Shirley Fisher had always struggled with her weight, but had been able to manage it relatively well through diet and exercise. However, the weight always came back, causing Shirley to become what she describes as a “yo-yo dieter.” Issues with her weight caused Shirley to become insecure and, as she explains, “Prior to surgery, I was withdrawn and unhappy. I had no confidence. I didn’t socialize. I didn’t want to see anyone that I knew before the weight gain. I didn’t want to meet anyone new. I didn’t go to restaurants. I felt like everyone was looking at me and thinking how could she let herself get this heavy?”

Shirley’s concerns about her health grew when a medical condition caused her to gain “a large amount of weight” and led to the development of sleep apnea and high blood pressure. As the mother of a young child, Shirley realized that she was unable to enjoy activities with him — “I wanted to be healthy, to be able to play with him, and I knew I had to do something.”

Shirley Fisher
Shirley Fisher before (left) and after weight-loss surgery at Valley

Taking Back Control

With her family, physical and emotional health in mind, Shirley decided to seriously consider a surgical approach to weight loss. “I investigated different programs and hospitals. I liked Valley’s program because they had information sessions, they had a support system. I felt comfortable there. I went to an information session and learned about the different options for surgery. I learned about what it would be like to prepare for the surgery, what would happen after the surgery, and I had the opportunity to speak to people who had undergone the surgery. It was very informative for me and I was very comfortable.”

After attending the information session, Shirley made an appointment to meet with the medical director of the Center for Metabolic Surgery and Weight-Loss Management, to discuss her options. Over the coming months, Shirley worked with the doctor and the center’s staff to prepare for surgery. “Before the surgery, the doctor and staff explained to me what the procedure would entail and what would be expected after surgery. How I would eat, my physical activity, supplements, etc.”

Throughout the entire process, from preparation to post-operation, “The doctor and her staff were awesome. They took such great care of me. I had a preexisting condition at the time and she was so careful and made choices with the type of surgery I should have and the approach to ensure that I would be safe. And she said that her first priority is to keep me safe and that’s exactly what she did. I trusted her 100%. I put my life in her hands, and she brought me through with flying colors!”

Reclaiming Confidence

With the surgery behind her, Shirley explains, “today my life is completely different. I am outgoing. I smile. I say hello to people. I’m confident. I’m happy. Now I can go anywhere with my family. We can go on hikes, we can go bike riding and now I’m perfectly comfortable—I’m fit! I’m happy to go to a restaurant and eat in front of other people so it’s been a wonderful experience. I no longer have sleep apnea. My blood pressure is normal. In fact, after surgery my blood pressure was lower than it ever has been. And I feel great!”