Brandi Carney

She Believed She Could, So She Did!
Trying the same old diets and failing, Brandi Carney said "it is time for a change!" At 29 years old, she decided she was ready to make a lifelong commitment to getting healthy. After several attempts at dieting and exercising, only to give up quickly, she began to research weight-loss surgery.

After meeting with Dr. Lord and Dr. Martin at Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center and getting support from her family, Brandi decided to undergo gastric-sleeve in August 2016.

Six months and a 95 pound weight loss later, Brandi said, "This surgery has been one of the biggest tools to help me meet my weight-loss goals." She is now able to walk stairs, spend time outdoors, go on daily jogs and eat for the right reasons, not because she is bored. She feels like she has gained years onto her life to spend with her husband, step children and sweet son. She is always on the go and wants the world to know her love for life now.

"This journey has been a blessing, and I cannot wait to see what else God has planned for me!" Brandi encourages everyone who is considering weight-loss surgery to speak with Dr. Lord, his excellent staff and "start living the life that has been given to you, happily."

Tedra Knie

“I Feel Like I Did Back in my Early 20s”

In high school, Tedra Knie, now 42, had a model figure. But over the years she gained a lot of weight and became practically unrecognizable to old friends. She was embarrassed to ride on airplanes because she had to ask for a seatbelt extension, and she wasn’t able to enjoy outings with her family that required a lot of walking or sitting on rides at amusement parks. Tedra regularly struggled with back pain and sleep apnea.

After hearing about bariatric surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Lord through colleagues at work, Tedra decided to come to Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center, and in December 2011, she had gastric bypass surgery.

In just a year and a half, Tedra was able to lose more than 127 pounds and is now free of weight-related health issues. She works hard every day to maintain her weight and stay healthy. “It is a lot of work in the beginning,” says Tedra, “but I would do it over and over again.”

Nancy Milwood

“I’m Living Again”

At the peak of her weight, Nancy Millwood was 436 pounds and felt like her life was going nowhere. She says she had always been a “big girl,” but she gained a dramatic amount of weight over the course of a year and a half due to other medical issues. She couldn’t get on the floor and play with her grandkids or stand in the kitchen to cook them a meal.

She happened upon Dr. Jeffrey Lord and Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center completely on accident, but she took it as a sign from God that it was time to take charge of her life. Nancy said that the classes aimed at teaching healthier eating behaviors were really beneficial, and she strongly encourages other patients to take advantage of it.

Since her surgery in March 2010, Nancy has lost 246 pounds and continues to make small lifestyle changes to keep herself healthy and enjoying her retirement.

“I can see where I was, and I never want to go back there,” Nancy said. “I’m living again, not sitting around being stagnant, not saying ‘I can’t do this’ because I can do this.”

Tabatha Humphries

“I’m More of a People Person Now”

In September 2012, Tabatha Humphries faced a tough decision. At only 36 years old, her doctor informed her that her weight was affecting her joints and that she would need a hip- and double-knee replacement. She could either endure multiple operations and be on pain medications for the duration of her life, or she could take the steps toward losing the weight.

After some research and reading through past patient testimonies, Tabatha reached out to Dr. Jeffrey Lord at Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center. Tabatha said Dr. Lord and his staff were an “absolute pleasure,” always keeping her informed and working around her busy schedule.

Tabatha underwent gastric bypass surgery in September 2012, and has since lost 145 pounds. She says the process has made her a whole new person; she’s more social, and dropping the weight has enabled her to do exercises that were once too much for her joints.

“I jog now. I’ve never been a runner, but I actually enjoy it,” Tabatha said. “I can’t stand being cooped up inside anymore.”

Deidra Cannon

“It Was the Push I Needed”

It seemed like Deidra Cannon, 49, had tried everything to slim down. Like many people trying to lose weight, Deidra just couldn’t seem to keep the weight off. She had severe sleep apnea, lower back pain and borderline high blood pressure. Her weight prevented her from really enjoying life.

She heard about Dr. Jeffrey Lord at Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center from a friend who just had gastric bypass surgery as well. After Deidra’s surgery in September 2011, she lost 140 pounds in a short nine months.

Deidra is no longer experiencing any complications with her weight, and she feels and looks better than ever. She has kept the weight off by exercising five days a week and incorporating running into her routine.

“Before, I got frustrated at the massive amount I had to lose, but after surgery, every week I saw progress,” Deidra said. “It was the push I needed to lose weight.”

Pamela Keith

“Nothing but Blessings Since My Surgery”

Pamela Keith, 41, had always been an active person. Then, she was diagnosed with a thyroid issue and gained a lot of weight in a matter of two years. Her body aches and arthritis made even low-impact exercises too much for her joints.

“Every time I turned around I felt like I had another diagnosis of a weight-related condition,” Pamela said.

