Episode 1: How did I get here?
Tara Gustin is pretty much a success at everything she does. She's a great mom, a loving wife, and a doting grandmother, but she could never quite get a handle on her weight.
"I was pretty thin up until I had my son. I lost quite a bit of weight after having him, but could never shed the last 20-25 pounds," Tara said.
Over the years that 20-25 pounds ballooned into 100 pounds and Tara couldn't run from it anymore.
"It really smacks you in the face when you look at the scale and you hear the doctor say you are morbidly obese," Tara recalls.
After the diagnosis, Tara did a lot of soul searching and a lot of crying. She wondered how she let herself get to this point. Then she decided to do something about it. Her first step in taking control of her weight was a trip to the CHI Health Weight Management Center at Immanuel Medical Center. The weight management program there helps people, like Tara, find a weight loss solution that fits their needs.
"Between the diagnosis of diabetes, my blood being pressure out of control, high cholesterol, a brother who had a heart attack at 42 and passed away, a dad who had 5 heart attacks and passed away – it was clear with our family history that something had to be done," Tara said.
Tara opted for laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery with CHI Health bariatric surgeon Dr. Tom White. That's where the digestive system is rewired – reducing a stomach the size of a football to something closer to an egg.
Dr. White and his team have performed close to two-thousand weight loss surgeries in 10 years. Tara knows the only way she will be a success story is if she sticks with the program.
"I'm ready for a whole new way of life. I'm excited about the journey. I know it's going to be hard but I know it's worth it," Tara said.
So after years of putting family first, now it's Tara's turn. This southern girl, who grew up eating fried chicken, pot roast, and gravy, is looking forward to buying skinny jeans, getting re-acquainted with her cheek bones, and showing her family a new way of life.
"Down the road I see my kids eating healthier and their kids eating better. I want to see my kids pass up a McDonalds and say I can go home and make something better. I don't want them to have the struggles I've had," Tara said.
Watch Tara on her weight loss journey. Follow her into the operating room and hear in her own words her fears and expectations. You will also see first-hand how bariatric surgery changed her life.