Patient Testimonials | Bariatric Weight Loss Program | Cape Fear Valley Health
Bariatric Weight Loss Program
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Patient Testimonials

Learn more about the weight loss success you can find with the Cape Fear Valley Bariatric Weight Loss Program by getting to know some of our most successful patients. As you have already researched and learned, these stories of success and achievement only begin to scratch the surface when it comes to the life changing outcomes that our Bariatric Weight Loss Program can provide.

I Just Wish I Had Done It Sooner

Connie Groves had been carrying around a few extra pounds for years. Diet and exercise made little dent in her quest to lose weight and quitting smoking only made her weight go up even more.

Fed up and ready for a change, she turned to bariatric weight loss surgery. Ovie Appresai, M.D., performed a sleeve gastrectomy to reduce her stomach size and she finally got the weight loss results she was looking for.

Read Connie's Full Story Here

Mountaintop Weight Loss Epiphany

For Rachel Santillan, the epiphany that would lead to her nearly 100-pound weight loss came on a mountaintop in Ghana.

"Everbody was passing me on the way up", she said. "Older people, younger people, they were all passing me. When I got to the top, I said, this is going to change."

After years of trying a variety of diets, exercise and even medication, Santillan found her solution in Cape Fear Valley Health's Bariatric Surgery Program. In the summer of 2017, she had a procedure known as sleeve gastrectomy...

Read Rachael's Full Story Here

Feeling Fine

Losing weight is one thing. Keeping it off is always another, as Susan Dees can attest.

The Hope Mills mother of two had always struggled with her weight, despite being a standout athlete growing up and staying active over the years. Constant dieting didn't help either. Whatever she lost on the bathroom scale always came back, and then some.

Two years ago, Dees had enough of the yo-yo dieting and decided to undergo weight loss surgery.

Read Susan's Full Story Here

Bariatric Surgery Reversed Brenda's Diabetes

Brenda Storms had struggled for years with diabetes, as well as obesity, stemming from her childbearing years. Traditional type-2 diabetes therapy never really helped, nor did exercise regimens for her weight. But her outlook changed dramatically after she underwent gastric bypass surgery at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in June 2012.

The 53-year-old Bladen County schoolteacher lost more than 70 pounds in six months and she went from a size 20 dress down to size 11. Even better, she didn't need daily insulin shots and medication anymore for her skyrocketing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Her blood sugar numbers fell back to normal just two days after surgery.

"My endocrinologist was pleased as punch," Brenda said. "I couldn't get my numbers that low when I was on medication." Brenda, a Native American, lost her mother, sister and brother to diabetes, all of whom died in their 50s. Now in her 60's, Brenda has achieved the long-term weight loss she always dreamed of, thanks to bariatric surgery

Read Brenda's Full Story Here

A New Chapter in Life

Jeremiah Smith has always been an active guy. He grew up wrestling and working with his dad doing odds and ends. He was taught to never slow down or quit until the job was done. As he started to age and saw others in his family suffer from health issues, Jeremiah decided it was time to make a change. "My main goal for bariatric surgery was to avoid the heart and stomach issues my dad had," said Jeremiah. "I knew the quality of life I wanted, and health issues would have prevented me from living that way." Jeremiah's family physician mentioned bariatric surgery as an option and he followed up with surgeon Ovie Appresai, M.D., to learn more. In September 2021, Jeremiah had gastric bypass surgery. When he started, he weighed 325 pounds. Less than three months later, he was down to 228.

How has he lost the weight? "I never stop moving," said Jeremiah. Whether he's kayaking, working on his vehicles, or tending to his goats and chickens, he's always staying busy. Even though Jeremiah has seen success with the surgery, he cautions others not to jump right in without first doing their research. "Bariatric surgery is a major lifestyle change," said Jeremiah. "My advice to anyone considering it is talk to the doctors, go to Cape Fear Valley's support group and try other diets first."

Jeremiah loved eating doughnuts and going to the buffet, but now that's not an option. "This is a permanent medical procedure that not a lot of people are ready for," said Jeremiah. "It involves a huge lifestyle change that's hard for some to deal with." Leaning on the support group helped, as did following all the directions given to him by Dr. Appresai and the team at Cape Fear Valley.

"Now that I have had the surgery," said Smith. "I have lost a bunch of weight and it's only the beginning. I'm going to continue to be active and continue to lose the weight. This surgery is a chapter in my life that's going to change the course of my story."

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