Exercise and Fitness

Sara Bustetter: Weight Lost, Life Gained

Following her gastric bypass surgery, Sara Bustetter lost 100 pounds and has said goodbye to her physical and mental weight. At 49, Sara feels younger, happier and healthier than she has in her entire life.

Sara has battled weight issues since she was 12 years old. Throughout high school, she steadily gained more weight until her senior year when her health took a turn for the worse. Sara developed an eating disorder. She lost weight rapidly, and both her physical and mental health was at the lowest it had ever been.

Although she found great happiness in her family life, Sara continued to struggle with her health. Over the next 12 years, Sara would be happily married with a family that grew to three children. With each child, Sara watched the numbers on the scale go up and found it more and more difficult to lose the weight.

By her third and last child, Sara was up to 300 pounds. She had high cholesterol, was a pre-diabetic and her mental health was at the worst it had been in her entire life.

In an attempt to get control of the situation, Sara had a lap band surgery, which placed a band around her stomach. She quickly dropped 40 pounds, but the lap band caused erosion and esophageal issues that set back her improvement. Sara found herself back at square one: overweight, unhealthy and depressed.

The Wakeup Call

Within a few months, Sara found herself to be short of breath, regularly tired and unable to exert moderate amounts of energy. She had believed it must be bronchitis. What else would explain these symptoms?

It took one scary day at work to expose all that had been going on inside of Sara’s body. It was a typical day, but when Sara walked 10 steps across the room, she felt that she had to immediately sit down. She couldn’t breathe and was feeling weak. Sara was rushed to the emergency room.

The doctors conducted blood tests and an MRI to reach an unsettling diagnosis: Sara had pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium, two thin layers of a sac-like tissue that surrounds the heart). She had been carrying over 260 pounds of weight with a failing heart.

In conjunction with the diagnosis, Sara had a defibrillator put in and was taking medication to help control her heart. “I didn’t know if I was going to die young or be really immobile,” Sara recalls.   "I just did not see myself losing weight. I was so scared I was going to have a heart attack."

Choosing Weight-Loss Surgery

Because of her unsuccessful lap band surgery, Sara was convinced that other options were not possible, until her primary care physician suggested gastric bypass surgery. Once aware of the option, Sara immediately agreed to this and believed it would change her life for the better.

In the fall of 2015, Kevin Tymitz, MD, a TriHealth bariatric surgeon, removed Sara’s lap band and performed gastric bypass surgery. Sara notes this day as “the start of her life.” Immediately, Sara began losing weight, exercising and feeling great. Her heart rate was even starting to improve.

Six months after surgery, Sara lost 75 pounds. The doctors did an electrocardiogram and dejection fraction, which was in the high 40s. By a bit of a surprise, her heart rate and productivity had improved incredibly.

Other than the physical aspect of losing 100 pounds, Sara explains that her life is incredibly better. “As the weight was coming off, the emotional and negative inner dialect was going away as well,” Sara says.

Sara is still working and spending time with her children. She doesn’t think twice about stepping out into crowded, public places. With the loss of her weight, she also lost a lot of negative heaviness that had been holding her back from living her life.

Not only does Sara tout the physical benefits of the weight loss, she advises others, “Be prepared to say goodbye to that emotional weight loss. I’m just truly happy. My life began with the surgery, and I’m going to live it to the fullest.”

Tags Exercise and Fitness , Weight Loss

Last Updated: June 23, 2017