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Weight loss surgery helps patient take flight, travel more

For Carla Lee-Ervin, the days were long and stressful. A 51-year-old widow living just south of Tyler in Flint, for 25 years she worked at Sam’s Club. She started as a teller and worked her way up to supervisor of the local store’s marketing and membership department.

As she worked, she also dealt with gaining weight, which started in her late teens and kept increasing for 30 years.

“I gave birth to my son at age 18 and I never lost that weight,” Carla said. “During my married years, I kept putting on the weight and got up to 387 pounds.”

... Read More »
Woman battles comfort food and mind games to gain new life through bariatric surgery

For Shelby Grimes, a 30-year-old single mom in Lufkin, her dependency on food for comfort started in her teens.

“I used to dance and was very active in high school,” she recalled. “But eventually I got into different extracurricular activities, started working a job and my activity level changed a lot. I even lost a lot of the friends I had, so I started turning to food to feel good about myself.”

At the start of high school, Shelby weighed around 135 but doubled her weight by graduation to a total of 280 pounds.

“My mindset then was always ‘What's going to be my... Read More »

Bariatric surgery by Dr. Hugh Babineau

Yvonda Gilliam, a 62-year-old resident of Troup, didn’t grow up overweight.

As a youngster, she played all kinds of sports and enjoyed lots of different activities. Even as an adult, she was an avid walker and weighed an average weight.

But that all changed in her 30s when she dealt with the dual issues of depression and relationship problems, which together caused both issues to get worse. To comfort herself and forget her troubles, she turned to food.

“At my smallest, I probably weighed around 160 pounds,” said the 5’ 6” adult, known as “Miss Von” to so many in... Read More »

William Sanchez competing in the local Spartan 5K Sprint.

When expecting parents prepare for the arrival of a new baby, especially their first, they usually have a long list of things to do: paint the nursery, decorate the walls and put the baby bed together.

For Hidai and William Sanchez, their list included all of the above items plus one more: William’s bariatric surgery.

A 32-year-old welder for Trane Technologies in Tyler, William had suffered through a number of health issues due to his excessive weight.

“I found that I couldn’t even walk from my front door to the mailbox without being out of breath,” William said. “... Read More »

Patient after her gastric bypass surgery

While spending years on the road hauling freight as a team truck driver with her husband, Marie Graham kept trying to lose weight, but without much success.

“We tried all kinds of stuff,” said the retired 59-year-old Tyler resident. “Medications, exercise, dieting – nothing would take the weight off. Since I also had a fatty liver, I needed to lose weight because I didn’t want to go through a liver transplant. That’s when I looked into bariatric surgery.”

During her career hauling dog food, oil and even slot machines for national companies, Marie weighed as much as 290... Read More »

Our body is like a finely-tuned automobile. Treat it right and it can last for a very long time.

But when you overload a vehicle with too much weight, the tires can wear out quickly and you face the possibility of a blowout. This extra strain also means the engine has to work harder to make the vehicle move, which usually means more problems down the road.

Merribeth Norman, who with her husband shares a love for driving and showing their antique car (above), had similar health concerns that led her to take serious steps to get back into good health.

The 67-year-old... Read More »

Sometimes it is easier to do difficult things when you use the “buddy system.”

For the husband and wife team of Don and Lori Cupples, losing weight and recovering from gastric bypass surgery was much easier because they did it together at the same time.

The two live in Chandler and are patients of Dr. Charles Keith, a board-certified bariatric surgeon at the UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center. Don is 49 and is an English teacher and coach at Jacksonville High School. Lori, 52, is a dental... Read More »

For 34-year-old Brian Low, obesity was very depressing.

“I was severely obese and depressed,” said Brian. “At my heaviest, I weighed 388 pounds. It was hard to do anything, which made me feel terrible.”

Brian also suffered from sleep apnea, which is a potentially serious sleep disorder when one’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts through the night. In addition to snoring loudly, the person also feels tired in the morning, even after a full night’s sleep.

Feeling tired and depressed made Brian’s mood spin lower and lower every day. After a while, he knew he had... Read More »

For Teresa Epps, the office manager of a local construction firm, managing her weight had been a constant battle. But after her successful gastric bypass surgery 2 years ago, she is now enjoying a healthy lifestyle with a fun and rather adventurous future.

“I struggled with my weight for a long time,” the 55-year-old Mount Vernon resident said. “I tried many diets and even lap band surgery.”

Lap band surgery involves placing an adjustable band around the top third of the patient’s stomach, leaving only a small area of the stomach to hold food and a larger area to digest the... Read More »

Losing weight and developing a healthier lifestyle is a journey many people want to take. Thomas Martin is living proof that it can be done.

The 67-year-old former gas and fuel oil plant operator has retired with his wife to their more than five acres near Frankston where he raises goats. He spends his days building and repairing fences for their livestock.

But at 340 pounds, Thomas had difficulty maintaining his energy levels while working around the home. To make matters worse, his weight was preventing him from enjoying his real passion: riding his motorcycle.

“I... Read More »

Our goal is to help individuals achieve better health through surgical management of obesity. We specialize in Gastric Bypass Surgery and Sleeve Gastrectomy. We are located in Tyler and treat patients from Longview, Athens, Jacksonville, Palestine, Kilgore, Marshall, Gilmer and many other locations in East Texas.


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UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center

1100 E. Lake St., Suite 150 Tyler, TX 75701 903-593-0230

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