Success Stories

More Success Stories

Jodi Johnson - Bariatric Surgery - Lap Band

Lost 90+ lbs.

Believe it or not, Jodi used to be almost 100 pounds heavier. She has the vacation photos – and memories – to prove it. On a zip-lining excursion, Jodi was embarrassed to find herself in need of a larger-than-normal harness.

Everyone in her family had come to accept her size. No one saw her as overweight. No one, that is, except Jodi. After trying all the diets, Jodi decided on another option – weight loss surgery. She scheduled a lap band procedure. "The one thing they drilled into my head is this doesn't solve everything," Jodi recalls. This is just a tool that really helps you."


Kaleena Henning - Gastric Sleeve

Highest Weight: 269.8 lbs., Current Weight: 137.8 lbs

Kaleena cites several reasons why she had bariatric surgery: getting a permanent solution to my yo-yo lifestyle; infertility issues; live longer for my husband and future kids; get healthy and feel better; and to be able to shop anywhere I want. She had tendinitis in her knee, high blood pressure, and took medication for depression. All these conditions have been resolved.

I can now be active at the gym, compete in big bowling tournaments and run on the treadmill! I eat smaller portions and feel easily satisfied. Bonus: I can shop anywhere! She adds: being successful in your weight loss journey is up to you! Never hesitate to reach out to your support system, the journey is never ending. I was set-up for success in my own mind and with my support system. I am now making my dreams come true! I plan to bowl in professional tournaments and I moved into my dream home. I can move up and down the stairs pain free and when cleared, I plan on trying to have children.


Shane Emery - Gastric Bypass

Highest Weight: 360 lbs., Current Weight: 225 lbs

"I finally decided to have surgery because my wife was pregnant and I wanted to be around to raise my son. I always thought about having surgery, but mentally I struggled with the idea and life post-surgery. I enjoy playing with my son and not getting worn out. I enjoy going to the gym or running and not feeling pain and exhaustion after I’m done. I like going to a store and being able to buy clothes off the rack without having to special order them."

"It is the best decision I made for myself and my family! It is also one of the hardest things I have ever done. I thought going in that everything would be easy and surgery would be a cure all. I quickly learned in the pre-op education that surgery is just a tool, and not a cure. Watching exactly what I eat and working out has been hard work, but it has paid off, without a doubt!"


Carol Hartvigsen - Bariatric Surgery - Gastric Band

Carol lost 187 lbs. , dropping from 425 lbs. to 238 lbs.

Carol Hartvigsen lost 187 lbs. after having Gastric Band surgery. Prior to surgery she had high blood pressure. She decided to have bariatric surgery before her weight started to cause additional problems.

After surgery, she has lower blood pressure. Carol said she is more active, has a better attitude and it doesn’t hurt to move around! Surgery is not easy. There is no magic potion, but " It’s a wonderful tool to help keep me in-line! EXERCISE & portion control help me continue to lose weight, and keep it off!"


Cathy Kemplin - Diabetes Education

A1c from 14.0% to 5.5%

Cathy Kemplin achieved an A1c of less than 7% by watching what she eats, taking her medications correctly and exercising. Her exercise of choice is walking.

Cathy's motivation for reducing her A1c was due to her loss of two toes to diabetes complications. She also wants to be around for her granddaughter

Cathy advice to others with diabetes, "You have to address the disease, not ignore it."


Cody Bloemker - Bariatric Surgery - Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Lost 192 lbs.; dropping from 317 lbs. to 125 lbs.

Cody Bloemker lost 192 lbs. after having Gastric Bypass RNY. Prior to surgery she had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, GERD, IBSD. She also had migraines, back pain, shortness of breath and depression. She decided to have bariatric surgery because she was tired of being depressed embarrassed and miserable. Cody said, "I felt invisible and I knew my health was a serious risk. I did not want to die young."

After surgery, she is running marathons and hiked 12 miles into the Superstition Mountains. Her health is improved and she no longer takes multiple medications. Cody said, "I can look in the mirror and actually LOVE myself. I like what I see and I know I can maintain my current weight and be a success story. If you follow the guidelines and do not give up, you WILL succeed."


Jennifer Shila - Bariatric Surgery - Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Weight loss of 122 1bs.

