Healthier lifestyle after bariatric surgery program

After a concerning diagnosis of diabetes prompted her to take control of her health, this ARC patient embarked on a transformative journey toward a healthier lifestyle thanks to ARC's bariatric surgery program.

See how she was able to feel more energized, be more active, and go off medication with support from her ARC care team.

Devastated by a diagnosis

Cynthia H.'s journey began with shortness of breath, which was unusual for her. "I've always been a healthy, active plus-sized woman," Cynthia says.

She went to see ARC's Swati D. Date, MD, Internal Medicine. The next day, Dr. Date called to say her bloodwork indicated diabetes.

"I was so scared. My mom and my aunts all passed at a young age because of health problems associated with diabetes."

Cynthia immediately made changes to her eating habits. She also began taking her prescribed diabetes medication but quickly noticed side effects such as blurred vision and extreme fluctuations in her blood sugar levels. She became determined to get control of her health, but she wasn't sure how.

"I was very, very depressed," she says.

An educated, supported decision

Cynthia reached out to ARC's Healthiness Program for information about bariatric surgery. She also spoke to friends and family members who'd had success with the procedure. Cynthia learned that the surgery could help her limit her portions, exactly what the nutritionist had recommended to manage her diabetes. Could this be her answer?

Cynthia saw ARC's bariatric surgeon, Marco Vinicio Medina-Zea, MD, FACS, FASMBS. At their first visit, Dr. Medina told Cynthia that to qualify for surgery, she would have to commit to lifestyle changes that included a healthy diet and reasonable daily activity. With support and encouragement, especially from her son, Cynthia was determined to make those changes.

"We want patients to prioritize exercise along with good, healthy food and to stay away from processed foods," Dr. Medina explains. "This really clicked with Cynthia."

Tangible, sustainable results

Cynthia spent the next four months integrating healthy food choices and daily walks into her life. Then, she had her surgery. The effects were immediate and satisfying. Within the first two months, Cynthia went from 295 pounds to 252 pounds. "I sleep better, my clothes fit more comfortably, I tie my sneakers without feeling light-headed, and I walk a little faster up those hills where I live," she says.

Best of all, her blood sugar has stabilized. "When a patient loses significant weight and is very strict with diet, they tend to get off anti-diabetic medications after bariatric surgery. And that was the case with Cynthia." Dr. Medina says.

A new commitment to wellness

Next she plans to gradually increase the mileage on her daily walks and begin lifting weights. She is also considering learning how to ride a horse.

"I'm going to do everything I can to stick to the program and spread the word that this procedure can help change your lifestyle," she says. "And I plan to support others, just like others have supported me."

For gatherings, she and her family now include healthy food options such as baked cauliflower, which Cynthia enjoys as an alternative to chips. Similarly, at her recent 50th birthday celebration, Cynthia passed on the cake. "I enjoyed a tamale instead," she says.

Tags: Bariatric Surgery, Weight Loss