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As a career long nurse, Marty Heins was used to working long hours, having plenty of meals-on-the-go and being exposed to copious amounts of calorie-laden-goodies in the breakroom. Pounds would come and go.
“Experiences give you knowledge, bad experiences give you wisdom. When I was younger I was very successful at losing weight,” laughs Marty. “But trying to lose weight after you’re 50 is like watching grass grow. It was very difficult. Very, very, very slow.”
Marty says after her 50th birthday losing weight was nearly impossible. Then, she ran into an old friend who had undergone weight loss surgery and kept more than 100 pounds off for over a year.
“My friend had surgery with Dr. Halmi. I’ve known Dr. Halmi for years!” says Marty. “I laugh because I refer to him as my personal surgeon! Over the last couple of decades, he has taken out my gallbladder, then my appendix and a few years later when my husband needed hernia surgery, he took care of him. So, I knew what kind of surgeon he was. He’s phenomenal.”
In August 2016, she signed up for an information seminar and met with Dr. Halmi. He explained the surgery and recommended the vertical sleeve gastrectomy. That got the ball rolling.
“My prayer was, if this is God’s will just open the doors, because I wasn’t sure. Was it just my ego because I want to look thin?” remembers Marty. “It wasn’t about the looks believe it or not. It was more about energy level. I wanted to participate in my own life. I didn’t want to be tired all the time anymore.”
After several months of a multidisciplinary program which included a battery of tests, a sleep study and meetings with the doctors and dieticians, Marty had her surgery in February 2017.
“It really was a fork in the road for me,” explains Marty. “I was 57 when I had the surgery. I thought to myself, I had two choices, I could go into retirement, getting older, doing less and less and developing all the age and obesity related health problems, or I could become the active person I wanted to be.”
Initially, Marty woke from surgery uncomfortable and in pain, but a day later, she was up and about and from there hasn’t stopped moving. “I figured it was up to me, I just wanted to do as much as I could.”
That meant cutting out the cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream and desserts she once loved. “For me, I’m an all or nothing type person, I rarely do gray so I don’t want to open the door to temptation. This whole process was about my health. I’ve survived two and a half years without eating sweets, red meat, caffeine, so why would I introduce something that’s not good for me?”
Marty's life looks a lot different than it did several years ago. She’s no longer plagued by sleep apnea and she’s now a yoga devotee. “I feel great! I feel incredible. Really, really good. I exercise all the time. I discovered yoga after my surgery and I like to go to the gym 4 -5 times a week to do cardio.”
Weight loss surgery has changed her life and given her the opportunity to live the future she only once dreamed about. Her advice to others struggling with their weight is simple, but direct. “Do it! But, you have to be ready to make the necessary changes. It is a lifestyle change… it is 100% a lifestyle change and unless you’re ready to commit to it, don’t do it.”
Weight loss surgery isn’t for everyone. To learn if you qualify, visit sentaranova.com/wl, there you can watch our informational videos to discover if weight loss surgery is right for you. Or you can call 703-523-1196 to speak with our Bariatric Nurse Navigator and learn more.