Suzanne Carlyle is gaining her confidence back one step at a time. After undergoing bariatric surgery in October 2021 with Dr. K. Robert Williams of New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery at Parkwest Medical Center. Carlyle has lost 100 pounds and has discovered a new self-confidence she didn’t have before.

The last few years have been full of challenges for Carlyle. Slowly but surely, she has taken baby steps to create a new and healthier version of herself, thanks to the support she received from the bariatric team at Parkwest.

Carrying the Weight

Several underlying health conditions made the retiree feel weighed down, all the time. At her highest, she weighed 225 pounds. “I developed all kinds of health problems, including being diagnosed with diabetes in 2018,” she says.

For a long time, Carlyle was embarrassed to have her picture taken. She even avoided attending her high school reunions for fear of people seeing “how huge” she felt she  was. A friend who had undergone weight loss surgery recommended Parkwest Medical Center and bariatric surgeon K. Robert Williams, MD, so she attended an informational seminar to learn more about her options.

“That’s a Big Step”

“I thought it was a big step to have surgery,” Carlyle says. “But I was mentally ready. Even though I was not as heavy as some [people who seek bariatric surgery], I knew I was carrying around this extra weight and that my health was suffering.”

Suzanne lost 100 pounds using bariatric surgery as a tool to achieve a healthier life.

“When I talked to Dr. Williams, I felt comfortable with him,” she recalls. “He answered my questions, and made predictions of weight loss but didn’t make promises. He explained that he could give me the tools to use, but I had to do the work.”

Dr. Williams, bariatric surgeon at Parkwest Medical Center, performed a laparoscopic gastric sleeve in October 2021. This procedure involves surgically removing a portion of the stomach to reduce its size, therefore requiring less food to make one feel full. Dr. Williams says that after lots of pre-operative steps, the procedure takes about one hour. Most patients stay overnight and go home the next day.

At Parkwest Medical Center

Carlyle stayed for one night at Parkwest. She says, “The nurses who cared for me were awesome. They helped me get my fluids and were very patient with me.” Carlyle’s two daughters made the trip to Knoxville to support their mother. The retiree says the pre-op nurse kept her daughters informed and gave plenty of post-operative care instructions. “They explained things on a level that my non-nurse daughter could understand,” she laughs.

She says, “Dr. Williams took my whole medical history into account. He looked at the options and was considerate of my breathing and joint issues.”

Over one year after surgery, she says, “The blessings of that experience are amazing, and I can enjoy my health. I feel I have stepped into a new part of my life.”

Weight Loss Results

Before Weight Loss Surgery

In 12 months, Carlyle has gone from weighing 225 to 125 pounds, and from a size XL or 1X to small or  extra-small. She says, “I set a goal for myself to reach 125-130 pounds. I hit 127 around the one-year mark and now I stay between 125-128 pounds.”

Non-scale victories include wearing smaller clothing sizes, enjoying exercise and coming off all her medications, including the CPAP machine, which is a device that uses air pressure to help people breathe during sleep. “I hated clothing shopping and now I love it. I’m thankful I met my goal and have stayed here for months; I’m doing it for myself.”

Looking Ahead

The retired nurse relocated to Bowling Green Kentucky, where she can spend more time with her grandchildren. She plans to join a local gym where she can keep up her activity.
“I’m looking forward to being able to hike, doing fun summer activities and enjoy more time with the family.”

Carlyle says, “I want to say thank you to Dr. Williams and his New Life staff. They were there every step of the journey, and knowing the support is just a phone call away was comforting, especially that first month after surgery.”

She continues, “Learning to view myself in a different way is difficult. I am planning to go to my 50th high school class reunion, which is something I wouldn’t have considered before.”

Every Step Counts

Her advice to others is to attend the educational classes, pay attention to fluids, protein and the feeling of being full. She shares, “I was at a point where I was on oxygen for breathing and could barely walk or take steps. Now, I realize how strong I am, because I tapped into a strength I didn’t know I had. This tool has given me the  confidence to push through and do it.”

If you’ve been considering bariatric surgery and are finally ready for a healthier life, visit our New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery GET STARTED webpage to start your journey today!