Bariatric Surgery: It’s Not About Giving Things Up
Adrianne Haley describes her success at bariatric surgery, she barely mentions the surgery part of it. Today, after losing 100 lbs., she talks about no longer needing a handful of prescription medicines and insulin shots every day. She thrills in being able to shop at cute clothing boutiques. And as for stamina, she marvels at how she can now run a mile without stopping, vs. just make it to the mailbox.
And Adrianne, 47, of Ramseur, talks about the process and the people at Cone Health bariatrics program who encouraged her from day 1.
“They set you up to succeed with this program,” she says. “They helped me set realistic goals, and taught me how to achieve them. It’s natural to think about past times you’ve failed at losing weight. But with them, I could see that I could succeed.”
An exciting start
Adrianne spent three years researching options for this treatment before choosing the team at Cone Health. Her first step into the program was a free informational class in late 2015. By early the next year, well before having surgery, she was fully engaged in making lifestyle changes, with her Cone Health experts by her side.
“Working with my nutritionist before the surgery was the most exciting time in this process for me,” she says. “I learned so much from her during those first seven months. She encouraged me to write down my goals, some of the areas where I faltered, and all of my successes. Together, we set attainable goals for me.”
For example, Adrianne knew that exercise needed to become part of every day. But at 260 lbs., getting started was going to be hard. That’s one area where setting attainable goals became so valuable—before and after her weight loss surgery.
“I didn’t focus so much on numbers. I focused on those goals,” she says.
From the couch to a 5K
She started walking regularly before her surgery, and just kept going. “In the hospital on the day of surgery, I walked around the nurses’ station,” she says with a laugh. At home after surgery, her goal was to walk to the end of the road and back. She kept increasing her distance, until she reached a mile. “Then I decided to run a bit,” she reports. “I’d walk five minutes and then run from one lamp post to the next.”
When that got easier over time, she would find flat stretches. She set new goals to run the entire section. “In time, I ran the entire mile. And I can do it now without stopping,” she says with a smile.
She’s continued to set and meet new goals, such as a body pump workout three times a week “I even completed ‘beast mode’ version at my YMCA. It was horrible, but I finished it!,” she laughs. “It’s really changed how I feel about myself, just that I’m able to do these things I could never do before.
Now, she knows training for a 5K is another reasonable goal.
Challenges and mutual support
Adrianne found that some people didn’t understand why she would choose bariatric surgery and the lifestyle changes it requires. “They saw it as having to give up certain things,” she says. “But it’s not about that. It’s about what you’re gaining, and what you’re gaining is so much more.”
She’s certainly made gains in health. Adrianne no longer takes medicines for diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol.
Her main motivation to get healthier was her two grown children and her husband. “I wanted to be here longer, for them,” she says. “And when I have grandchildren, I want to be here for them, too. My husband and my kids were supportive. That’s all I need.”
After surgery, her colleagues at work became part of her support. She became an inspiration. Four of her coworkers joined a gym after witnessing her transformation. At least two are also looking into having a bariatric procedure at Cone Health.
At home, the benefits of lifestyle changes have spilled over. Her husband lost 70 lbs., too, just from that! “And I’m saving hundreds of dollars a month just in prescriptions I no longer need,” she says.
One more important trail to walk
With a fit, new 156-lb. body and can-do outlook, Adrianne is looking forward to an important life-event: her daughter’s marriage.
“They’ve planned the ceremony at a 165 acre preserve, with trails, lakes and beautiful scenery,” she explains. “We get to enjoy this for an entire weekend, and I’m ready.”
With Adrianne’s hard work and choice of support teams, she’s gone from simply walking to the end of the street, to running a mile, and to what will be an easy hike during one of the most important celebrations of her life.
“I have more of a life now,” she says, reflecting over the past year. “I have peace and health. Like I said, bariatric surgery and all that’s involved is not about giving things up. It’s about what you’re gaining.”