Lara Begins Golden Years with Energy, Optimism After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Lara bariatric patient

Lara wanted to start her golden years healthy and energetic, but extra weight, high blood pressure and arthritis were holding her back. She found a new lease on life with weight loss surgery at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute. Read her story.

A Lifelong Struggle

I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. My mother wrote “too pudgy” in my baby book when I was four, and I was on my first diet at eight years old. Twice in my adult life, I’ve lost more than 100 pounds but I always gained it back. My highest weight was 324 pounds.

I had considered bariatric surgery in my 40s, but the timing wasn’t right for my family. In my 50s, my health began to deteriorate, and daily tasks became more difficult. I got tired easily, and I was worried all the time about fitting in chairs, booths, airplane seats and bathroom stalls. I would get winded going up and down stairs, and I was never able to find clothes that fit me. I was on high blood pressure medication and had degenerative arthritis in my knees and back.

Taking Action

I knew life as a senior would be difficult, and I wanted to enjoy my golden years and not be a burden to my daughters. I decided it was time for me to take action.

I contacted the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute in March 2021, and I underwent gastric bypass in July 2021 with Dr. J.D. Fuller, bariatric and general surgeon.

Recovery and Support

The stay at Encore Medical Center was amazing. It was awesome having the BMI team in the same building and readily available. I had no complications, and the BMI team was very responsive to my emails and phone calls.

Everyone at BMI has been very responsive and supportive. From the first phone call to my last checkup, people are present and paying attention to your needs.

A New Lease on Life

After surgery, everything is better! I’ve lost more than 160 pounds, and I’m smaller than I was in junior high. I am off four medications, and my energy, sleep and flexibility are better. My degenerative arthritis in my knees and back is much less bothersome due to carrying less weight.

The biggest change since surgery is my improved energy level. Taking on tasks or chores are met with strength and determination. From raking leaves to scrubbing down cabinets, I can meet those challenges easily. I can even get down on my hands and knees and get up again! I can also cross my legs while sitting.

I now look forward to family trips and airplane rides because I don’t dread lagging behind my family because of my size or lack of energy.

I’m grateful to Dr. Fuller, Lauren, Courtney, Shanna and all the BMI staff for this amazing tool and this new lease on life for the second half of my life.


The Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital strives to make permanent weight loss a reality through personalized attention and innovative surgical options. From insurance approvals to emotional and physical wellness, we are here for you every step of the way. Start your journey by finding a bariatric surgeon.

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