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“I Worked Hard to Get Here”
Cleveland Woman Loses 120 Pounds after Weight-Loss Surgery at Parkwest Medical Center
Jessica Langston and her family enjoy spending time together, especially at theme parks.
“A few years ago, we were in a theme park about to ride a roller coaster. The bar wouldn’t go down over my waist far enough for it to click. I was with my kids. I was so embarrassed that I just got off,” she says.
“I have always been overweight,” Langston shares. “Over time, my weight has made me self-conscious, and that led me to feeling insecure.”
The theme park incident triggered a flurry of research. Langston had access to providers from Chattanooga to Knoxville, since she lives in between these two cities. She chose Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville after discovering the easy-to-use website and the information she needed to make her decision.
At Parkwest Medical Center
Langston tried a number of weight-loss methods before considering bariatric surgery. Once she made the decision and the day finally came, she couldn’t have been happier.
“I was not nervous to have surgery, I was excited,” she recalls. She stayed one night at Parkwest and said the staff was friendly and treated her well. “They taught me how to monitor myself and gave me fluids in small sips. I’m just so blessed. Everyone there was great.”
Her physician was board certified bariatric surgeon K. Robert Williams, MD. He performed a type of bariatric surgery known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy. This involves removing part of the stomach to limit food intake, which leads to weight loss. “She did very well and had no complications,” he says.
The Parkwest Difference
Dr. Williams said the way his team treats patients sets them apart from other bariatric programs. “Our dieticians, nurses and entire perioperative care team are superior to many other programs because we take care of people, not just around their surgery, but long after. The team here is superb.”
Since surgery, Langston says, “Just the quality of my life has improved. I went on a hike with my husband for the first time. My feet don’t hurt, I don’t become short of breath and I could even talk while I walk! That was a shock to me.”
Reflection Spurs Action
Thinking about where she started and how far she has come is a constant motivator. “It has been lifechanging,” she says.
“I was surprised at how quickly the weight came off. I have lost 120 pounds and gone from a size 20- 22 to a size 4-6. Before surgery, I was inactive and worked from home, so it was easy to snack all day. After surgery, I couldn’t do that anymore because I felt full immediately. Plus, once the weight started coming off, it was easier to go for a walk.”
One particular victory was going back to that same theme park in April 2021. “Not only did I fit into the roller coaster this time, but it clicked six times!” she exclaims. “I was so excited.”
Love Yourself, Regardless
Langston has gained a large following on social media where she posts videos about weight-loss and surviving domestic abuse. “A lot of domestic violence victims are overweight, and think – or are told – they don’t deserve any better,” Langston says. “I have always loved myself. I might not have liked what I saw in the mirror at times, but you need to love yourself first. That is the most important thing. Weight-loss surgery may make you feel better about what your body can do, but it won’t make you love yourself. I want my followers to know you can still love yourself even if you think no one else does.”
Langston doesn’t hide her vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery, but instead is proud of it and shares details on her social media platform. “I started doing ‘before and after’ videos, showing me at my heaviest and then how far I’ve come. I did a video about my loose skin, because I believe in loving your imperfections.”
Is Weight-Loss Surgery Right For Me?
Deciding to have bariatric surgery is a commitment to better health. For many patients, bariatric surgery is also a lifesaving procedure. Not everyone, however, is a candidate for weight-loss surgery. You are a candidate for bariatric surgery if you:
- Are an adult (age 18 or more)
- Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more
- Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or more with an obesity-related (comorbid) condition such as diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
- Have been overweight for more than five years
- Have multiple failed attempts at non-surgical weight loss
- Are ready to make a lifelong commitment to change your lifestyle, diet and exercise habits
- Understand and are committed to following the nutritional diet required after bariatric surgery to avoid malnutrition
- Exhibit emotional stability
- Are physically able to undergo abdominal surgery
Bariatric Seminars at Parkwest
Interested in learning more about weight-loss surgery? We invite you to attend one of our free informational seminars to learn more about the bariatric surgery process.
The seminars are designed to help people make their own decision, and discuss benefits, options and risks of bariatric surgery. The bariatric support groups are for those who have had surgery, as well as those who are thinking about it.
Advice from a Bariatric Surgeon
K. Robert Williams, MD, has been performing bariatric procedures for more than 15 years and has helped hundreds of people rid themselves of the weight burden they’ve been carrying. Here are his words of advice if you are considering weight-loss surgery.
1. Give it time. “Everything becomes easier with time,” he advises. “With any lifestyle change, whether it’s forming new habits or breaking old ones, it will get easier if done over and over. That’s how we tell people to approach diet and exercise.”
2. Prepare for the mental effects. In addition to the physical changes, Dr. Williams says his patients may report feeling sad or missing what they used to be able to consume. That will pass, he says. “Most of our patients are comfortable with the physical changes. After surgery, the hardest part is the mental aspect of changing habits. Because we so often soothe ourselves with food, we suddenly no longer rely on food as a crutch, so that habit of comfort eating is gone.
3. Talk to your doctor about your needs and goals. Dr. Williams says, “It’s a commitment to changing your lifestyle completely. Just determine what’s right for you, and contact our office or talk to your doctor to find out if you are a candidate.”
To learn more, visit TreatedWell.com/bariatrics or call (865) 374-PARK (7275).