One Surgery, a Lifetime of Differences

One Surgery, a Lifetime of Differences

What’s the difference between 250 and 154 pounds?

For Michelle Sweeney, the difference is more than 96 pounds. Her weight loss means the difference between a mom who sits in the shade watching her kids swim, and a mom who challenges her daughter to a race in the pool.

It means the difference between a mom who apologizes to her kids for not having the energy to play, and a mom who plans an after-dinner family bike ride around the neighborhood.

It means the difference between an unhealthy 33-year-old whose favorite meal is chicken and dumplings, and a fit 34-year-old who prefers grilled salmon.

Gastric bypass surgery has made a difference in nearly every aspect of Michelle Sweeney’s life.

For most of her life, Michelle was overweight. “Even as a high school junior, when I was on the tennis team and playing five days a week, I weighed 175,” she remembers. “Through the years I’d lose some weight, then end up gaining back more than I lost.” In June 2008, Michelle decided to step off the roller coaster for good by exploring weight loss surgery. 

She remembers her first meeting with Dr. Kerlakian. “He did a great job of educating me about the procedure, and explaining what I needed to do — and why — before surgery.” In the weeks that followed she met with a dietitian, an exercise physiologist, and had several exercise sessions at TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion to prepare herself for her new, post-surgery life. “I especially liked learning all of the water exercises since my daughter is a swimmer.” After a second meeting with Dr. Kerlakian, and a confirmation from her insurance company that the procedure would be covered, Michelle was fully committed.

A year later she says the surgery and the post-surgery pain was scary, but well worth it. “I had no interest in being a hero and going off the pain medications early,” she laughs. Instead, she allowed herself two full weeks to recover, and is still glad she did. “Everything healed perfectly. The scar is minimal,” she says.

Today, nearly 100 pounds lighter, Michelle is not only happy for herself, but for her three children too. Now they have a mom who is an eager participant in their sporting events. And they have a new set of rules to live by. “At the grocery we all look at nutrition labels to determine which foods are best for us,” Michelle explains. “It’s funny how my surgery has benefited the entire family. We’ve all learned to make better food choices.”

Tags Wellness and Fitness