“Healthwise, I'm 200 percent better,” says Tammy, who no longer is on high blood pressure medicine. “I’m hoping through my weight loss I can overcome my family history of heart disease.”
She’s also found love with a man who understands her weight-loss journey. Tammy and Gary Stone, who she met in the weight management program’s weekly postoperative bariatric surgery support group, were married Dec. 30.
“We clicked right away,” says Gary, who had his bariatric surgery at Via Christi in 2009 and whose sister also had the surgery. “I found Tammy attractive even before she lost her weight. She’s got a bubbly personality and is just a lot of fun to be around.”
Tammy didn't pursue bariatric surgery lightly. Initially, she hesitated when her physician suggested it. Then she heard speaker James Early, MD, who founded the Weight Management program at Via Christi, at the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women luncheon, an event that promotes healthy lifestyles for women.
She went through the eight-week preoperative Lifestyles class, listening to educators Helen Ramsey and Dena Marten talk about the changes she'd need to make to her diet, exercise routine and other lifestyle habits. She had the psychological and medical screenings to ensure she was prepared for when surgeon Brent Lancaster, MD, did her procedure.
“Without the pre- and postoperative program, the surgery wouldn't be a success,” says Tammy. “They give you the tools to prepare mentally and physically for the challenges and changes you'll experience.”
Plus, she enjoys her new friends in the postoperative support group.
“They're like a second family. I still need them to keep me successful and to keep me learning how to manage my weight. I hope I’m helping them in the same way.”
She actually already has. Because of her success, Tammy's sister, Kim, participated in the program and recently had bariatric surgery performed by Lancaster.