I started gaining weight in my mid-40s after becoming disabled from the effects of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). I was sitting in a chair at home hooked up to an oxygen machine that only allowed me to walk around within a 50-foot radius. I didn’t have a lot to do except to eat.
My breathing and the subsequent weight gain caused me to develop sleep apnea; it was so bad that I had to have the most expensive CPAP device on the market. It would contact a medical service if I stopped breathing for a long period of time, and several times I had them contact me on the phone in the middle of the night. I even had an ambulance show up at my door a few times when I didn’t hear the phone calls.
After an emergency room scare, my doctor referred me to Dr. Charles Ferguson, a bariatrics surgeon, at Emory at LaGrange. Bridget (Cosper) in Dr. Ferguson’s office immediately saw how desperate my situation was, how I could hardly breathe. I had gotten up to 350 pounds, and my health and problems and my weight had become a life-or-death situation.
As recommended, I fasted for 10 days prior to the surgery and was down to 336 pounds on the day of my gastric sleeve surgery: July 8, 2014.
After the surgery, I began losing weight rapidly. Part of it was simply because my stomach was smaller, but much of it also was because the surgery gave me a change of mindset. I knew I couldn’t just rely on the surgery; I would have to play an active part in exercising and not just eating less, but eating healthy.
Dr. Ferguson and his staff helped educate me on what to eat and what not to eat, and I also began researching for myself. Just as they’ve advised, I’ve sworn off carbonated beverages and have canceled out sugar for the most part. My meals consist of foods like chicken and broccoli … and low carbs. I also push myself every day. I typically work out for two hours a day, either in the gym or by walking.
Now at age 52, I weighed 196 pounds on July 8, 2015, a year after my surgery. Now I’m down to 192, so I’ve lost 158 pounds. I still have COPD, with spots and blackness on my lungs.
However, the positive changes with my health have been remarkable. My blood pressure is right under 120 over 80. I no longer need my sleep apnea machine. My heart doctor has released me and says my heart is now fine.
I’m so thankful to Dr. Ferguson and his staff. God saw me through this whole thing. Because of my surgery, I’m able to do anything in life now. I’ve decided that if I have been given this gift, that if God had chosen for me to enjoy this miracle, then I will treat it as such.
I had my weight-loss surgery in May 2013 after having a lot of health problems due to my weight. I weighed 342 at my highest. My knees would give out a lot, as did my back, and I had high blood pressure as well as really bad acid reflux. After looking into which hospitals could do weight-loss surgery, I went online with a friend of mine and was pointed in the direction of West Georgia Medical Center.
I made it a point to attend one of their seminars, and my life changed from that point on after meeting Dr. Wes Turton. I also met an angel named Angela Allen from his office. The two of them helped me through the process with my paperwork and my primary care doctor. After considering my options, I chose to have the gastric sleeve procedure.
I am so thankful to Dr. Turton to taking the time out to let me know he cared about me. I’m also thankful to the entire staff at West Georgia Medical Center; they all made me feel at home and were so nice, from the doctors all the way to the cleaning staff. Everyone made me feel like I was the most important person there.
More than two years after my surgery, I still feel great and have had no health problems. I got married in 2014. I weigh about 278 now, and my lowest weight has been 262. (After I got married, I put on a few more pounds, but I am nowhere back to what I used to be!)
I would like to thank the staff of Dr. Turton and the other West Georgia Medical Center staff for all the love and care given to me before and after my surgery. I brag about them all the time because they are my new family now.
I started to really gain weight after my battle with ovarian cancer in 1985 while in my thirties.
With my Lord God's grace I won the battle with cancer, but not the weight gain afterwards.
I tried every diet and every plan I could find. I would lose maybe thirty pounds with each plan, but I would gain that and more back each time. As I grew older and more obese, I developed more and more health problems. My doctor told me about Dr. Turton, and I went to a seminar a week later. I liked what I heard, found that my insurance would pay, and after prayers I set an appointment. Since I didn’t have as much as some to lose, I had the Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery. I was very impressed with the doctor and all his staff. They were wonderful to me and made me feel like a friend.
I had very good results with the surgery and after effects. I was only sore for a few days. The doctors and all the hospital staff were wonderful to me and my husband. Our experience at West Georgia was a very good one.
I no longer take a preventive diabetic shot, my arthritis does not bother me as much, and my blood pressure stays normal.
I feel my sleep apnea is no longer a problem. It feels wonderful to drop the pounds and keep them off. I went from slacks size 20 to 12. I walk regular and feel so much better.
I thank God for my many blessings.
I can say that I am very glad that I had this surgery and wish I had done so earlier. I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Turton and his great staff at West Georgia Medical Center. They are wonderful to me.
At 4’11” and 296 pounds, Andrea did not want to go outside or in public for fear of being judged by others. Deeply depressed because of her size, she had put on the weight in the last six years, and found herself unable even to play in the yard with her children.
That’s when she began considering surgical weight loss options, weighing the pros and cons of all three procedures before settling on the gastric sleeve procedure. Andrea decided to have the sleeve procedure not only to get back to a healthier weight but also because another physician was requiring her to lose weight to prepare for another procedure she needed.
Aside from her fear of general anesthesia and surgery, Andrea says she felt comfortable going forward with her surgery in Dr. Charles Ferguson’s hands. She did, however, have concerns that her surgery may not produce the desired results because she was already dieting and exercising.
Before getting the gastric sleeve, Andrea says her knees and legs were swollen from her weight, her cholesterol was at a slightly high level and she was being treated for depression. Since her procedure, all of these symptoms have gone away.
