Fort Sanders Regional Health & Lifestyles
Carrying an extra 100 pounds on your body is literally a heavy burden to bear. For Summer Martin, the health problems that came as a result of that extra weight made bearing that burden even harder.
“I was on two blood pressure medications. I had been diagnosed with high cholesterol. I had sleep apnea. I had a lot of issues with foot pain because of the weight on my feet,” Martin says, “and I was taking a diabetic medicine twice a day.”
Martin has come a long way since bariatric surgery at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and Foothills Weight Loss Specialists.
“Within weeks of the surgery I was off all medication,” Martin says. “All of it. I no longer take diabetes or blood pressure medicine, and my cholesterol’s low. Every health issue has completely disappeared.”
The only pills she takes now are vitamins, and Martin has gone from being obese to being obsessed with living life to the fullest. “I just feel so much healthier. I have more energy; I look like a totally different person,” Martin says. “People have wondered if my husband got a new wife!”
More than weight loss
Martin never saw bariatric surgery as an easy way to slim down – quite the contrary. What convinced her to take a look at weight loss procedures was living with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormone imbalance that can cause gynecologic problems and can lead to serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
During a visit with her gynecologist, Martin learned that weight loss procedures have been successful in alleviating polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms in many women. The gynecologist recommended that Martin see one of the surgeons with the Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery in Knoxville.
Within a week, Martin had an appointment with Mark Colquitt, MD, a board-certified bariatric surgery with Fort Sanders and Foothills Weight Loss Specialists. He determined that Martin would be a candidate for the Loop Duodenal Switch, a procedure that both reduces the size of the stomach and bypasses a portion of the small intestines.
There were plenty of reasons to have the surgery, but the deciding factor was her family. Martin wanted to be present for her husband and daughter for a long time, and she wanted to enjoy life with them along the way. She had her surgery in December 2016.
“It’s definitely not an easy way out,” Martin says. “You make major alterations to your body, and you have to commit to restricting yourself on what you can eat for the rest of your life.”
After successful surgery, Martin carefully followed a nutrition program Dr. Colquitt recommended, retraining her brain to have a healthy perception of the role food plays in her life. She found compassion, comfort and help in a support group for patients and, like a caterpillar wrestling its way out of a cocoon, Martin made her way through the transition to a brand new life that’s better than anything she could have imagined.
“I’m ecstatic – it’s amazing! It has totally transformed my life,” Martin says. “I’ve lost about 130 pounds, and I went from a size 22/24 to a size 4.”
Her excitement over her new life has spilled over into social media with her “Shaping Summer” profile on Instagram and Facebook dedicated to sharing what she’s learned – and how she’s maintaining her weight. Her message is a positive one as she continues her healthy, energetic lifestyle, seeking to inspire others to make the decision that changed her life. “Don’t be afraid to take the risk,” Martin advises, “because it’s worth it.”