One Step at a Time

Woman Steps into New Life Following Bariatric Surgery at Parkwest Medical Center

Suzanne Carlyle is gaining her confidence back one step at a time. After undergoing bariatric surgery at Parkwest Medical Center, Carlyle has lost 100 pounds and has discovered a new self-confidence she didn’t have before. The last few years have been filled with challenges for Carlyle. Slowly but surely, she has taken baby steps to create a new and healthier version of herself, thanks to the support she received from the bariatric team at Parkwest.

Suzanne Carlyle before surgery in striped shirt.
Before surgery.

Carrying the Weight

Suzanne Carlyle after surgery wearing blue sweater and black pants.
A year after surgery.

Several underlying health conditions made the retiree feel weighed down all the time. At her heaviest, she weighed 225 pounds. “I developed all kinds of health problems, including being diagnosed with diabetes in 2018,” she says. For a long time, Carlyle was embarrassed to have her picture taken. She even avoided attending  her high school reunions for fear of people seeing “how huge” she felt she was. A friend who had under- gone weight-loss surgery recommended Parkwest Medical Center and K. Robert Williams, MD, bariatric surgeon, so Carlyle attended an informational seminar to learn more about her options.

“That’s a Big Step”

“I thought it was a big step to have surgery,” she says. “But I was mentally ready. Even though I was not as heavy as some [people who seek bariatric surgery], I knew I was carrying around this extra weight and that my health was suffering. “When I talked to Dr. Williams, I felt comfortable with him,” she re- calls. “He answered my questions and made predictions of weight loss, but didn’t make promises. He explained that he could give me the tools to use, but I had to do the work.” Dr. Williams performed a laparoscopic gastric sleeve procedure for Carlyle in October 2021. This  procedure involves surgically removing a portion of the stomach to reduce its size, therefore requiring less food to make one feel full. Dr. Williams says that after pre-operative steps, the procedure takes about one hour. Most patients stay overnight and go home the next day.

At Parkwest Medical Center

Headshot of Dr. Williams smiling
K. Robert Williams, MD

Carlyle stayed for one night at Parkwest. She says, “The nurses who cared for me were awesome. They helped me get my fluids and were very patient with me.” Carlyle’s two daughters made the trip to Knoxville to support their mother. The retiree says the pre-op nurse kept her daughters informed and gave plenty of post-operative care instructions. “They explained things on a level that my non-nurse daughter could understand,” she laughs. She says, “Dr. Williams took my whole medical history into account. He looked at the options and was considerate of my breathing and joint issues.” Over one year after surgery, she says, “The blessings of that experience are amazing, and I can enjoy my health. I feel I have stepped into a new part of my life.”

Weight-Loss Results

In 12 months, Carlyle has gone from weighing 225 to 125 pounds and from a size XL or 1X to small or extra small. She says, “I set a goal for myself to reach 125-130 pounds. I hit 127 around the one-year mark and now I stay between 125-128 pounds.” Non-scale victories include wearing smaller clothing sizes, enjoying exercise and coming off all her medications, including a CPAP machine, which is a device that uses air pressure to help people breathe during sleep. “I hated clothing shopping and now I love it. I’m thankful I met my goal and have stayed here for months; I’m doing it for myself.”

As for nutrition, Carlyle has become accustomed to her new eating habits. “I stop eating when  I’m full,” she says. “I do have bites of comfort food like cookies, but only a small amount.”

Looking Ahead

The retired nurse relocated to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where she can spend more time with her grandchildren. She plans to join a local gym where she can keep up her activity. “I’m looking forward to being able to hike, doing fun summer activities and enjoying more time with the family.” When she came down with COVID-19 earlier this fall, she was in bed for several days. Carlyle says that her breathing problems had gotten better, and had she not lost weight, she knows the outcome could have been worse.

“We absolutely know that obesity is a risk factor for worse outcomes from the COVID-19 virus,” says Dr. Williams. “Mortality rates are higher, and one major finding is that people with obesity-related co-morbidities do not fare as well when they get COVID.” Carlyle says, “I want to say thank you to Dr. Williams and his staff. They were there every step of the journey, and knowing the support is just a phone call away was comforting, especially that first month after surgery.” She continues, “Learning to view myself in a different way is difficult. I am planning to go to my 50th high school class reunion, which is something I wouldn’t have considered before.”

Every Step Counts

Her advice to others undergoing weight-loss surgery is to attend the informational classes, and to pay attention to fluids, protein and the feeling of being full. She shares, “I was at a point where I was on oxygen for breathing and could barely walk or take steps. Now, I realize how strong I am because I tapped into a  strength I didn’t know I had. This tool has given me the confidence to push through and do it.” For more information about weight-loss surgery, visit Treated Well. com/bariatrics or call 865-374-PARK (7275).

Is Weight-loss Surgery Right for Me?

If you’re the fence about weight-loss surgery or have tried shedding pounds with diet and exercise alone without success, consider attending a weight-loss seminar and learning about the options available at Parkwest Center for Bariatric Surgery. 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 older)
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or higher with an obesity-related (co-morbid) 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 fol- lowing 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. K. Robert Williams, MD, has been per- forming bariatric procedures for more than a decade and has helped hundreds of people rid themselves of the burden of the weight they’ve been carrying. Dr. Williams urges people who are considering weight-loss surgery to take advantage of free educational tools at Parkwest Center for Bariatric Surgery.

The bariatric seminars are designed to help people make their own decisions about weight-loss surgery. Topics include benefits, options and risks. Bariatric support groups are available for those who have had surgery, and also welcome those who are thinking about it. “The more knowledge people are armed with, the more they get out of an initial appointment because they have had time to process the information,”
says Dr. Williams. To learn more, visit or call 865-374-PARK (7275).

Tags for this post:

News & Articles

Covenant Health