Franciscan Center for Weight Management
Health milestones are sweeter when shared with a loved one. Just ask Sara and Woody, a local couple on the path to a major lifestyle transformation. In 2017, impressed by a co-worker’s weight loss success, Sara went to a Virginia Mason Franciscan Health seminar to learn more about gastric sleeve surgery, also called a sleeve gastrectomy.
At the free seminar, Sara met Dr. Troy Houseworth, MD, FACS, one of the state’s top bariatric surgeons. Dr. Houseworth explained the minimally invasive, robotic-assisted procedure and answered questions candidly, said Sara. Dr. Houseworth’s thorough, honest account of the recovery process and the lifestyle changes required for success helped her make up her mind, and she scheduled her surgery soon afterward.
“I had the procedure because I wanted my outside appearance to match the way I feel inside: lots of energy, exuberant, and excited. I wanted to be able to participate in life, do the fun things, and set a good example for my daughter,” said Sara.
Sara returned to work just 10 days after her surgery in August 2017. Over the coming months, her body transformed so quickly that she often forgot which section of the clothing store to shop in, she said. “At stores I’d find myself looking at clothes that used to fit me, and then remember those sizes no longer fit. I’ve had fun shopping for new clothes, and celebrating along the way.”
Sara lost 80 pounds in the first six months and reached her ultimate triple-digit weight loss goal by fall 2018. Freed from the knee pain and physical discomfort she used to experience, she’s taken up running and plans to train for a 5K.
Supporting Sara’s recovery and witnessing her success was motivating for Woody, Sara’s husband of 12 years. Woody’s delivery job kept him active, but his long shifts on the road made it difficult to eat healthfully. By 2018, he was ready for a change.
Woody’s surgery took place almost exactly a year after Sara’s, and his weight loss has been swift. Watching Sara make healthy changes helped prepare him for success, he said. “I was fortunate to go through this with my wife first, because I knew what to expect. I got to see how successful she’s been, and then have her as an at-home coach.”
The experience has been transformational for the entire family, Woody said. Instead of opting for heavy restaurant meals or fast food, they now prep healthy meals on weekends. Woody packs small, nutritious snacks for workdays and steers cleer of soda.
“This has changed my life, and I’m so glad I did it,” said Sara. “Surgery is not the ‘easy way out.’ You have to set yourself up for success each day. But you’re worth the investment.”
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