After talking to her coworkers about their bariatric-surgery experiences, Pamela went to Dr. Jeffrey Lord’s seminar. She was immediately impressed by the scope of information provided and the testimonies from Dr. Lord’s past patients.

Pamela had her surgery in November 2009, and has experienced many life changes, including being blessed with a child. Now 110 pounds lighter, she says that her surgery has changed the way she feels and thinks about food. Even years after her procedure, she says Dr. Lord’s staff continues to be a support system for her, and she recommends him to her friends who are considering surgery as well.

“My advice is to do your research, and be aware that you shouldn’t look at it as a quick fix,” Pamela said. “You’re going to go through an amazing transformation, but you have to be vigilant so you don’t go backwards.”

Andrew Garrett

“You Can’t Put a Price on Life”

At 37 years old, Andrew Garrett weighed 440 pounds. His quality of life was low, and getting out to do anything was difficult. He suffered from numerous weight-related health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and edema. On top of all of that, Andrew has a family history of congestive heart failure.

After Andrew’s sister and best friend expressed their concern for his life, Andrew decided it was time to do something about his weight. Andrew was referred to Dr. Jeffrey Lord at the Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center by a few of his coworkers and was impressed by Dr. Lord’s knowledge and thoroughness.

“The staff is phenomenal,” says Andrew, “everyone was very friendly and professional.”

Andrew had gastric bypass surgery in November 2012, and has since dropped 242 pounds and is down to a size 36 from a size 62. He recommends anyone considering the surgery to see Dr. Lord and get control of their life again.

“The health benefits alone, the longevity it gives you…
 it’s worth every penny,” Andrew said.

Dawn Andrews

“Now I Feel Good About How I Eat.”

At 288 pounds, Dawn Andrews had severe pain in her knees, which rubbed together and cracked when she walked. She suffered from sleep apnea, and she sat at a desk all day with frequent snacking at her job, which only added to her weight gain.

“I tried everything to lose weight,” says Dawn. “I would lose 50 pounds and gain back 100.”

After researching bariatric surgery and local surgeons, she found Dr. Jeffrey Lord and Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center, and in September 2010, Dawn had gastric bypass surgery with Dr. Lord.  She carefully followed his instructions to modify her diet and gradually increase exercise. “The surgery was the boost I needed,” she says. ”It requires a lifestyle change. You definitely have to put in effort to make it work, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

After four years and 118 pounds lost, Dawn now has abundant energy with no joint pain nor sleep apnea. She credits her new, healthful eating habits with maintaining a healthy weight.

“My food preferences and appetite have changed,” says Dawn. “My entire family has lost weight because we are all eating nutritious, home-cooked food. The surgery has helped me learn to stop eating when I’ve had enough. Now I feel good about how I eat.”

Michael Hicks

"My Kidney Diseasae is in Complete Remission!"
Several years ago, Michael Hicks, 46, had a rare and severe kidney disease that was worsened by his excessive weight, out-of-control diabetes and worrisome blood pressure. Michael was taking high doses of medication that caused rapid weight gain, and at his heaviest, Michael weighed 405 lbs.

Michael’s doctor referred him to Dr. Jeffrey Lord and Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center, and in October 2011, Michael had gastric bypass surgery. Realizing this was going to be a big change for the rest of his life, he committed to the prescribed diet and exercise. Two weeks after surgery, Michael had lost 30 pounds; 10 months later, he had lost 200 pounds.

As the CEO of his own business, Michael travels often. He remembers the first flight where he no longer needed a seatbelt extension, and he could even put the tray table down. “I was doing a happy dance in my seat,” he says. “I was taking pictures with my phone. I’m sure the stewardess thought I was crazy!”

He achieved other milestones when he marveled at the widening gap between his belly and the car steering wheel, and when he visited a theme park and rode all the rides – just because he could fit in the seats.

But the best benefit of all? “My health is much better,” Michael says. “No diabetes, no high blood pressure, no sleep apnea, no reflux, no gout attacks, and recent tests on my kidneys show that the disease is in complete remission!”

Now almost three years after surgery, Michael closely monitors his weight, which remains near 170 lbs. He works out two times a day and uses the latest fitness gadgets and phone apps to track his workouts and his calorie intake. “It makes it like a game, and it helps me stay on track.”

Pam Adams

"Now I'm Living Life to the Fullest"

Not long ago, Pam Adams of Defuniak Springs felt like an old woman. She was 43 years old, 5'5" tall, and weighed 295 pounds. She was taking 24 different medications to treat a host of weight-related conditions. Several strokes diminished her eyesight and balance, and she wore an external insulin pump to manage acute diabetes. Pam became severely depressed and lost all hope of a better life.

In November 2010, when Pam came to Pensacola to have gastric-bypass surgery at Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center, bariatric surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Lord told her she was the sickest patient he had ever treated. Dr. Lord's staff taught Pam how to modify her diet and lifestyle, and after surgery, Pam began to see success as she carefully followed their instructions.