Jennifer Shila lost 122 lbs. after having Gastric Bypass surgery. Prior to surgery she had anxiety and depression. She decided to have bariatric surgery due to a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Jennifer said, "I didn't want to have to deal with medical conditions that were eminent in my future. I wanted to keep up with my kids."

After surgery, she is no longer taking prescription medication and is no longer being treated for anxiety or depression. She enjoys trying on clothes off the rack and being able to ride horses at Mahoney State Park. She said, "Although the journey hasn't been easy, I have never regretted having surgery. I have more energy and I'm able to do so much more. The support group is a GREAT tool."


Jennifer Carlson- Bariatric Surgery - Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Weight loss of 287 lbs., dropping from 497 lbs. to 210 lbs.

Jennifer Carlson lost 287 lbs. after having Gastric Bypass surgery. Jennifer decided to have bariatric surgery in order to be healthier and have a better chance to be able to conceive.

After surgery, she has more energy and has started running. She can walk into any clothing store and buy clothes for herself. Jennifer said, "Choosing to have bariatric surgery changed my life for the better. I no longer have limitations on the thing I can or want to do. Coming up with creative meals that my family and I could eat was challenging in the beginning, but over time it became much easier."


Judd - Diabetes Education

A1c from 7.5% to 6.0%, weight loss of 23 lbs.

Judd achieved an A1c of less than 7% by cutting carbs and sugar. He practiced portion control and eats lots of protein, fruits and vegetables. He also exercised.

Judd's motivation for reducing his A1c was first for himself. He said "I have enough going on in my life to worry about. Second, for my family. I didn’t want them to worry or stress about something I could control." In addition to lowering his A1c, he lost 23 pounds in 3 months and he said he feels great!


Jamie - Diabetes Education

A1c from 6.2% to 5.9%, 20 lb. weight loss

Jamie achieved an A1c of less than 7% by setting a goal of 10,000 steps a day and walking and average of 8,000 steps per day. She counted carbs and stuck to her food plan. Her motivation for reducing A1c was to stay off medication as long as possible and be as healthy as she could be.

Jamie can wear clothes she hasn't fit into for 10 years! In addition to lowering her A1c, she lost 20 pounds and has kept it off for more than a year.


Alicia Davis - HealthWorks

72 lb. weight loss in 20 weeks

Alicia Davis lost 72 lbs. with the HealthWorks monitored weight loss program. Prior to starting HealthWorks she had high blood pressure and nerve pain.

Alicia said "I wanted to lose weight the healthy way! Improving my diet and exercise seemed so overwhelming to me. I needed a beginning to my weight loss journey. HealthWorks helped me find the mental head space and focus for losing weight! Having access to the Lakeside Wellness Center and a personal trainer was a big bonus! I was able to gain a piece of mind in the gym and could focus on my weight loss goals. HealthWorks helped me gain confidence and knowledge about losing weight and living a healthier life!"


Jennifer Sievers - Bariatric Surgery - Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Weight loss of 204 lbs., dropping from 387 lbs. to 183 lbs.

Jennifer Sievers lost 204 lbs. after having Gastric Bypass surgery. Prior to surgery she had high blood pressure, acid reflux, and chronic knee and ankle pain. She decided to have bariatric surgery because she couldn't stand how she felt physically or how she looked. No matter what diet she tried she could not lose the weight on her own. After surgery, her health conditions have been resolved and is proud of herself.

Jennifer said, "I enjoy so much of about my life today! I enjoy walking and swimming without feeling out of breath or in pain. I feel comfortable going out in public! Surgery is not easy, but well worth it in the end."


Mike Beacom - Bariatric Surgery - Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Weight loss of 101 lbs., dropping from 299 lbs. to 198 lbs.

Mike Beacom lost 101 lbs. after having Gastric Bypass surgery. Prior to surgery he had diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. He decided to have bariatric surgery before his weight started to cause additional problems. Mike said" I had a hard time managing my diabetes and was continuing to gain weight. I wanted to cure my diabetes and be able to watch my grandkids grow-up."

After surgery, he is no longer using sleep apnea machine, has lower blood pressure, cholesterol & reduced his insulin by 90%. Mike said "I have more energy and look for things to do! I enjoy going to my grandkids' activities."


Hear success stories from patients of the weight management program at CHI Health St. Elizabeth.