Patient's weight loss journey inspires a will to live.
For Michelle Davis, avoiding mirrors was a common daily practice. Doing so helped her avoid the reminder that her appearance did not match her ambition. She felt the person staring back at her was not a true reflection of the person she knew she was on the inside. Her obesity was coupled with hypertension, high blood pressure, and a growing number of additional health problems.
After years of failed diets and weight loss pills, her primary care doctor recommended weight loss surgery. Her initial thought was no! There were so many stigmas about it being the ‘the easy way out’ and she was not sure she would meet the qualifications. Yes she was obese, but not like those on TV shows…and she was still young.
“I went on a cruise for my 40th birthday and just felt terrible - I was embarrassed about my weight, I was constantly hot, and really never felt good about me,” said Michelle. “My significant other proposed to me on the cruise, despite being at one of my lowest times. He saw the real me and wanted to marry me. I finally had a partner and children who were adventurous, and just loved me for me. I knew I wanted to change my life – I wanted to live.”
After returning from her cruise, she decided to meet with Dr. Chris Finley, general surgeon, to discuss weight loss surgery.
“Dr. Finley was just fantastic from the very first moment,” explained Michelle. “He said surgery is just a tool, it’s not the easy way out. I had to put in the work and commit to an entire lifestyle change.”
In her six-month preparation for surgery, Michelle had to undergo a complete lifestyle change coupled with several check-ins with her physician. In those months she learned that, “Life can often be centered around food. When you have a birthday, anniversary, graduation, or really celebration of any sort, it’s around food. I had to learn to say ‘no thank you’ or ‘I’ve brought my own’.”
Over that time, she reflected and learned that she was overcoming an addiction and how for most of her life, food was comfort.
Through her journey and after surgery, Michelle said her support system was crucial. “My husband, my kids, and my mom contributed so much to my weight loss success,” said Michelle. “I could not have done it without their unconditional love. I am no longer in pain, I’m able to walk all day long and go on adventures with my family. I don’t have to think twice about fitting into a seat at a theme park anymore.”
In addition, she explained support groups were a huge help.
Michelle is currently down 140lbs and she stated, “For the first time ever, my lab results are perfect – I’m not afraid to look in the mirror anymore and the person staring back at me fits who I feel like on the inside.”
For more information on weight loss services at HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital, call (941) 624-8281.