Moments of joy can come from the strangest of circumstances. Lori Rogers’ laundry is a perfect example. She was going about the mundane task of folding clothes when she stopped to look at a pair of her shorts. She held them up, and that’s when she got that little burst of happiness.
“Never in my lifetime did I think I would be wearing something this small,” Rogers says.
Rogers has lost about a 100 pounds since weight loss surgery performed by board certified surgeon Jonathan Ray, MD. Ray and Mark Colquitt, MD of Foothills Weight Loss Specialists, perform weight loss procedures at the Center for Bariatric Surgery at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.
“It’s not about the size that I’m wearing,” Rogers explains, “but it’s about realizing where I was at, how far I’ve come, and how much better I feel because I’ve lost so much weight.”
Rogers has indeed come a long way in her weight loss journey, and she came a long way to get started. Her home is in Cleveland, Tenn., but her insurance would only cover weight loss procedures performed by a few providers in Knoxville.
Knoxville was a place where her weight had devastated her in the past. She has vivid and not-too-happy memories from the time she landed a position as an usher for the University of Tennessee’s football program.
“I’m a big UT fan, and I was really excited about getting a chance to go up there and work,” Rogers says. “I ushered about half the season, but I had to stand for five hours at each game, and my feet would hurt so bad that I would be almost in tears on the drive back to Cleveland.”
Rogers came to terms with the fact that it wasn’t a problem that could be solved by changing shoes. There was no denying the real source of her pain and exhaustion. “I knew it was my weight. I had to walk up lots of steps in the stadium, and I would be out of breath,” she says. “My heart would just race rapidly as I went back and forth through the stadium. That was one of the big things that helped me decide I had to do something.”
The weight first began piling on, she says, with pregnancy and the birth of her children. She had always considered herself an average-sized person, so when her weight went above average and stayed there it was a problem inside and out.
First, it was her self-esteem that suffered, because she was unhappy with the way she looked. Then the weight began to take its toll physically. Rogers’ family loves to be outdoors, and she began to notice that she couldn’t enjoy activities like hiking or even playing in the yard. Her blood pressure and cholesterol worsened. Then there was the back pain, and the pain in her feet.
“I tried every kind of diet,” Rogers says. “I might lose a little bit of weight, but then I would gain it right back.” Weighing 223 pounds at a height of five feet and three inches, she took stock of her life, and where it was going. “I’ve got to do something,” she said to herself at the time, “or I’m just going to die obese.”
A good friend who was also planning to have weight loss surgery invited Rogers to go along for a visit to Dr. Ray. Rogers had a chance to see firsthand how Dr. Ray and his staff interacted with patients, and something clicked. She knew they would give her both the expertise and the personal care she needed.
“I absolutely fell in love with Dr. Ray and his staff,” Rogers says. “They were super amazing.” She knew she had made the right choice from the first time she met with Dr. Ray. “He gave me all the different options, everyone was so encouraging,” Rogers says.
“They are really concerned about you as a person.” After hearing all the information, then taking some time to think and pray about it, Rogers says she opted for the gastric sleeve procedure in February, 2013.
“Since that day, things have gone for the better, every day,” Rogers says. “I went from a size 22 pants to a size five or smaller, and from a size 2XL to a size small or medium.” Rogers only mentions those sizes to measure the change for people who want to know. The best part of the transformation for her has been from the inside out.
“I’m healthy now, I don’t take blood pressure medicine anymore, and I’m down to one pill a day on my heart medicine instead of three,” Rogers says happily. “I can go hiking, I can get outside and play with my kids, I can stand on my feet, and I feel so much better about myself.”
She’s also able to take on Neyland Stadium, walking the steps from the bottom to the top, “and I still have breath in my lungs when I get to the top – I don’t feel like I’m going to pass out!”
Rogers advises other who are struggling the way she was to get the facts about medical procedures that can help. She realizes that the decision to undergo weight loss surgery is a very personal one. It certainly was for her. But she came to realize that living with obesity put her at greater risk than surgery ever would.
“Dr. Ray is awesome, and I would recommend him as one of the best in the United States!” she says. “I highly recommend weight loss surgery, and I would do it over again.”
For dates and locations of our upcoming FREE bariatric surgery seminars, click here or call 865-984-3413 to register!