Success Stories

Meet Ashley

236 lbs weight loss

Ashley’s struggle with her weight began as a child. At 13 years of age, she weighed 298 lbs. and felt like she was in a body she did not deserve to be. She had little self-esteem and as she grew older continued to gain weight and allow food to be her comfort. At the age of 27, Ashley found herself not ever wanting to leave the house. She had reached 480 lbs. by this point.

“All my life I was different. I was always the biggest in my family,” she said.

In August of 2013, more life changes took place when she lost her dad. She was a daddy’s girl and after he passed, she began to eat even more to deal with her emotions. Things begin to spiral out of control when she was rushed to the Emergency room with an infection in her bloodstream caused from a cyst on her stomach and then a few weeks later was back in the hospital for nearly three more weeks with cellulitis in her right leg.

In 2015, Ashley fell to the lowest point in her life and found herself in an abusive relationship. She had reached 520 lbs. at this point and had just heard about Dr. Swain offering bariatric surgery.

Her nephews are also a huge part of her life and would constantly ask her when she was going to play with them. All of these life events finally led her to making an appointment with the Bariatric Solutions office and Dr. Swain.

“I thought if there’s any hope I have to go here. So I went to the support group meeting. If you’ve never been a big person and had to deal with the cruelty of bigger people you don’t understand. Other people in the support group know where I’ve been. They were all so supportive, Dr. Swain saw me at my worst and I never felt judged by anyone at their office for my weight,” said Ashley.

Much like our other success stories, Ashley said the first step was admitting she had a problem and knowing she had to make a lot of changes. Ashley underwent gastric bypass and by 9 weeks post-surgery had lost 31 lbs.

She had made a goal to lose 100 lbs. by her birthday, 5 months post surgery. She surpassed her goal and hit 107 lbs. of weight loss.

“I just kept thinking that I don’t want to go back to my old lifestyle. It was miserable. I was getting skin infections constantly and staying sick.”

Ashley has learned a lot and she says her eating habits have changed and she’s able to exercise and walk around and play basketball and kickball with her nephews. She feels like she actually has a life.

“It was hard but once I started losing the weight I could walk a lot further and even play some with my nephews – I used to go to the bathroom and be out of breath.”

About a year after her gastric bypass, Ashley had a skin removal surgery that removed an additional 22 lbs. of skin. She said this was also a big step, which helped remove the excess weight of her stomach from hitting her legs.

As she continued to lose weight, the excess skin became more of an issue and she completed her third surgery to remove additional skin from her legs and arms. Ashley will be 31 in July and is currently at 288 lbs. She continues to go to the support group meetings and says the encouragement continues to motivate her. Just at the last meeting, someone new told her what an inspiration she was. Her goal is 220 lbs.

“I get to spend time with my nephews and help take care of my mom now; they are my world and they need me. I have a better outlook on life because I’m able to do more. I don’t have to worry about my weight killing me now. So much physically has changed, I had Type 2 Diabetes since I was 13, and suffered with sleep apnea since 2006. Both are gone. I’ve also been on thyroid medication since childhood and am now on a lower dose than when I was a teenager. Everything has changed and I have more self-confidence, and I’m in a new relationship with someone who really supports me.”