Weight Loss Surgery Eases Tina’s Arthritis Pain, Resolves Diabetes

Tina’s arthritis forced her to retire early, so she chose to reclaim her life through weight surgery at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital. Read her story.

The First Step

I struggled with weight loss for years. I was tired of being unhealthy, overweight and not being able to enjoy life. I had to retire in September 2020 from my job of 32 years because the severity of my arthritis would no longer let me function the way I needed to. I decided I had to do something to get the weight off or I would be homebound soon. The extra weight was only making my arthritis worse.

My friend posted her weight loss journey online and had nothing but great things to say about her experience with Dr. Samuel Bledsoe, bariatric and general surgeon. I chose the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital based on her story and positive experience.

I had the gastric sleeve procedure in April 2021 with Dr. Bledsoe. Now, I am no longer diabetic, my blood pressure is great and all my labs are perfect. I’ve lost more than 100 pounds from my highest weight of 307.

Victories, Big and Small

I can do so much more for myself physically that I couldn’t do before surgery because I was tired or hurting. It’s the little things that truly make a difference. Cleaning the house used to take me a few days, but now I can accomplish this in a couple of hours, and I go for long walks. My new hobby is updating our home; I’ve been painting walls and furniture.

I follow my son around to ball tournaments and volunteer at church. I can keep my great nieces and nephews when needed.

I love to travel! I have been able to travel and even fly using the “regular” seat belt – no extension for me! My wedding rings fit, and I can cross my legs. Even if I do not lose any more weight, I am so much healthier and feel better than I have in years.

The bariatric lifestyle is easier to follow than I imagined. I have always been a picky eater, so I was not sure how I was going to like the change in veggies (from starchy to non-starchy). But I have discovered a new love for healthy eating — I never thought I would say that!

Confident and Grateful

I can honestly say that this has been the best experience. I couldn’t have done this without the amazing team at Arkansas Heart Hospital’s Bariatric & Metabolic Institute like Dr. Bledsoe, my surgeon; Nick, his APRN; Courtney and Shanna, the dietitians. All the other ladies are wonderful people to work with. Not one time have I felt like they are frustrated or inconvenienced by my many questions and doubts. I have never felt shamed or ridiculed because of my weight.

I’m thankful for the continued support from the BMI team. At my one-year checkup, I met with the nutritionist and nurse practitioner, and had my scan. The staff are all encouraging!

Weight loss surgery is a great tool when it is used appropriately. I will never regret my decision to do something about my unhealthy lifestyle. I thank Dr. Bledsoe and the BMI team for helping me find a healthy me!

To those interested in bariatric surgery, I encourage you to go to the BMI website to watch the online seminar, and I recommend they make an appointment. But I also say that you must be ready to make big changes in your life regarding the types of food you eat.

If you’re tired of diets and are looking for a sustainable path to weight loss, bariatric surgery may be right for you. Visit bmi.arheart.com for our weight loss surgery options, qualifications, insurance information and more.