When Nancy Henderson developed sleep apnea and became borderline diabetic, her primary care doctor told her she was eligible for bariatric surgery and asked if she was interested.
Nancy started researching her options and decided to reach out to the UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center. She went into her first appointment with Dr. Hugh Babineau wanting to have the sleeve gastrectomy. However, due to her other medical conditions, Dr. Babineau said she needed to have the gastric bypass procedure instead, which was not something she previously considered.
“He was very adamant that the sleeve gastrectomy wouldn’t work,” Nancy said. “Once I talked it over with Dr. Babineau, I felt pretty comfortable with his plan.”
Nancy spent about eight months researching and planning to ensure she was prepared for the surgery.
“I was fully prepared,” Nancy said. “I did a lot of research on my own. I also went to all the classes they offered and even did more research. I read everything I could get my hands on because it’s a big commitment if you’re going to be successful at it.”
Nancy had a gastric bypass on Oct. 22, 2018. Since then, she’s adjusted to her new lifestyle.
“It’s an adjustment because the amount of food you intake is such a small amount and you have to plan,” Nancy said. “I don’t enjoy eating out as much anymore because food is now just a nutritional requirement, not as much of a social interaction. Another difference is that I go to the gym now, which is something I wouldn’t have done in the past. It takes more planning, but it was worth it.”
To Nancy, the hardest part wasn’t adjusting her new diet, it was the mental aspect.
“The hardest part is not seeing yourself the way everybody else sees you,” Nancy said. “Everybody still says, ‘You’re so thin!’ and yet, I still don’t feel thin. It’s a mental thing. That’s probably the biggest aspect of the whole thing. You can go in a store and buy small clothes, but you still fight it mentally. You pick up the clothing and look at the size and think, ‘There’s no way I can fit in that.’ Then you walk in the dressing room and it’s too big. It’s a mental thing.”
Though the journey hasn’t been easy, it has been very rewarding.
“I’m most proud of my endurance, the fact that I’m on no medications and how I feel,” Nancy said. “I feel fabulous. The biggest plus is that I love to buy clothes now, whereas I hated buying clothes before.”
Nancy offers this advice to those still considering and those who have already had surgery.
“For someone anticipating surgery, I would tell them to go for it,” Nancy said. “It’s worth it. It’s life changing, but it’s definitely a commitment process. If you’ve had surgery, don’t fight the process. Don’t eat until you’re overfull. Learn your limitations. There’s always a trigger that will remind you that you’ve had enough. Try not to go back to your old habits.”
Nancy loved her experience with the clinic staff.
“The whole office staff was fabulous,” she said. “I feel like I have friends there now.”
Nearly a year and a half after surgery, Nancy is proud of the weight she’s lost.
“With gastric bypass, you’re only supposed to lose 60-80% of your excess weight,” Nancy said. “I lost 100% and I want to keep it off. They say you can get a 10-20 pound regain, but I don’t want to go there. I want to stay.”
For more information about the UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center or to schedule an appointment, visit TylerBariatrics.com or call 903-593-0230.