Angela Hathaway - Midland, MI
"I wouldn't trade my results for anything. I feel great!"
She Says Bariatric Surgery Was Simply Life Changing
Angela Hathaway never let her weight stop her from leading a busy, active life. For the last couple of years, the 34-year-old mother of two young children juggled a physically active job and studied for a master's degree in business. "I'm not one to sit still," she said.
"I had been overweight since age 7, that's when I started to get big," she said. As an adult, Hathaway periodically lost weight but always gained it back. Still, she didn't stop trying to achieve a healthy weight. "I want to be here for my kids so I needed to do something. Both my parents have high cholesterol. My dad has diabetes and had bypass surgery after a heart attack. I could see I was headed down the same road."
While being treated for a problem with her feet, Angela's primary care physician brought up bariatric surgery. "He said surgery might be a good tool for me and he suggested I check out a seminar." She followed his advice and attended a free information session hosted by General and Bariatric Surgeon Jeffrey Bonacci, M.D. "The seminar was really good. It gave me the information I needed to make the decision to pursue the surgery."
On December 10, 2014, Hathaway underwent a sleeve gastrectomy performed by Dr. Bonacci at MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland. A sleeve gastrectomy maintains the basic function of the stomach, however, the volume the stomach can handle is significantly less. Patients who undergo sleeve gastrectomy feel full quickly and consume less food at each meal. On average, patients lose about half of their excess body weight in 12 months.
Hathaway spent two nights at the Medical Center. "I was up and walking the day of the surgery," she said. "Dr. Bonacci and his staff were great. They were more than just a surgical team. They were there for me and the other patients – we could call them anytime."
Less than a year and a half after bariatric surgery, Hathaway has shed 134 pounds. "Before my surgery, I had very high cholesterol and now I'm not on any medication at all – my labs are great," she said. "I have so much more energy. I walk all the time, play with my kids, I ran two 5k races, it's just great. I wouldn't trade my results for anything. I feel great!"
She stressed that bariatric surgery was only part of her weight loss strategy; daily discipline and new, healthy habits are key. "I strictly follow the rules," she said. "I have not had pop since a month before surgery and I used to drink a liter or more a day. I really try to stay with the program and I'm glad I do. I feel so much better and have tremendous energy."
Hathaway also believes that a strong personal support system helped her succeed. "My husband, Keith, was great," she said. "And even though my mom was not initially happy about my surgery, she stuck by me." Hathaway also takes advantage of the support group meetings for bariatric surgery patients. "Those are great – I've made new friends there. We can all relate to each other's experiences."
Hathaway isn't shy about talking about her procedure and sees herself as a role model for others who are contemplating bariatric surgery. "People often ask me questions about my experience and I don't sugarcoat it," she said. "It's not easy. Surgery is only a tool. But if they're willing to do the work, follow the guidelines and commit to change, it can be wonderful. For me, it was life changing."
MidMichigan Health offers bariatric surgery in both Alma and Midland. Those who would like more information about surgical weight management may register for a free in-person information seminar at www.midmichigan.org/bariatricseminars or watch MidMichigan’s online seminar video series at www.midmichigan.org/bariatriconlineseminar.