“I’m happy and healthy. I thank God every day for bringing Dr. Ferguson into my life.”
In addition to getting her weight back to a healthy one, Andrea can do things she couldn’t before like elliptical bike riding or skateboarding with her son.
“I can walk 10 miles and not be out of breath. I can ride a bicycle and not feel like anyone’s judging me.”
Andrea has already recommended Dr. Ferguson to three of her friends, who have all chosen to have a procedure done. She would recommend the surgery to anyone considering it because she says the gastric sleeve surgery has changed her life for the better.
“I’m a stronger person and a lot more confident. I love taking pictures now.”
Gloria struggled with her weight all of her adult life and felt discouraged. After going on a cruise in 2009 and seeing pictures of herself afterwards, she decided to have the Lap Band® procedure in 2010.
“I didn’t want people to see me. My face was fat. My clothes were too tight. I just didn’t want to go places.”
Before her surgery, Gloria attended a seminar with Dr. Wes Turton, which she said made her feel at ease about her decision to have weight loss surgery. Before her Lap Band® surgery, Gloria struggled with arthritis, pain in her legs and knees, and her self-image. She didn’t feel good about herself or want to go shopping.
Since her procedure, Gloria says her arthritis does not bother her anymore and she loves shopping for new clothes. She used to become out of breath after walking a short distance, and now she has so much energy.
“I’ve had several coworkers ask if they should get this procedure, and I always encourage them to do it. Dr. Turton is the best surgeon, and it’s the best decision I’ve made in my life.”
Christy had been overweight for five years and was gaining an additional five pounds each year. When her knee collapsed twice, Christy, the mother of a five-year-old, felt it was time to make a life change. After meeting with Dr. Charles Ferguson and considering all her options, Christy decided to have gastric bypass surgery.
Before her weight gain, Christy was always outgoing and a people person, but being overweight shut her down from that.
Prior to her surgery, she had a lot of concerns. Working in the midst of several nurses, she had heard negative comments about bariatric surgery and read negative information online. However, she decided to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ferguson and make a decision for herself.
Since her gastric bypass, Christy no longer suffers from sleep apnea. And best of all, she now can ride amusement park and carnival rides with her son and play ball with him in the yard.
Christy recommends this procedure to anyone considering it. Her words of advice: “Get a good doctor, get your information, follow the rules, and you’ll be fine.”
After dieting for years and having polycystic ovarian syndrome, Misty Williams decided to make a change in her life and have the Lap Band® procedure.
During her years with her weight struggle, she was happy-go-lucky on the outside, but on the inside, she felt aged, out of breath and tired. “I was 30, but I felt 50.”
Misty was against bariatric surgery before having it herself. She saw it as the easy way out, and continued to try to lose weight on her own without much luck. After she attended a seminar offered by Dr. Wes Turton, she decided to give the Lap Band® a try.
Before the procedure, Misty was taking medication for high blood pressure, which is no longer a problem for her since the Lap Band®. She now leads a more active lifestyle and runs or walks a mile or so each day.
She enjoys doing things she couldn’t do before the Lap Band like running with her niece and nephew and riding amusement park or carnival rides.
For people who meet the guidelines, Misty recommends they research all their options before making a decision because it isn’t for everyone. “If you’re not mentally strong, don’t do it. It’s a lifestyle change, and it’s not temporary.”
When Kim Warrick decided to have the gastric sleeve procedure, she was overweight, unhealthy, and had high blood pressure. Her daughter was soon to be married, and she wanted to look good for the wedding and be around for her grandchildren. Diabetes also runs in her family, so she was concerned about the possibility of developing the disease.
Before the procedure, her clothes didn’t fit, and she felt unhappy when she was shopping. It was hard to find stylish clothes in her size. Although she had typical concerns about surgery, she had complete trust in Dr. Wes Turton and his staff, so she felt little worry going into her procedure.
Kim had high blood pressure, sleep apnea and worried about developing diabetes when she was overweight. Since having the gastric sleeve, her blood pressure is back to a healthy level and she leads a healthy, active lifestyle.
“I love my life. I love me. I see less and less of me, which makes me love me.”
Kim says she has so much energy now that she feels as if she can outdo her kids at activities. Intimacy is better, and she can ride a bike without feeling like she’ll fall over. Day-to-day activities like getting in and out of the car and going to the movies also are much easier.
Kim said she would 100 percent recommend this procedure with Dr. Turton to anyone considering it.
When Stacey Lewis tried everything to lose weight, but still couldn’t because of her back pain and medications she was taking, she knew it was time to make a change.
“I had to get back to me,” she said.
When she was overweight, Stacey was less self-confident. Every day was a struggle, and she was unhappy because she had not had issues with her weight before.
Stacey almost died in 2006 from asthmatic bronchitis. She had asthma and sleep apnea and needed a CPAP machine to sleep through the night. She also had disc degenerative disease in her neck and back and dead bone in her knees which prevented her from exercising.
After a close call with death, Stacey prayed about what to do. After much prayer, she had no doubt the Lap Band® with Dr. Ferguson was the right choice for her.
Since her weight loss, Stacey no longer takes any medication for the conditions she previously experienced. She leads an active healthy lifestyle, plays on her company softball team, walks three miles and jogs one mile, and can play with her nieces and nephews.
Stacey recommends this procedure to those who are considering it.
“Pray about it, then go for it,” she said. “Make sure it’s what you want to do. For health reasons, I would say it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself.”