Bariatric Surgery Helps Obese Patients Regain HealthTami Salyerds was proud to celebrate Healthy Weight Week in January. The campaign marked four years since Salyerds decided to take control of her life by undergoing gastric bypass surgery.
At 406 pounds, Salyerds had realized that her obesity was seriously affecting her life. By the age of 30, she already suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma due to lifelong weight issues. She did not want her children to see her slowly die from these side effects.
“Being morbidly obese affected every aspect of my life,” said Salyerds. “It affected how I spent time with my family and prevented me from getting involved in activities.”
At the time, gastric bypass surgery was not covered by her insurance provider, so Salyerds went through appeals to change that.
Preparing for SurgeryIn the months leading up to her surgery, Salyerds underwent physical and mental evaluations, exercise programs and weekly classes with a dietitian. Then, in January 2004, Salyerds became East Coast Bariatrics’ first patient. She experienced no complications from her procedure, and has since lost 216 pounds. Her health issues relating to obesity have all disappeared.
“This is about staying in a place where my health doesn’t control my lifestyle, but my lifestyle controls my health,” said Salyerds.
Success Stories Offer SupportPatients must commit to drastic changes following bariatric surgery. At first, they can only eat as little as one ounce of food per meal. Gradually, this increases to as much as four ounces per meal for the rest of their lives. Refined sugar, high-fat foods and carbonated drinks are not permitted.
“Teaching people to change their habits for life is crucial to their success,” said Salyerds.
Since her procedure, Salyerds has been an advocate for bariatric surgery. She became a support group facilitator, which led to her current position as Program Coordinator at East Coast Bariatrics.“I want to show others that there are people who have experienced success and there are people to support them,” Salyerds said. “Surgery is a tool to help people get where they need to be to become healthy. It’s a daily struggle,” she said.
Support Groups Sponsored by
East Coast Bariatrics:
- Beyond Bariatrics Support Group — Meets the fourth Thursday of each month at 6 pm.
- Surgical Weight Loss Support Group — Meets the second Thursday of each month at 7:15 pm.
Both groups meet at the Halifax Health — Center for Oncology. For information, call 386.238.3205.