Mom finds ‘amazing gift’ of healthier, happier life through bariatric surgery

After trying numerous diets that never seemed to work, Heather found the “amazing gift” of a healthier, happier life through surgical weight loss at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital. Read her story.

Doing her research

I had diabetes and high blood pressure since the age of 26 and tried every diet under the sun. I originally researched weight loss surgery about 10 years ago at another central Arkansas hospital but was not confident in my decision on surgery at the time.

Once COVID hit, I began researching surgery options again and came upon the new BMI team at the Arkansas Heart Hospital. I selected the Arkansas Heart Hospital for gastric sleeve surgery because of the excellent care and staff.


At my initial consultation with Dr. Samuel Bledsoe, bariatric and general surgeon, in July of 2020, I asked him, “why surgery?” As a type 2 diabetic for over 10 years on insulin, he said that I would at least cut 10 years off my life if I did not do something and showed me the scientific evidence to back it up right there in the office.

I went home and did my own research and decided he was right. I appreciated the time and thought Dr. Bledsoe put into visiting with me before beginning the surgery process. Once I decided this was the right fit for me, I met with the dietitians and therapist.

During my psychiatric evaluation, it was discovered that I suffered from Binge Eating Disorder, and I was required to undergo six weeks of therapy treatments prior to being approved by the hospital for surgery. While this was frustrating, it was also a blessing as it prepared me mentally for all aspects of surgery and life after surgery.

The team at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital truly has your best interest at heart and wants you to succeed and I appreciated the fact they value that surgery is not a “quick fix” but a tool to help me live my life as healthily as possible.


In November 2020, I had gastric sleeve surgery done by Dr. Bledsoe. I suffer from extreme medical anxiety, so I was shocked when surgery was over, and the pain was minimal, and recovery was smooth! I spent one night in the hospital and did not have any complications.

As a 38-year-old who never had surgery, let alone an IV before, the whole entire staff treated me with the best care. The night shift crew brought me to tears with how well they cared for me, and I could not imagine having this surgery at any other hospital.

Arkansas Heart Hospital really embraces all aspects of the recovery process. My stay was better than I could have ever imagined. All the staff at the BMI clinic are amazing and truly felt like they wanted to help anyone succeed. The whole experience was positive!


I was able to take a week off work and felt that this was sufficient time for my body to heal. My body recovered well, and I only had bruising from the port incisions that went away after a few weeks. My son was one at the time and I did have help the first few weeks of surgery in caring for him since I was not able to lift him into his car seat for the first six weeks. I did find that walking around my neighborhood every couple of hours during my recovery helped significantly reduce pains from surgery.


Now over a year and half later, I am down 70 pounds, off all my diabetic medications and insulin, and have no high blood pressure. I feel amazing, walk 3-4 miles a day, and can chase and play with my son! I can get on the floor and play or ride bikes or go for long walks and even jump in bounce houses with him. I chose this surgery so that I can live the healthiest life possible for my family, and I am so proud of how far I have come.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, do your research, but also know it can be an amazing gift! I wish I had done the surgery sooner. However, I do not think mentally I was ready. So, if you are just starting your journey or wanting to begin your journey, take your time and enjoy the process.”

Our nationally recognized team of surgeons, dietitians, nurses and therapists are here to guide you to a longer, happier life with the help of bariatric surgery. Go to to see if you qualify for surgery, learn about your surgical options and watch our commitment-free online seminar.