When her primary care physician put her on yet another blood pressure medication, Michelle Long decided to take control of her health.
About to turn 36, Long weighed more than 350 pounds. In addition to her high blood pressure, the Kingston resident had high cholesterol and diabetes.
“I was constantly swollen. I was in pain, and things were just out of control,” Long said. “My son was getting ready to graduate from high school, and I decided it was time to do something for me.”
A friend recommended she schedule a consultation at the Centegra Weight-Loss Surgery Center with Amir J. Heydari, MD, FACS, medical director and a bariatric and general surgeon with Centegra Physician Care.
Long went to one of the free informational sessions at the center and immediately felt comfortable with the team. She signed up for surgery at the end of the session.
Before her gastric sleeve surgery, she went through the six-month process to begin lifestyle changes. She met with dietitians, Dr. Heydari, a psychologist and other health professionals to help create a plan to meet her long-term weight-loss goals.
“The classes before surgery taught me so much,” Long said. “They taught me the right habits so that I would have a plan after surgery to keep the weight off,” Long said.
She also was impressed by the support she received from the Centegra Weight-Loss Surgery Center team, including nurses, dietitians and Dr. Heydari, who answered all her questions.
“All of them are just there to help you no matter what,” Long said. “You feel the trust.
“With Dr. Heydari, he’s so open about everything and so honest. I feel like he gives you reachable and attainable goals.”
‘A lot of the process is mental, and Centegra is there for you for every bit of it’
Long had the gastric sleeve surgery on Nov. 29, 2016. Also known as a sleeve gastrectomy, Dr. Heydari altered her stomach to create a sleeve-shaped organ. This process helps her only eat a small amount of food at a time.
In the time since her surgery, she’s lost more than 180 pounds — nearly half her peak body weight. Long’s diabetes is in remission, her blood pressure and cholesterol have returned to healthy levels and her pain has diminished greatly.
“I didn’t realize how much everything hurt and ached until I got the weight off,” Long said. “I’ve done things I hadn’t done in years — from hiking to running. I’m more active and I feel more comfortable in my own skin. It’s been an incredible change.”
Maintaining the lifestyle changes she’s made can be a struggle sometimes, yet Long said it’s completely worth it.
“A lot of the process is mental, and Centegra is there for you for every bit of it,” Long said. “You can call someone. You can go to a support group meeting. No matter what, there’s always someone there for you.”
Long recommends the program to people who are trying to lose weight on their own.
“Trust in Dr. Heydari and the team at the Weight-Loss Surgery Center, and it’s going to be OK,” she said.
To learn more about weight-loss surgery, sign up online for a free informational session in Huntley.
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