 268 pounds, Lindsay was borderline diabetic and suffered numerous knee dislocations. She decided to undergo gastric sleeve surgery and has lost over 100 pounds and has since maintained her weight at about 145 pounds.

Read Lindsay Smith's story

Deanna Ulrich: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

At the age of 47, Deanna Ulrich was tired and lacked energy. Putting on weight ever since she had kids, she knew it was time for a big change. Since undergoing a gastric sleeve procedure at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery Program, Deanna has lost 100 pounds and run the Pittsburgh Marathon.

Read Deanna Ulrich's story

Trevice Washington: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

As Trevice Washington got older, she noticed how easy it was to put on weight. After reaching almost 400 pounds and experiencing joint pain, Trevice turned to UPMC for gastric sleeve surgery and has lost 168 pounds.

Read Trevice Washington's story

Debbie Weismiller: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

As a cardiac nurse, Debbie Weismiller instantly knew something was wrong when she saw her EKG. With her family history of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke — plus a diagnosis of an enlarged heart, soaring blood pressure and borderline diabetes — she desperately needed to lose weight. She underwent gastric sleeve surgery and lost 100 pounds over the next year.

Read Debbie Weismiller's story