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Bariatric Success Stories

Weight Loss Surgery Success Stories

For many who have been obese and have had weight loss surgery, the experience has been both physically and emotionally life-changing. However, a common misconception about weight loss surgery is that it is the easy way out or a magic solution to losing weight. In reality, it's anything but easy. People who have the surgery must adhere to a strict diet and behavior modification program before and after surgery in order to keep losing excessive weight or to maintain their newer, healthier weight. 

Many who have undergone weight loss surgery through the Bariatric Surgery Program at Ohio State's Medical Center claim weight loss surgery has lengthened their life span, improved their physical and mental health and boosted their self-esteem and confidence. Learn how weight loss surgery has affected some of our patients as they share their stories below.

Nancy Davis – after trying many weight loss remedies, Nancy turned to Ohio State's Bariatric Surgery Program and finally got the results she was looking for.

John Rankin – a mechanic who says he's increased his earning potential and job productivity among other things thanks to weight loss surgery and his successful weight loss afterward.

Debara Colegrove – who now says the sky's the limit after having weight loss surgery and finding her inner strength. She stands tall, is confident and above all, has respect for herself.

Susan Riley – struggled her whole life with her weight and after having weight loss surgery went from 366 pounds to maintaining an astonishing 138 pounds.

Nancy Davis


"I would recommend bariatric surgery for anyone who is fighting the obesity battle"
 – Nancy Davis

Surgery Type: Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery
Weight Before Surgery: 282 lbs.
Total Weight Loss: 145 lbs.

In 2002, Nancy Davis, an administrative assistant at Ohio State's Medical Center decided that enough was enough. Here's her story of her journey to successful weight loss:

Other weight loss programs I tried: I had been overweight all my life and was highly addicted to sugar. Over the years I tried so many weight loss remedies, e.g. Weight Watchers (I was their best customer), grapefruit diet, diet pills, Atkins, etc. I would lose about 50-75 pounds and give up. By then my sugar addiction would start all over again.

Why I wanted to lose weight: I was depressed because of my weight, and found everyday actions to be a struggle. Cleaning the house, activities with my children and grocery shopping were exhausting for me. I remember as soon as I would find a shopping cart in the parking lot of a store, I would practically throw my body on the cart handle and just push myself through the store, trying to get what I needed hopefully close to the check-out.

Why I chose Ohio State's Bariatric Surgery Program: I researched multiple bariatric surgery programs and decided that The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was the best option for me. I chose the program because of its before and after surgery support. Bradley Needleman, MD, was also instrumental in my success. I was only in the hospital for two days and was back to work within three weeks.

I would recommend bariatric surgery: for anyone who is fighting the obesity battle. If you work the program as you are told, it will get you where you need to be.

What I did after surgery to ensure my success: Surgery got me to my goal weight and now I work very hard to maintain my weight. I am an avid cyclist. I bike 20 miles daily, and on the weekends more than 50 miles. I also enjoy golfing and water aerobics.

How I feel now: To wake up every morning and know I am no longer fat, I have plenty of clothes in my closet that fit, I can cross my legs, walk all day and constantly have a smile on my face is truly a gift and blessing.


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John Rankin


"I've been liberated from obesity and feel extremely blessed"
 – John Rankin

Surgery Type: Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
Weight Before Surgery: 460 lbs.
Total Weight Loss: 250 lbs.

John Rankin had been morbidly obese most of this life before having weight loss surgery at Ohio State's Medical Center. After many failed attempts at losing weight on his own and much physical and mental anguish over his obesity, he decided to have weight loss surgery:

Why I wanted to lose weight: With a host of medical problems including high blood pressure, sleep apnea, acid reflux and joint pain, I was unhappy with my life and had "zero self-esteem. As a mechanic, obesity affected my productivity and earning potential because I couldn't work efficiently and had trouble working on the ground and underneath cars as mechanics often do.

Key to my success: Aside from making smarter food choices and exercising, a support system is essential. The camaraderie in my support group through Ohio State's Medical Center is wonderfully encouraging. I'm so grateful to the support group and staff there.

Advice for others considering surgery: You need to be 100 percent prepared and committed.  Surgery is not a magic pill for weight loss and should be the last option for people who are obese because the commitment to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight afterward is life-long and must be taken seriously. The road to weight loss was tough.

How I feel now: I never realized how much my weight hindered me until I found this incredible energy. I look and feel better, earn more money because I'm more efficient and productive at my job.


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Debara Colegrove

"I walk tall and proud now. The sky's the limit."
 – Debara Colegrove


Surgery Type: Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
Weight Before Surgery: 375 lbs.
Total Weight Loss: 193 lbs.

Debara Colegrove says she was a "prisoner of her own fat" and had been overweight since her childhood. Read how bariatric surgery at Ohio State changed her life:

Why I wanted to lose weight: My weight always made me feel socially unaccepted. Despite my efforts to accept myself for who I was, she couldn't. Being obese made me feel as if everyone was always staring at me and I didn't feel like I was good enough for anyone.

My defining moment: While vacationing in the Bahamas alone, I became painfully aware of how out of place I felt. I spent my entire vacation on my patio – never once going to the ocean or the pool. Paralyzed with fear, I began thinking about my life, praying and soul-searching.

How I decided on bariatric surgery: I found a before and after picture of a woman that looked just like me who had undergone weight loss surgery. The picture took my breath away. I remember looking at it and thinking this is the person who lives inside of me. I knew then and there that it was not a matter of "if" I'd have the surgery but "when."

How I feel now: I couldn't be happier with the results of my surgery – I am now 193 pounds slimmer. The surgery and weight loss has given me a caliber of life I never knew possible. I don't hesitate to do anything now – the sky's the limit. I walk tall and proud. I'm confident and I expect to be respected. But most importantly, I now have respect for myself.

Why I chose Ohio State's Bariatric Surgery Program: I think my success is due to the great care and preparation for life after surgery that I received. Thank God my surgery was at Ohio State's Medical Center. I received such great care from everyone at a time when I couldn't take care of myself.

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Susan Riley

"Having weight-loss surgery was the best decision I ever made."
 – Susan Riley


Surgery Type: Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
Weight Before Surgery: 366 lbs.
Total Weight Loss: 243 lbs.

It's no exaggeration when Susan Riley, says she struggled with her weight her whole life. Her first visit to a dietitian was in kindergarten. Bariatric surgery has helped her live life to its fullest:

Why I wanted to lose weight: Although I've always been a very positive and active person, my weight caused numerous problems. For example, most people don't worry about fitting into an airplane seat or amusement park ride, but I did for most of my life.

Why I chose Ohio State's Bariatric Surgery Program: With limited success on numerous diets, I finally accepted that dieting alone wasn't the answer. That's when I started considering surgery. As the insurance manager at OSU's College of Dentistry, I found expertise close at hand with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's Bariatric Surgery Program.

Key to my success: Having weight-loss surgery was the best decision I ever made. I know the education and support offered at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's Bariatric Surgery Program, along with regular exercise at the OSU Center for Wellness and Prevention, have been key to my success. It's been a miraculous change in my life, giving me the self-confidence to live life to its fullest.

My only regret is not having the surgery sooner.


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