Now, just 18 months after surgery, Pam has lost a total of 145 pounds and is much healthier and happier. She is free from all of her medications and is loving her second chance at life. These days, she can be found walking seven miles a day or taking 25–mile bike rides with her husband, Gregg, on their tandem bicycle.

"I thank God for Dr. Lord and his staff," says Pam, who now shares her story to encourage others who are considering weight-loss surgery.

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Jackie Linn

"I'm Not Going to Sit Out This Dance"

In college I loved to dance – I even taught dance classes. Well, fast-forward to age 47. I was less than 5 feet tall and weighed 200 lbs. Dancing was out of the question – I could barely make it through a day at work, on the air at the radio station. Standing that long was painful and exhausting. I had tried every kind of diet known to man, but nothing worked. I was miserable, and I was losing hope.

The happiest day of my life was in October 2010, when I was approved for gastric-bypass surgery with Dr. Lord. His staff helped me every step of the way – from working with my insurance to preparing me for surgery and what to expect afterwards.

Weight-loss surgery is the best thing I have ever done for myself, period. One year after the surgery, I've lost 102 lbs., and the aches and pains are gone, too. I feel hopeful about my life again. In fact, I feel like dancing!

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Sonny Wooten

"Now I Have Energy To Enjoy Life!"

"I was tired of doing the yo-yo diet to try to control my diabetes," remembers Lewis "Sonny" Wooten. " I would gain back everything that I had lost." That's when he decided to pursue gastric-bypass surgery at Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center.

Since July 2008, Sonny has lost 120 pounds, he no longer suffers from diabetes, and his 52" waist has slimmed down to 32." He is one of four members of his family to undergo weight-loss surgery. Together, they have lost more than 500 pounds.

Now Sonny can spend his retirement doing the important things – like deer hunting with his grandson. "He used to be worried that I wouldn't be able to climb the ladder stand to our deer blind. Now I can carry that ladder stand!" says Sonny. "I feel like I have the energy of a 20-year-old. I'm wide open!"

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Michal Lewis

"Weight-Loss Surgery Changed my Life!"

“I knew I was a heart attack waiting to happen,” says Michal Lewis of Crestview. At her heaviest, the 4’9” schoolteacher and mother of five weighed 275 pounds and had a BMI of 60. “My legs hurt, I was short of breath, and I had no zeal for life,” she remembers.  

In April 2011, Michal had gastric-bypass surgery at Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center in Pensacola. In just more than a year, she has lost 125 pounds and is now wearing a size 6 instead of her former size 24 clothes.

“Weight-loss surgery changed my life – it was a blessing in so many ways,” says Michal, who uses her newfound confidence as an inspirational speaker and singer at women’s events.

Karen Kennedy

"My Neighbor Didn't Recognize Me!"

Karen Kennedy, a medical-coding analyst, had Lap-Band surgery in July 2010 at Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center. Two years later, she is maintaining her 83-pound weight loss and is no longer taking medications for diabetes.  She used to wear a size 22 dress, but now she enjoys wearing a size 10.

"One of our neighbors saw me after I had lost weight and thought my husband had divorced and married a younger woman!" Karen laughs. She now enjoys kickboxing and riding her motorcycle. "Now my knees don't hurt when I get on the bike – and I even fit on the seat!" she says.

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Valerie Robinson

"Now My Kids Try to Keep Up With Me!"

As a nurse, Valerie Robinson's extra weight made her joints and her knees ache as she made her rounds to care for her patients. At only 38, Valerie's weight led to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux disease and sleep apnea.  She knew that losing weight would improve her quality of life, so in April 2006, Valerie had gastric-bypass surgery with Dr. Jeffrey Lord at Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss Center.

Six years later, she is maintaining a total weight loss of 100 pounds and is wearing a slender size 10, instead of her old size 24 clothes.

"I like the new me. Now I have way more energy," says Valerie, who no longer suffers from her former health issues. "I love kickboxing with my friends using my pink leather boxing gloves. My kids used to get tired of waiting for me because I was always so slow and tired. Now they have to keep up with me -- they tell me to slow down."

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Jennifer Jones

"I'm Living Life at a Healthy Weight!"

At 32, nurse Jennifer Jones was having trouble making it through an entire shift. Her joints ached from excess weight that also caused high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But, all that changed in June 2006, when she decided to have Lap-Band surgery with Dr. Lord at the Surgical Weight Loss Center.

Now, six years later, she is maintaining her 150-pound weight loss, and she is wearing a size 12 instead of a size 4x. These days, Jennifer can be found kickboxing and frequenting the gym. "My favorite is the spin class. Before weight loss surgery, I wouldn't have been able to fit on the bike."

"At one point Dr. Lord told me I might not even make it to age 35," remembers Jennifer. "But I am now 38 and going strong!"

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