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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. It was Jan. 18, 2017 and she weighed nearly 480 pounds.

“I literally woke up that morning and said to myself, ‘I just can’t continue like this,’” she says.

She never looked back. The 33-year-old contacted the UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital’s Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery Program. She had gastric sleeve surgery 10 months later.

Now 35, Jacy has lost a total of 227 pounds. She keeps moving toward her dream of dipping under 200 pounds for the first time in her adult life.

Being overweight has been a lifelong struggle for Jacy Fricke of Bellevue.

In her mid-20s, she lost 85 pounds while on a diet. But then “I fell off the wagon and gained it all back — and then some,” she says.

Still, she didn’t worry too much about her weight. Not until she realized how much she struggled to play with her nieces and nephews.

A Look into the Future if She Didn't Lose Weight

“It finally hit me that I couldn’t keep up. I was always out of breath. My knees and ankles hurt all the time from the weight I carried,” says Jacy.

“I started thinking about the future and what life would be like if I had children of my own,” she says.

Jacy worried that her overall health would worsen, too, if she didn’t lose weight.

“I was lucky. My only health problem was mild acute sleep apnea,” she says.

But she knew heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other health problems result from being overweight.

Taking Action: Gastric Sleeve Surgery

She reached out to UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in early 2017 and began the bariatric surgery application and screening process.

Jacy had wanted to have gastric surgery for years, but her health insurance at the time didn’t cover it. But a new job — and new insurance — cleared the way for gastric sleeve surgery.

During the required six-month pre-surgery lifestyle program, Jacy met with dietitian coordinator Lindsey Lee for monthly weigh-in sessions. Lindsey also offered guidance on the lifestyle and diet changes Jacy needed to make for long-term weight loss success.

Jacy was down 85 pounds by the time Bestoun H. Ahmed, MD, performed surgery the day after Thanksgiving, on Nov. 24, 2017.

An Amazing Journey

Jacy Frick Bariatric Services Patient Story | UPMCTwo years later, Jacy’s weight is down to 253 — having lost another 142 pounds since surgery.

The quality assurance coach with a Pittsburgh credit card processing servicing company is confident she’ll reach her goal weight of 199.

“I chose that target [199 pounds] because I’ve never had my weight starting with 100 as an adult,” says Jacy.

Her work colleagues tell her she’s a constant source of inspiration to them. She even led a weight loss team in a competition at the office.

Today, Jacy no longer struggles with aches, pains, and shortness of breath. She’s also more active. She has dramatically reduced her body mass index (BMI) from a high of 62 to 36 today.

“I’m able to go up and down steps like I never could before. And once I start on a long walk with my dog, Nidas, I never want to stop,” she says. “Most of all, I love my time playing with my five nieces and four nephews. And there are twins on the way!

“The weight loss has been amazing,” admits Jacy. “But it’s more than just having clothes that fit better. I feel better, and I’ve gained so much confidence. The experience has truly changed my life.”

Note: This patient's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

Read more gastric sleeve surgery patient stories.