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Trying the same old diets and failing, Brandi 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.
At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 115 pounds and was down from a size 22 to size 6!
“This surgery has been one of the biggest tools to help me meet my weight-loss goals.” Since her surgery, Brandi now enjoys walking and spending time outdoors with her new husband and their Boston Terrier! She's a newlywed! She is now able to walk stairs, 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."
Patrick had gastric sleeve surgery in June 2016. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, he had lost 129 pounds and was down from size 48” to 34” pants and 4X shirts to size M.
Patrick works in maintenance. Before surgery, he would get very winded and could only do things for a few minutes. Now, he feels like he has no limitations! He says his whole outlook on life has changed, that he’s more outgoing, and walks taller and prouder.
During his weight-loss journey, Patrick participated in an online support group, where he met his future wife, will soon be moving to Pensacola from England!
Lawntrina had gastric bypass surgery in July 2015. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 111 pounds and was down to a size 8! She loves going to the beach because she’s now comfortable enough to wear a swimsuit!
Since her surgery, she is better able to keep up with her children. Now, she can even do cartwheels alongside her cheerleader daughter! She has said that seeing her daughter’s face and how proud she was when she finally tried a cartwheel solidified her confidence in this surgery and what it’s done for her.
Barbara had gastric bypass surgery in September 2014. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 126 pounds and was down from size 26 to a size 4! Barbara is a Type 1 diabetic. Prior to surgery, she had been on an insulin pump for eight years. Now, she is off the pump and has significantly decreased the amount of insulin she is on.
Barbara enjoys bowling and fishing, and – with her tremendous weight loss – she is proud that she can ride a bike, bend over and tie her shoes without sitting down, and keep up with her grandkids, who range in age from 4 to 13! She has been in two 5ks and loves being able to keep up with her family on their recent travels to Okinowa and Hawaii!
Joey had gastric bypass surgery in October 2014. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 100 pounds and was down from size 24 to size 14.
She said that weight loss surgery has enabled her to feel good about herself, and it helped her discover that she loves lifting weights! Working out makes her feel great, and she also enjoys doing it.
Ryan had the gastric sleeve procedure in April 2015. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 172 pounds and was down from size 24 to a size 4!
Before her surgery, Ryan’s blood pressure was starting to creep up, and she had leg and back issues. She said the surgery changed her life. She can now buckle a seat belt on an airplane or an amusement park ride. She can sit in a booth in a restaurant, without a problem. She can sit "Indian-style" on the ground with her legs crossed and still breathe. She can walk for miles and even climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower last year on a trip to Europe. She can buy normal clothes from non-specialty stores. She can buy any style of beach chair and not have to worry about the 250 pound weight requirement.
Ryan’s job now has her out of her desk and running all over the place, which she says she wouldn’t have been able to do before her weight loss!
Most importantly, she has found confidence in herself she never had before. She found the confidence to begin dating and fell in love with someone she now plans on spending the rest of her life with!
Dr. Grier-Hall had gastric bypass surgery in May 2016. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 110 pounds and had gone from size 22 to size 12. Michelle has Type 1 diabetes and has been able to decrease the insulin she takes by 75 percent. She is a pediatrician, lives in Pensacola and has two children, ages 4 and 7.
Since her surgery, which she calls her “new beginning,” she is proud that she can ride a bike or go outside and play with her children without getting short of breath. She said she feels 20 years younger and that the surgery has added years to her life, which – with young children around – is a huge blessing.
Paulla had gastric bypass surgery in August 2015. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 170 pounds and dropped from size 28 to size 10. She no longer has sleep apnea. Before surgery, she says she wasn’t comfortable in her own skin and shied away from doing many things. Now, she loves bowling, swimming, going to the beach and spending time with her family.
Leslie had gastric sleeve surgery in December 2016. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 70 pounds and dropped from size 22 to size 12! She is off cholesterol medication and – though she was developing cirrhosis of the liver before surgery – her blood levels have returned to normal!
Leslie works in healthcare, so she is on her feet most of the day. Surgery has helped her walk faster without being out of breath and be more active without getting tired. She can sit in a booth more comfortably and now enjoys being outside, walking and bike riding. Leslie is especially loving giving away clothes that don't fit!
Jeffrey had gastric bypass surgery in May 2017. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, he had already lost 76 pounds and three pants’ sizes. He is off medication for high blood pressure and has been able to be more active with his three sons. He says the surgery has given him a new outlook on life and a new found confidence in himself.
Kathy had gastric sleeve surgery in June 2016. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 80 pounds and had gone from size 18 to 8! She is off her medication for high-blood pressure and the CPAP for sleep apnea. Kathy would like to say a special thank you to Bob and Nancy for their support throughout the journey.
Vickie had gastric bypass surgery in January of this year. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 62 pounds and had gone from size 22 to 14. Vickie is off medications for cholesterol and high blood pressure, and she is no longer on an insulin pump for her diabetes.
Before surgery, she says walking was very painful. Since then, not only is walking easier, but she also has more energy. She’s started golfing, and she joined a walking club at her work and does 5ks once a month. She likes to paint and walk her dogs. Vickie greatly enjoys being able to keep up with people and is now more apt to try things and join in on activities.
Rachael had gastric bypass surgery in June 2016. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 136 pounds and had dropped from size 24 to size 14. Rachael called surgery her one-stop shop that fixed many of her ailments! She is off seven medications for allergies, Type 2 diabetes and acid reflux. Rachael works in healthcare, so she is on her feet a lot! She’s been able to increase her activity levels and can now work out harder and for longer periods of time without being winded. She enjoys hiking, belly dancing and participating in medieval reenactments.
Karen had gastric bypass surgery in July 2014. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 150 pounds and was down from size 28 to size 14. She calls weight-loss surgery her new lease on life.
Karen has been able to come off all her medications, including inhalers and blood-pressure medicine, and she no longer needs a CPAP machine, which is so important, since she is raising her grandson.
But the best part of surgery has been things most people take for granted – crossing her legs, sitting at a table at a restaurant, walking a flight of steps without running out of breath. Not having to worry if you can fit in a bathroom stall or in this seat of an amusement park ride. Surgery has taken the weight off her body, mind and soul!
Karen is thankful for the bonds she’s made through this journey – people she’s met in the office or other patients she’s encountered along the way – calling them family, her lean-to community.
Jocquilyn had gastric sleeve surgery in November 2016. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 70 pounds and had dropped from size 16 to size 8. She says that she can’t say enough about this surgery and the health benefits it has had for her. The excitement on her cardiologist’s face just a few months after surgery was priceless. The dosage of her cholesterol medication is now a quarter of what it was.
Since surgery, she says her body doesn’t ache when she gets out of bed every day. She can work out and is able to enjoy going out and seeing people. Jocquilyn is a registered nurse and also sells Mary Kay products and likes to volunteer in the community. Jocquilyn is thankful to her husband and children for encouraging her and being with her through all of the changes.
Tina had gastric sleeve surgery in August 2015. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, she had lost 126 pounds and was down from size 24 to size 12.
Because of weight-loss surgery, she cites many things she can do now that she couldn’t before – like take the stairs without getting winded or ride in a plane without needing to be embarrassed and asking for a seat belt extender. Tina is more confident at work.
When asked about her hobbies, Tina says she now has many! She likes paddle boarding, running, yoga and group exercise classes, which she can now finish without modifications. She no longer exceeds the weight limit on her paddle board, and she can keep up with her kids’ active lifestyles.
She says she’s worn her poor dog out walking her. Tina has even run a half marathon!
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
"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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"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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"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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"Weight-Loss Surgery Changed my Life!"
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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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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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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