MCCH BARIATRIC PATIENTS SHARE THEIR SUCCESS ON HOW THEY LOST A TOTAL OF 470 LBS

Posted 05/20/2019

Murray Bariatric Solutions

Obesity Statistics in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) say that 69% of the adult American population is either overweight or obese, and over 35% is obese, which means approximately 79 million people. In addition, one in every 20 adults are considered extremely obese.  

Many things can lead to obesity in one’s life. From genetics, to stress with life changes to unhealthy eating habits that begin as a child.

The impact an unhealthy lifestyle can have on someone’s self-worth and every day functioning can often lead to depression and a lifetime of challenges.

We want you to meet three people whose stories will give you some perspective on how obesity impacts your everyday living and what they did to turn their lives in a different direction.

Meet Stacey Campbell of Murray, when her husband became disabled, she felt like her life was spinning out of control and she had lost a sense of security. He suffers from multiple health issues and is essentially bedridden. She knew she had to regroup and make changes.

“I wanted to get as strong and healthy as possible to care for my husband! That was my motivation to change,” she said. “It wasn’t all about vanity – I wanted a second chance to change everything - my entire lifestyle. I didn’t want a quick fix, I wanted to be the most compliant patient ever and follow every rule and make the necessary changes all along the journey to make it last.”

On April 25, 2016, her second chance began when she had bariatric gastric sleeve surgery. Stacey says the first year she focused on learning how to eat healthy and what to eat. Three months after she had the surgery she started doing cardio machines at the gym then over the course of the year added Yoga, weights and running. She said she had walked the dog some prior to surgery but had never been dedicated to working out.

The second year she increased her exercise and strength training and was excited to be able to try kayaking, something she never would have tried before. Now that its’ been three years, she’s keeping her fitness a priority and is working on the behavioral and emotional aspects involved in maintaining weight loss. She says she tries to stay focused by making plans that help her make the best food choices and staying active.

“I can now do the yard work, housework and everything I need to do to care for my husband. I can go to the gym and do the body pump classes there. That’s my ‘me time’, it’s my thing, and I can’t wait to go now,” Stacey commented.

The new more confident Stacey has lost a total of 160 lbs. She says her biggest advice if someone is struggling with their weight and thinking about bariatric surgery is to do your research, be informed about how it works, know the statistics, and go for consultation. She also said don’t be a regain statistic, use the tool (bariatric surgery) in the right way and make it work. In the end, it all comes down to the choices the patient makes.

“The first appointment was the hardest – be brave enough to see what its’ about and meet the team. Just go talk to them,” said Stacey
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The changes have been good for their family also. Her husband and three grown children have all been supportive and are proud of her success.

“It's been three years and I’m doing great – I haven’t had a single complication and my surgery was textbook. Everyone at Dr. Swain’s office I consider my special ops team. They’re who I go to for answers to any questions and they set you up for success by educating and preparing you so well before surgery. You just have to be willing to do what they tell you and follow the plan.”

Now meet Andy, he has two kids, Matthew, 12 and Caden, 10 who were definitely his motivation to lose weight. His trigger to make a change begin while playing little league football with his kids. He felt worn out after just 5-10 minutes and when asked to be a referee, he felt physically unable to give his all to doing it.

“I got to do something,” he said.

So he did, on August 20, 2019, he underwent gastric sleeve surgery. Andy is 8 months post op and has lost 74 lbs. His is 52 lbs. from his long-term goal. Andy is a Murray State University team leader over the building service techs and recently received a promotion.

“I look at my eating habits; try to eat more vegetables and not much fast food or any junk in general. I have a lot more energy and try to exercise every day and just enjoy life. I can actually play football with my kids and go hiking with my family.

“I enjoy lifting weights the most, and for cardio I like taking my wife, Melissa, and our children to hike or to the park. It is good for them and for me.”


Finally, meet Ashley, her struggle with her weight began as a child. At 13 years of age, she weighed 298 lbs. and felt like she was in a body she did not deserve to be. She had little self-esteem and as she grew older continued to gain weight and allow food to be her comfort. At the age of 27, Ashley found herself not ever wanting to leave the house. She had reached 480 lbs. by this point.

