Healthy habits and hope, thanks to bariatric surgery

A fresh start

Despite years of trying, some people cannot lose weight. A few extra pounds turn into hundreds, and the weight dangerously burdens the body. Bariatric surgery at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital offers individuals another chance to learn about nutritious eating, exercising and maintaining a comfortable weight. Two former patients share how the comprehensive program – from surgery to education – led them back to good health:  

Regina Perkins success story 

Regina Perkins works as a nurse in the Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital emergency department.

It's a high-stress job in itself, and when combined with raising two children and taking care of her household, it can be downright chaotic.

To relax and have fun, Regina and her family love to hike. But she wasn't always able to enjoy it. She once hiked Humpback Rock and felt ill.  

"I nearly passed out,” Regina shared. “I was sweating, shaking and feeling nauseated."

She faced shortness of breath, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. When Regina learned about the gastric banding procedure, she was ready to make a big change.

Regina knew that the surgery wouldn’t guarantee success. Focusing on the dietitian's advice on eating better, she made major changes to her diet.

"Before surgery, I rated a restaurant on two things: One, if they had good sweet tea, and two, if grease came through the bag," Regina reminisced. "Now I rate a restaurant on what kind of salads they have, and if they have good variety. Sweet tea doesn't appeal to me, and I haven't had a soft drink in two years. It's water all the time. I've really changed my life."

Regina still loves to hike with her family and now is able to take the lead rather than hold them back. She hasn’t yet returned to Humpback Rock, but she plans to. And this time, she’ll conquer it. 

Sharon Chicoski success story 

Sharon Chicoski used to be embarrassed to go outside. She wasn't able to enjoy fun, summer activities with her son. Missing out on so many of life's opportunities upset her.

Sharon considered bariatric surgery for several years. She was overweight, and as her medical problems began to build — high cholesterol, sleep apnea and diabetes — she believed she needed to take control.

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