Sleeve Gastrectomy

Jackie's "Before and After" Photo

Jackie Savoy, is a 47-year-old working mom of three. Her weight-loss surgery was performed by David Wernsing, MD, at Penn in February 2011. Here, she talks about how a sleeve gastrectomy procedure helped her lose almost 150 pounds and is helping her cross things off of her “bucket list.” 

I chose to have bariatric surgery as a last resort for regaining my life. I’d been overweight ever since I was a child. As a mom and wife, I always put everyone else’s needs before mine. I decided it was time to do something for me and my health so that I could be the joyful, healthy person I wanted to be. 

I weighed 328 pounds before I began my weight-loss journey with the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program, and today I credit the program’s team with saving my life. 

Happy – On the Outside

Before surgery, I was happy on the outside. 

Logistically, I tried to mask the fact my weight affected my lifestyle. I hated airplanes and avoided amusement parks because I was always fearful I wouldn’t fit in a seat or on a ride. I dreaded going to restaurants, because I worried if I had to go to the bathroom, I wouldn’t have enough room to move through the tables. And going to my kids’ schools for “Back to School Night” was a nightmare because I could never fit into the school seats. 

I stopped going to my family physician because I was so afraid he would lecture me and tell me to go on a diet. When I finally did go, I learned I had hypertension and needed medication. 

Through a sleep study, I also found out I had severe sleep apnea. In fact, while “sleeping” for eight hours, I learned I had only really been sleeping four hours because my breathing had stopped more than 150 times during the night. It’s a miracle I never fell asleep at the wheel of my car. 

Finally, as a certified public accountant, I worried my clients wouldn’t trust my knowledge or professionalism. I was fearful everyone was judging me and my professional capabilities based on my weight.

A Team Approach to Weight-loss Surgery

I went to a weight-loss surgery information session at Penn Medicine without telling anyone because I knew this was a decision I needed to make on my own. I was extremely impressed with what I learned at that information session, and made my first appointment with the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program. From that moment, I knew I had a team of compassionate experts on my side to help me reach my goals. 

My surgeon, dietitian and support group leader became constant sources of support and encouragement. With their help, I lost 47 pounds before surgery and was ready to begin a new chapter in my life. 

Determined to Succeed

Since I joined the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program, I’ve lost almost 150 pounds, and have completely reinvented my life so I can continue to meet my lifestyle goals. 

I wake up early to exercise every morning, and challenge myself with different activities. I track everything I eat to make sure I meet my nutritional guidelines. And I am having a ball shopping for my new, size 12 body. 

I am also off all my hypertension medications and no longer have sleep apnea. I feel healthy and I have the energy to do the things I once thought I could not. 

I’ve begun crossing things off my “bucket list” – things I could have never done before my weight-loss surgery. I took golf lessons, skied, and am training to run my first 5K race. 

I feel fabulous and unstoppable!

But, perhaps the biggest difference is that I truly love myself. I put my needs first. I don’t care what other people think about me because I know I am healthy and strong.

I no longer hide in the shadows – I want to be seen and heard!

I never knew how good life could be until the team at the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program helped me start living.

Learn if bariatric surgery is right for you by attending a free information session about the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program. 

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