“All my life I was different. I was always the biggest in my family,” she said.

In August of 2013, more life changes took place when she lost her dad. She was a daddy’s girl and after he passed, she began to eat even more to deal with her emotions. Things begin to spiral out of control when she was rushed to the Emergency room with an infection in her bloodstream caused from a cyst on her stomach and then a few weeks later was back in the hospital for nearly three more weeks with cellulitis in her right leg. 

In 2015, Ashley fell to the lowest point in her life and found herself in an abusive relationship. She had reached 520 lbs. at this point and had just heard about Dr. Swain offering bariatric surgery.

Her nephews are also a huge part of her life and would constantly ask her when she was going to play with them. All of these life events finally led her to making an appointment with the Bariatric Solutions office and Dr. Swain.

“I thought if there’s any hope I have to go here. So I went to the support group meeting. If you’ve never been a big person and had to deal with the cruelty of bigger people you don’t understand. Other people in the support group know where I’ve been. They were all so supportive, Dr. Swain saw me at my worst and I never felt judged by anyone at their office for my weight,” said Ashley.

Much like our other success stories, Ashley said the first step was admitting she had a problem and knowing she had to make a lot of changes. On February 6, 2017, she underwent gastric bypass and by 9 weeks post-surgery had lost 31 lbs.

She had made a goal to lose 100 lbs by her birthday that year on July 13, surpassed her goal and hit 107 lbs. of weight loss.

“I just kept thinking that I don’t want to go back to my old lifestyle. It was miserable. I was getting skin infections constantly and staying sick.”

Ashley has learned a lot and she says her eating habits have changed and she’s able to exercise and walk around and play basketball and kickball with her nephews. She feels like she actually has a life.

“It was hard but once I started losing the weight I could walk a lot further and even play some with my nephews – I used to go to the bathroom and be out of breath.”

On June 25, 2018, Ashley had a skin removal surgery that removed an additional 22 lbs. of skin. She said this was also a big step, which helped remove the excess weight of my stomach from hitting her legs.

As she continued to lose weight, the excess skin became more of an issue and she completed her third surgery on February 12, 2019, to remove additional skin from her legs and arms.

Ashley will be 31 in July and is currently at 288 lbs. She continues to go to the support group meetings and says the encouragement continues to motivate her. Just at the last meeting, someone new told her what an inspiration she was. Her goal is 220 lbs.

“I get to spend time with my nephews now and help care for my mom, they are my world and they need me. I have a better outlook on life now because I’m able to do more. I don’t have to worry about my weight killing me now. So much physically has also changed, I had Type 2 Diabetes since I was 13, and suffered with sleep apnea since 2006. Both are gone. I’ve also been on thyroid medicine since I was a child and am now on a lower dose than when I was as a teenager. Everything has changed and I have more self-confidence, and I’m in a new relationship with someone who really supports me,” Ashley said.

Weight lost struggle can be hard for anyone. There are options for those who continue to fight the disease. Bariatric Solutions at Murray-Calloway County Hospital may be the tool you need to get started.

Bariatric surgery includes a variety of procedures performed on people who have obesity. Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach through removal of a portion of the stomach or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch. Bariatric Solutions offers both the Gastric Sleeve and the Roux-en-Y.

Do you research and learn the possibilities of how bariatric surgery can be a tool for you or if you are a candidate. Our team will help you decide if you are a good candidate. Just like with Stacey, Andy, and Ashley bariatric surgery can change your life too! Together we can determine what procedure best fits your weight loss goals.



Murray-Calloway County Hospital is a 152-licensed bed medical center located at 803 Poplar Street in Murray, Kentucky. The hospital has been serving the medical and health care needs of the Western Kentucky area for over 100 years. Murray Hospital specializes in such major areas as women’s services, surgery, cancer, orthopedics, neurology, psychiatric services, emergency services and more. Murray-Calloway County Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the nation’s oldest and largest hospital accreditation agency.