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Bariatric Surgery Patient Story: Sandra Henry

In 2006, Sandra Henry weighed 380 pounds. She could barely climb the stairs and no longer could climb a ladder to perform household improvements like painting. Walking around was very hard on her legs and back, and she would be out of breath after only a few steps.

She was taking two high-blood-pressure medications, two asthma medications, and had to use a sleep apnea machine at night. Her doctor diagnosed her as border-line diabetic.

She knew that she needed to make a change.

A Life-Changing Solution

Sandra felt that if she didn’t try to lose the weight, she would end up dead. At first, she tried dieting by eating only salads for lunch without dressing, because this helped control heart burn.

However, she was not eating breakfast, and would eat a portion-controlled dinner. She managed to drop her weight down to 326 pounds.

But then her husband went into the hospital for a quadruple bypass at the same time that she was working full time, while going back to school part time. Her busy schedule caused her to regain weight to 350 pounds.

Shortly after her graduation from college in 2007, Sandra attended a bariatric surgery information session at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. With the school reimbursement money she received from her employer, she paid to join the presurgery program. She went to meetings and weigh-ins, and used the journal provided by the program to keep track of her daily meals.

Eventually she used an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of her daily goals, including eating habits, steps on her pedometer, exercise, and protein. Slowly, she started to see the weigh come off as she had more days at or below the targeted 1,200 calorie goal.

Winning Her Battle

After six months, Sandra weighed 301 pounds and was approved for surgery.

In February of 2009, Dr. Courcoulas performed a gastric bypass procedure on Sandra. During the year following her surgery, she lost 100 pounds and was feeling much better. Some of her exercises included walking in place while watching TV, walking around the parking lot at lunch, and walking during breaks at work. When she would fold laundry, she would fold and put away one piece at a time.

During the second year after surgery, she worked very hard, and lost another 50 pounds, bringing her weight down to 150 pounds.

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