Jefferson Health

Sheila Relied on the Support Group Before and After Having Weight Loss Surgery

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"One of the best decisions of my life. I'm excited and thankful about what I have accomplished"

In January 2010, Shelia was tired of being tired. At 46 years of age and weighing more than 250 pounds, she struggled like many with being overweight for most of her life. She was taking medications for high blood pressure and diabetes. Sheila also had some other health issues but was advised by several doctors that if she lost weight, those problems might be solved.

Sheila was referred to Jefferson's Bariatric Surgery Program by her primary doctor. She had previously contacted the Program in 2008, received the paperwork in the mail but never took any action. Was I really ready to do something with this body of mine?, she thought. After much contemplation and prayer, she finally contacted Jefferson, again.

Once she expressed interest in the gastric bypass surgery, things started moving fast.

"I followed the procedures that were given and I completed all the necessary steps prior to scheduling a date for surgery. The only problem was me. I kept struggling with the question in my mind, 'Am I going to do this or not?'" she says.

She quickly realized it was time to get serious and make a change in her life that was for her and only for her.

"I scheduled a date, June 29, 2010. I was about to do something big," she recalls.

She started attending Jefferson's Bariatric Surgery Support Group a couple of months prior to her surgery.

"I talked to folks who had struggled with obesity for all or most of their lives. It felt so good to be able to talk to people who understood and not to be criticized for being overweight."

When it was time for the surgery, she was still a bit apprehensive but knew she had to do it.

Now, she's out of the Plus Size department.

"It was one of the best decisions of my life. I feel good, and I love me. I'm excited and thankful about what I have accomplished," she explains.

Sheila's journey wasn't easy. But what has helped her the most is sticking to the high protein diet, being disciplined and holding herself accountable.

In addition, she leans on the support group at Jefferson. She continues to attend the monthly meetings.

"I've developed friendships with other people who are dealing with obesity. I share my experience with others hoping that I can be an encouragement to someone and, at the same time, I'm encouraged."