Desarae came to Children’s Health℠ in 2015 looking for help and support getting healthy. Her blood pressure was dangerously high and she was overweight, despite impressive efforts on her own to reach a healthier weight.
She was referred to the COACH (Center for Obesity and its Consequences in Health) Program at Children’s Health by her pediatrician, and from her first visit, she could tell things were looking up.
“Everyone was as nice as they could be and helped me a lot,” Desarae says.
After an initial evaluation, she met with a team of experts in the Bariatric Surgery Program to determine if she was a candidate for surgery. They evaluated her cardiac and pulmonary health, assessed her endocrine system and checked for other underlying health issues. She also met with a social worker, psychologist and bariatric dietician to develop a pre- and post-surgery plan of action, which includes dietary counseling and follow up appointments for five years following surgery.
Desarae made the decision to pursue surgery on her own. She recognized that while she had been working hard to lose weight, she could only do so much. With the guidance and support of the Bariatric team and the COACH clinic, she lost an additional 20 pounds in preparation for surgery. Her work ethic stood out to Grayce O’Neill, APN, Bariatric Surgery Physician Assistant and Bariatric Program Coordinator, who says she was a “highly motivated patient who worked hard to improve her health and optimize her weight loss.”
Desarae had surgery in the summer of 2016 at age 16 and is completely happy with her decision. She has lost another 50 pounds, but more importantly, she gained a new outlook on her relationship with food.
“They helped me move past using food as a way to cope with my life,” she says.
Her long-term goals are to keep losing weight and keep the weight off. Of course, as a high school senior, her goals also include making the most of her time before graduation as a member of her high school band, French club and her school’s chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).
Her biggest piece of advice to those who may be embarking on their own weight loss journey?
“No matter what, you have to want this for yourself,” she says. “No one else can do this for you, but if you stick with it, it will get easier.”